The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): How do I overcome the ego?
Acharya Prashant (AP): You do not overcome anything if you do not understand it. You do not overcome anything without understanding it. No problem can be solved if you do not understand the question. Am I right? If you do not understand the question, can you get an answer?
Listeners (L): No, Sir.
AP: I want to make certain modifications to the design of this projector. Can I make those changes without understanding how this projector works?
L: No, Sir.
AP: So, the first step is to?
AP: Very good, understand. Now, do we understand what is the ego? Before we have asked how do I get rid of it? Do we understand? And if we do not understand why have we decided that we must get rid of the ego? If I really do not understand what the ego is, why have I already decided that the ego is something to be gotten rid of? Probably just because everybody else has been telling me.
Please, listen to what I am saying. Avinash (Questioner) says how do I get rid of the ego? I am asking, we cannot get rid of anything if we do not understand it. And if I do not understand what the ego is why am I already admitting that I need to get rid of it. After all, Avinash didn’t ask, “Sir, what is the ego?” He didn’t ask, “Sir, whether should I get rid of the ego?” What did he ask? “How should I get rid of the ego?” Am I right?
And if the question is, “How to get rid of the ego?” That means that you have already decided that the ego is harmful and that he needs to get rid of it.
But I don’t understand what the ego is? Still, I have decided to get rid of it. This exactly is called the ego. Then I do not know, yet I am doing things. Just because somebody else has told me, so I am proceeding with life-based on the beliefs given by others.
Now, Avinash surely you’re asking this question because your teacher has delivered an entire session on the topic? Ego. Which makes you feel that the ego is dangerous and you must get rid of the ego.