Sri Ramakrishna would often point out how ego is a great impediment in spiritual life. He would give several illustrations to explain the idea. The head and the body of goat are severed by a sword. The animal is dead, yet the head and the other parts still keep moving. In the same way, Ahamkara or ego keeps on reappearing again and again. One feels that it has been driven away completely, but from nowhere it appears once again. He would also quote the example of a calf which when calling its mother makes the sound ‘Humba, Humba’ meaning Me, Me. But, then it is taken to a butcher’s shop, slaughtered, and its intestine and entrails are taken out and a bow is made and it is stringed using these substances. When the string is pulled and released, the noise made resembles the sound ‘Tuhu, Tuhu’ meaning You, You. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that the suffering of the calf is immense and unending as long as it has the idea Me, Me and it ends only when it starts saying You, You. That is why Sri Ramakrishna was extremely careful and in spite of his great spiritual illumination would never use the personal pronoun ‘I’ or the words, “me” and “mine”. It is the ego which manifests in various forms including the ideas, I am rich, I am educated, I am learned, etc. Swami Adbhutananda (Latu) and Swami Vivekananda both were disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. Adbhutananda was illiterate, but had unwavering faith in Sri Ramakrishna. He could progress very fast in spiritual life. Swami Vivekananda was very learned and given to tremendous powers of reasoning, etc. He had to struggle much harder initially to progress in spiritual life. Those who have deep and unwavering faith in God constantly retain the idea that whatever they do or achieve is all due to God’s grace and powers and they are able to overcome the obstacles due to ego by God’s grace. 

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