Priti, a spiritual seeker, slightly sullen in the moment said, “they have Spiritual ego. They think they know it all and are spiritually superior to the rest of us. They only slap dictums and advice but are not ready to receive or value our inputs. Their behaviour oozes this ego.”
That was the first time I had heard of the term ‘Spiritual ego.’
“The world is not the same as yesterday, nor are the terminologies,” I said, and laughed to lighten up Priti, although instantly, I could understand her predicament.
The Smouldering pile of Spiritual ego
I am not adept at expounding on the subject of ‘ego’ or ‘spirituality’ leave aside ‘spiritual ego’ as it’s only for the spiritual masters to elaborate on, but here’s its crusty surface:
When one may think of themselves to be better, higher or superior to others in their spiritual journey, wisdom, knowledge of spiritual texts, practices, connections, experience and so on, they may be riding on ego. One may not even conspicuously know that they carry and demonstrate pre-eminence over others, and well may have a blind spot there, but it’s evident to the receiver of their disposition.
I recall a story from Shirdi Sai Baba’s life when a man comes to his village stating that he is Baba’s Guru and Baba without a word starts to obey his commands. He pacifies the angry villagers who protested against the man, telling them that the fellow must be his Guru if he said so.
💫 Baba, all-pervasive Almighty knew that the man was inflated with his spiritual knowledge and was lying but he offered him his humble seat and obeyed every command, thus demonstrating that he owns nothing.
This profound humility in the divine Baba exhibited to the villagers that Baba is void of ego and takes himself to be a mere servant of People, his Guru and the Lord.
When the man awakened to the reality of his mistake, he fell at Baba’s feet, and Baba true to his all-encompassing existence, embraced him.
Our Gurus and Sages have enunciated much about the repercussion of “Ahankar” through various examples and anecdotes and how it has sent the wisest of spiritual beings into a downward spiral of ignorance.
Coming back to Priti, whose vexation made me contemplate situations where I have experienced something similar from people who perch upon their spiritual podium to speak about their gathered wisdom, berate others’ inputs and declare spiritual dictums.
They create a divide between people —spiritual v/s non-spiritual and form a tightly closed mental community where some are elevated and some are relegated.
For years, I’ve experienced that they are closed to listening; listening with receptivity.
When I say listening, I mean ‘being present’; removing your knowledge, rather removing yourself at that moment, not distilling others’ words through the perception of your knowing, seeing them in their pristine form; devoid of judgments.
💫 I witness that “Spirituality” has become an overly used word these days as a tea-party topic or tabletop decoration, that bonds people into their groups and cult which is exactly the opposite of inclusiveness; the essence of spiritual wisdom.
Spiritual wisdom or knowledge is not to bring exclusivity to people. It is to bring union, inclusivity. It is rising above the black and white.
It is not for anyone to judge someone by the meditation, practices, yoga, reading scriptures or any other sadhana they do. It’s not to differentiate between people by the Guru they follow.
The Regular Diagnosis
Guru- the dispeller of darkness, is not an object to be owned or decorated as spiritual armour to exude more power than the other nor to be leveraged to condescend others/others’ Gurus.
I’ve often pondered over the relationship between giving and receiving. While giving is liberating, is not about hoarding ego in the process.
💫 It is not only about the giving of the acquired knowledge or desiring to be always heard, it is also about being able to receive—to be open, to be able to level with others— the quintessence of seeking.
Receiving is as important as is giving to attain fulfilment as against inner hankering.
The world is wise and often tests our learning. It is like a diverse laboratory that allows entry to everyone to experiment—to put into practice the learning and wisdom and witness the outcome.
Part of the process is also to tap oneself, to diagnose if one sees others through the lens of Spiritual ego or navigate life in the state of free flow.
I have made it a practice to tap my head and heart in interactions, reading posts, interpreting them—to diagnose myself to see what’s my current rooting—ego or inclusivity?
To do this regular diagnosis to find our rooting may be easy considering day-to-day situations that life passes our way, but often such opportunities elope from a regular-active-practice unless caught tight.
Image credit: mariausmg from Pixabay