I am deeply indebted to all those who wrote back in response to my recent ‘write up’ on HAPPINESS, which gave me more insight and knowledge on the subject.
However, this article is a direct result of a mail received from Dr. Khuzema Rangwala which reads as follows:
“Your article made very interesting reading. Especially the quote from Deepak Chopras book about the ego. It is excellent and very appropriate.
But then the question is " How do you control your ego? Or even better, How do you decrease your ego? Is there a way?
Regards Dr Khuzema Rangwala
I gave him a reply and promised that I will try to put my thoughts into words on this primordial sin, which in our belief system is referred as ‘kibr’ –mohtai and takes precedence over two other ‘ummahatul ma’asi ‘ (mothers of all sins) greed and jealousy.
What is Ego ? It is deeply ingrained, compulsive need to remain separate and superior at all times, in all places, under all circumstances, it is experienced as an emotional quagmire of fear and attachment.
It is part of you that is fully occupied in its personal fears and desires and lives only for itself. Ego is an anti –evolutionary force of powerful inertia in human nature, attached to the past, terrified of change.
On the positive note it is also a self organizing principle, that coordinates the different aspects of the self. ( Ref: Andrew Cohen home page)
Ego is very universal and Mark Twain rightly said : ‘There is'nt a parallel of Latitude but thinks it would have been the Equator if had its right !!’ The real problem is that if I am egoistic, I will never accept the fact, and that makes it difficult.
However, once a person becomes aware, once self realization dawns, the problem of over coming it becomes easier. Understanding ego is the first step.
For inducing Happiness, medical science has discovered drugs like Prozac, unfortunately for ego no such patented drugs are in the market. However, sages through the ages have dwelt deeply on the subject, and have applied their awakened mind and spiritual powers, and have handed down to us sure shot remedies to over come Ego.
For mumineen it is much easier, as just by looking upon and reflecting on the spiritually towering personality of our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) we can grapple our ego. His life’s works and achievements, the exalted position he holds, is there for every one to see, but still he always declares himself as the ‘mamluk of Imam uz Zaman (S.A.) ‘
The following lines from madeh aptly conveys that :
‘Mohammad che na’ib balke che sahib
wa lakin ajab ehni che inkesaari
Whenever moral lessons are to be derived the Nasiha’t of Syedi Sadik Ali saheb provides the answers : ‘ khawind na bol neecha kareene
khel na baazi hawani
nugra je koi thaya che guru thi
tehni rahi na nishaani
Turning the pages of Fatemi history, will bear out the fact that those, with bloated ego, were the ones who challenged the Dawat and Dai and faced humiliation and eternal damnation.
As stated earlier Ego is deeply ingrained in every one, so how to control your ego ?
I quote a sage who said : ‘ If you find that you cannot drive off this feeling of ‘I’,
Then let it remain as the ‘servant I’ there is no fear from the ego, which is centered in the thought – ‘ I am the servant of God; I am his devotee’
A piece of rope, when burnt, retains its form, but cannot serve to bind, so is the ego which is burnt by the fire of supreme Knowledge.
The wise man always says, “ It is Thou, O Lord, it is Thou” but the ignorant and deluded say “ It is I, it is I”
As I was reflecting on the above thoughts, for sake of brevity I have mentioned just a few, particularly the feeling of ‘I’ and the ‘servant I’ made me recall the incident in the hazarat of Syedna Idris Imaduddin (R.A.) in Yemen, and the corresponding event of Moulai Adam - vali ul Hind to readily pray namaz behind the ‘sakka’ (water carrier).
Every mumin knows the consequence of this two related events. Dawat came to Hindustan. So in order to overcome ego, one has to become Abde Syedna (TUS) not by merely writing it in bold on stationery, but by believing in true spirit, and practicing in day to day life.
‘I am a bird imprisoned in the fowler’s love
It is not that I have lost the power of flight’ Ghalib
The fowler’s love is your ego. Free yourself from this imprisonment and soar high
In medical science, at times they resort to shock treatments to cure certain illness. To my mind, nothing beats the following home truth, that we have often heard in va’az and sabaks.
‘ E insan, su it nu fakh’r khai rahyo che, joto nathi tu ek kirafti nu vasan che’
At times when I get a little puffed up, it does me a world of good, when I look down at my stomach, and recall the above home truth. An effective ego buster indeed !! Try it out.
I recommend the following ‘mind pills’ as medical science has yet to find some drug to combat the malady of ego. Hope it will work wonders with your psyche, and you will be able to control ego. The first one will surely prove very effective.
E G O stands for Edging God Out - Anonymous
When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package. John Ruskin
Attachment to things, keep alive a thousand useless ‘I’s in a man. These ‘I’s must die in order that a big ‘I’ may be born. But how can this be made to die ? They do not want to die. It is at this point that the possibility of awakening comes to the rescue. To awaken means to realize one’s nothingness. Gurdjieff, G.I.
The ring always believes that the finger lives for it. Malcom de Chazal
When shall I be free ?
When that ‘I’ vanishes from you, ‘I’ and ‘mine’ – this is ignorance; ‘Thou’ and ‘Thine’- that is true knowledge. Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
There are many such awakened thoughts that will help one control their Ego, but I will end here by just quoting one, which is a beauty.
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.
Hope I have been able to do some justice to the subject, and it would be nice if readers can mail in their comments and insights, and personal experiences that they may have had to combat ego, it would be a learning experience for me.
May Allah grant our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) sehato-a’afiyat- ta-kiyamat. Ameen.