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Dr K K Aggarwal

Ego in Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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For spirituality, one needs to control two things, firstly, lust and lastly, the ego. In Kaama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankara, ego and lust both are slow poisons and do not allow one to be spiritual healthy. There are many examples of how to control ego in mythology. Fundamentally, it is said that one should learn to kill ego of oneself and never hurt the ego of others.

Ego in Ramayana is equated to Ravana and in Krishna’s era to Kans. One should learn to kills the ego. In Ramayana, Kumbhkarana is Tamas killed by the self i.e. Rama, Meghnath is Rajas and is killed by the mind i.e. Lakshman and ego, the Ravana, is killed again by self i.e. Rama. In Krishna’s Yuga Kans is killed by consciousness or Lord Krishna.

Mythology also teaches us to keep our ego under control.

  1. The door of any temple is always low in height so that nobody can enter without bending. Bending is sign of humility. Most temples have caves which have the same significance. Older the temple longer will be the cave and smaller will be the entry gate.
  2. Ego in mythology is depicted by Sheshnaaga or Cobra snake with its hood directed inwards indicating keeping your ego under control. The Sheshnaaga over Vishnu when he is resting indicates the same. In Krishna’s birth also, the snake represents controlled ego and protects Krishna when Vasu dev takes him out in the rain.
  3. Lord Shiva is also shown wearing a snake in his neck with hood directed inwards. Shiva is also said to have a blue neck or Neelkanth indicating that to control anger one should neutralize the anger continuously (matted hairs) with cool mind ( Moon) using positive flow of thoughts(ganga) with ego controlled ( naag)
  4. In Hanuman ki Lanka Yatra, Sursa snake is handled by Hanuman with humility. Sursa, the ego, went on increasing in size when Hanuman increases his size.
  5. No Hindu marriage is complete without Varmala, which again indicates the need to bow in front of each other.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Desire, Hatred and Ignorance

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According to Buddhism, the three negative emotions that cause a disease are ignorance, hatred and desire and accordingly physical sickness are classified into three main types.

1. Disorders of desire (Ayurvedic equivalent of Vata imbalance): These are due to disharmony of the wind or energy. The seed of these disorders are located in the lower part of the body. It has cold preferences and is affected by mental desires. In this, the person mainly suffers from the disorders of movement functions.

2. Disorders of hatred (Ayurveda equivalent of Pitta imbalance): It is due to disharmony of the bile. The seed of these disorders is centered in the middle and upper part of the body and is caused by the mental emotion of hate. The person suffers from metabolic and digestive abnormalities.

3.Disorders of ignorance (Ayurveda equivalent of Kapha imbalance): It is due to the disharmony of phlegm, the seed of which is generally centered in the chest or in the head and the disorder is cold in nature. It is caused by the mental emotion of ignorance.

Desire, hatred and ignorance are the main negativities mentioned in Buddha’s philosophy. They are all produced in the mind, and once produced they behave like a slow poison.

The Udanavarga once said, “From iron appears rust, and rust eats the iron”, “Likewise, the careless actions (karma) that we perform leads us to hellish lives.

According to the other scriptures, six afflictions are most troublesome, namely ignorance, hatred, desire, miserliness, jealousy and arrogance. Patience is the most potent virtue a person can acquire. According to the Shanti Deva, “There is no evil like hatred, and there is no marriage like patience. Therefore, dedicate your life to the practice of patience.”

Bhagvad Gita classifies the enemies as KamaKrodhaLobhaMoha and Ahankara; and out of them KamaLobha and Ahankara, are the three gateways to hell.