According to my Guru, Swami Satyanananda Saraswati, there comes a stage in our lives, when the desire to succumb to the divine will come naturally. Until this happens we are guided by our ego. Our expectations are motivated by ego, efforts are energized by the ego, until our ego has wrung us dry. We all wish to have a better life. We are lost in a maze of confusion. Our intentions improve ourselves and lead a qualitative life. In order to tread on this path we have to look at our own experiences and then those of others to learn to detect what has been truly fulfilling.
How do we handle our ego?
It is present in our every action. Let us start with atma bhava, feel empathy for others. Swamiji said in satsang that when we see beggars begging, we should feel compassion for them. It is not necessary to give them money. I used to give children biscuits, bread and fruit.
One day after buying the bread, I was handing it out to the kids, when this man who looked like an addict came and he said that why are you giving the children dry bread. You must give them gravy. He told them to throw the bread. The kids were terrified of him and they ran for their lives. I felt distressed and small.
However, I continued to give children fruit or bread and I started TORCH, where I have children of pavement dwellers coming to me. We have 40 kids between the ages of 3-8. We teach them life skill, how to live safely on the street.
Atma bhava also means see yourself reflected in the other person and your ego will start becoming less important. “If you do not expand the atma bhava, the sense of selfhood, all sadhana is useless. Feel for others when they have a tragedy in their life as you feel for yourself when you have a tragedy in your life. Live a little for others and find a place in your heart for people not known to you.” If we can follow this we can work on our ego attrition.
Learn surrendering from tantra
In tantra, there is a collection of prayers called Devi Apradha Kshampana Stotram. The opening words says “Mother, I do not know mantra, I do not practice yantra, I do not know how to pray, I do not know how to invoke you, I do not know how to meditate on you, and I do not know what your glories are. But I know that if I follow you all my agonies will be redeemed.” Similar verses follow and the prayer concludes with, “No I do not have to do anything.” This is the tantric view: “I do not have to do anything. I have come and I am able to touch your feet. I am pure.” The meaning here is your focus is on the Goddess within.
Aim Hrim Klim