top of page

Ego vs. Self-Respect: Understanding the Subtle Divide

Updated: May 5



In this blog, we delve into the nuanced distinction between ego (Ahamkar) and self-respect (Aham), a topic of great significance in both our worldly interactions and our spiritual journey. While these concepts may seem distinct, the line separating them is often blurry and inconsequential, leading many to unwittingly transition from self-respect to ego without notice.


Defining Ego: 

The ego, often seen as the most significant barrier in various aspects of life, including spiritual progression, arises from a plethora of sources. The first one, if the one which emanates from our worldly existence. It is spawned from the perception of being superior to our peers, whether in terms of competence, wealth, relationships, appearance, or knowledge. This sense of superiority is the very foundation of ego, leading to feelings of entitlement, the need for recognition, and an insatiable desire for validation. The second type of ego is the Spiritual Ego.


The Perils of Ego: 

Ego is not merely a character flaw; it is a vulnerability. Those with pronounced egos are susceptible to manipulation, their self-worth hinging on external validation. Ego-driven individuals are often blind to their own fragility, considering their inflated self-image as an asset when it is, in truth, their greatest weakness. It can lead to their own destruction or decimation. One should not base their lives on ego.


The Arishadvarga (meaning the six unwanted attributes) Kama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (Delusion/Attachment), Madha (Arrogance), and Matsarya (jealousy) have their foundation in Ego.


An ego cannot evolve you spiritually. Ego is a cause of even delusions in spiritual space. If you want to evolve spiritually, first thing you have to kick out of yourself is ego.


The only way to curtail or cull ego, is to start and end with one attribute, which is humbleness.


There is a beautiful quote by one of the management masters. They say that, I can do anything is an assertive statement that comes out of Confidence or self -respect, but only I can do anything comes from ego, that's the subtle difference.


Self-Respect vs. Ego: 

The journey from ego back to self-respect begins with self-knowledge.

We should be in a position to understand whether we should respect ourselves or not. That is called the atma -valokan.

It is a part of yoga sadhana and is an introspective examination to understand our true self. Self-respect arises from an honest assessment and acceptance of oneself, devoid of comparison with others. It embodies dignity, balance, and a reciprocal understanding of respect.


On this introspection, if there are any points due to which we cannot respect ourselves, we should make efforts to change and remove those attributes. That is how we evolve spiritually.


We need understand that the respect is a two-way traffic. It cannot be one sided. The moment we feel that only we should be respected without we respecting the other person, we are egoist.


The Spiritual Downfall of Ego: 

In spirituality, ego is particularly insidious, often leading to delusions of grandeur and stunted growth. True spiritual evolution demands the absence of ego, as it cannot coexist with the humility required for genuine progress.


The Yogic Perspective: From a yogic standpoint, ego is associated with an imbalance in the Ida and Pingala nadi’s, the energy channels corresponding to the lunar and solar energies within us. Ego stems from comparison which has it’s origin in the Ida nadi.


The ego, originating in the Ida nadi, tends to sway towards the Pingala nadi, creating chakra imbalance. This disturbance can cause our chakras to lean either left or right, disrupting our inner harmony.


When we possess self-respect, we find ourselves in the Sushmna nadi, altering our demeanour. We transition into attentive listeners with an open-minded approach. Our receptiveness grows, leading us to adopt a non-judgmental stance. We internalize necessary insights.


When ego dominates, it disrupts the balance, leading to spiritual and emotional turmoil.


Concluding Thoughts:

 In essence, ego is the antithesis of growth, both worldly and spiritual. It is imperative to foster humility and self-respect, to acknowledge our flaws, and to evolve beyond the shallow waters of ego. As we cultivate self-respect and humility, we become impervious to disrespect and embody the divine dignity inherent in our true self.


Outlook: As we proceed on our path, let us be mindful of the subtle line between ego and self-respect. Let us strive to transcend ego, to become individuals of self-respect, embodying the virtues of humbleness, humility, and authenticity in our every act.


We, the Avadhutas of Saipanth respect everything. We are even beyond self -respect. We are just Sthabda. We are Sthira. We are in Samadhi. We are in Kaivalya. We are in Turya. We are in Purna.  Finally, We are in Shunya.




102 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Sairam Ananth.

You touched THE most important aspect of spiritual progress. - EGO.

Based on my sadhana and what Bhagawan told me in meditation is -

STEP 1- Every sadhaka should identify their Ego. Initially this Ego layer will show attributes of satwa, rajo, tamo gunas.

STEP 2 - Once sadhaka identifies EGO in oneself, slowly with spiritual progress Ego becomes more Satwic.

STEP3 - Once we become Egoless, we move beyond satwic state too and are one with God. In other words state of Shunya can be experienced.

Ego leads to bandages - birth and rebirth

Egoless leads to liberation - Shunya gati prapthi

Once sadhaka identifies EGO in oneself , that sadhakas' sadhana progresses fast. Its a blissfu…


So well written and comprehensive. Thank you Ananth for all these articles


Beautifully Narrated Dr Ananath. Actually an eye opener for all the fellow seekers.

bottom of page