What is Ego?

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The disciple and the Guru

Once there was Guru who told his disciple, « Don’t become anything.  Live in this world without becoming anything.  If you become something, then something else will happen to torture you ».

One day this Guru and his disciple set out on a pilgrimage.  Now, a Guru usually will not teach a disciple in a systematic way.  He will not sit him down and say to him; « it is like this », or « it is like that ».  Instead, he will teach the disciple through a situation or through another person.

While the Guru and the disciple were on their pilgrimage, they came to the Palace of a King.  Outside the Palace was the King’s garden, where there was a beautiful cottage in which the King used to stay.  The Guru went into one of the rooms and lay down.  The disciple asked the Guru, « May I goto sleep in the next room? »

« yes, you can sleep, »the Guru said, « but don’t become anything ».

The disciple said, « Of course I won’t become anything ».

The two of them went to sleep.  When they had been sleeping for half an hour, the King arrived at the cottage with his entourage.  When he saw the mendicants sleeping there, he became furious.  « who are you and what are you doing here? »  he cried.

This woke the disciple. « who am I? I am a swami, » he answered.

« What is a swami doing in the cottage of the King? » the King shouted.  He took a whip from his guard and began to beat the disciple.  He gave him thirty to forty blows and then kicked him out of the cottage.

The King went into the next room and found the Guru on the bed, fast asleep and snoring. « Who are you? » the King cried.

« Hmmmm », said the Guru Maharaja. « Who are you? » shouted the King again.  Again, the Guru just said, « Hmmm ».

« He is obviously a half-wit », the King said. « Take the Old idiot outside ».

The guards carried the Guru outside and laid him down next to the disciple.  The disciple was moaning and groaning. « Oh, Guruji, » he said. « Look at me.  Look at my predicament . I received so many blows.  My back is almost broken. »

« It was your own fault, » the Guru said.  » Why did you have to become a swami while you were sleeping the King’s bed? You received that prasad from the King because you became something.  I did not become anything, so I did not receive the King’s Prasad ».

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