With youth: Will egolessness make me worthless?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readDec 25, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question (Q): If we do not have Ego, we will not have any goals in life, and such a life would be worthless, isn’t it?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Mark the words, ‘we’, ‘have’, ‘ego’, ‘goals’, ‘worthless’. If we understand the question properly, clarity would be there. The question itself is the answer. The clarity lies in understanding the question. For me to say that I have this pen, there is a prerequisite. What is that? There must be a ‘me’ and there must be a ‘pen’. There ought to be two entities to say this. For me to say that I have an Ego, requires two entities- ‘Me’ and ‘Ego’. The question then arises, ‘am I anything apart from my Ego?’ To say that there is an ‘I’ and there is an ‘Ego’, I must be separate from Ego. But am I really separate from Ego?

Listener (L): No, Sir.

AP: So first of all, it is not very accurately worded when you say, ‘I have an Ego’. We do not have Ego. We are Ego. In order to understand Ego, we first have to understand ourselves as something apart from the Ego. When you are angry, do you understand yourself as something separate from the anger? No. You are anger. When the body gets hurt, do you say that ‘the leg’ is paining?

L: No, we say ‘my leg is paining’.

AP: You say, ‘I am feeling the ache’. We do not have Ego, we are Ego. So the question, ‘what if we do not have an Ego?’, is hypothetical. If you do not have Ego, then you will not be what you are. It is impossible for you to imagine that state, to conceptualize that state. You currently are Ego, and what does that mean? Where does the Ego come from?

L: From the outside.

AP: Now combine these two statements: a) I am Ego. b) All Ego is external, foreign.

L: I am external, foreign.

AP: The conclusion is that ‘I’ do not exist. I am a sum total of the external, foreign influences on me. Now then, we do not like dropping the Ego. The existence of the Ego means that you do not exist. The existence of the Ego means you are nothing but what society, education, family, religion, philosophy, evolution, and all these external influences combined has been given a…