False ego is what makes us think that our self and our external body are one and the same. The reality is that we are all spiritual. We don’t die. Without understanding that, we think, “This body is who I am.” We think our temporary bodily labels—white, black, tall, short, young, old, man, woman—apply to us.
We’re made of spiritual energy, which means that we’re eternal and conscious. Spiritual energy is superior to the temporary, unconscious matter our bodies are made of. False ego is the most subtle feature of the inferior, material energy. It’s the the very point of contact between spirit and matter. It’s what keeps us tied to repeated births and deaths.
We can get free from this by practicing Krishna consciousness, which uncovers our real ego, and enables us to be who we are. Our real identity is that we’re inseparable parts of the complete whole, or Krishna, and meant for developing loving relationships with Him based on selfless, fulfilling service in the spiritual world.
Funhouse mirror photo by Jan Messersmith.
- Of Boxes, Modes, and Freedom of Choice
– When we have a mistaken sense of self, our freedom is terribly limited.
- Life – Real and Artificial
– How we experience reality through a set of filters that distort our vision.
- The Highest Law Of Nature
– Of what value is our “opinion” if we don’t even know who we are? A conversation about false ego with Srila Prabhupada.
- The Search For Self-fulfillment
– When our real self is covered by our false self, our “happiness” is illusory and temporary.
We like to quote our sources. This page was inspired by the following:
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Introduction: “When we are materially contaminated, we are called conditioned. False consciousness is exhibited under the impression that I am a product of material nature. This is called false ego. One who is absorbed in the thought of bodily conceptions cannot understand his situation.”
- Bhagavad-gita, 3.27: “The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.”
- Bhagavad-gita, 3.27, Purport: “The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Krishna. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently, and that is the symptom of his nescience.”
- Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.108: “It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire.”
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.84.13: “A human being who identifies this body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of birth worshipable, and who goes to the place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered like an ass or a cow.”