Q. What is ego?

Q. What is ego?

Tom: if there is any sense of individuality whatsoever, then that is ego; if there is any sense or something apart or outside of you, then that is ego; if there is any sense of multiplicity, that is ego; if there is any notion ‘I am the body-mind’, then that is ego. The ego, no matter how refined, is suffering. The ego is the body-mind-world appearance.

In Reality, there has never been any ego, there has never been any duality or multiplicity, there has never been any suffering whatsoever. Reality is only Infinite Love & Bliss, Infinite Being-Consciousness, Formless-Spirit-Bliss.

To realise this one must turn within.


To say ‘there is no ego’ without turning within and dissolving into Reality – that is merely the ego-mind saying ‘there is no ego’.

To say ‘all is One’ without venturing inwards and discovering the Self (by Being That) – that is merely the ego-mind saying ‘all is One’.

In this way (through not turning within, through not inquiring into the Subject-Self) ego-mind-suffering-duality continue.

Hence the instruction to turn within.


The true teachings always emphasise the Subject (Reality or Self) and to turn towards and discover That, whereas false teachings emphasise objects, stating things like ‘all these objects are already That so no need to turn within’ and ‘there already is no ego so no need to turn within for what entity could even turn within?’. So egotism, duality and suffering are perpetuated.

Therefore turn within and discover what you truly are


Why did we turn away from the Self? Why does ignorance arise? Why is there maya or illusion at all? Why do we suffer if we are really the Self? Advaita Vedanta | Sri Ramana Maharshi

Why did ignorance arise? Why is there maya or illusion at all? Why do we suffer if we are really the Self? What does Advaita Vedanta say about this? What was Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view? What does Tom think about this? The Law of attraction will also be mentioned and we will also hear a story from the Buddha about this…

Does prarabdha karma* and suffering persist after realisation/liberation?

Questioner: I have a question, if Ajnanam (ignorance) is removed* that means the whole source of Samsara is removed. In such a case why should the Jnani (realised sage) even have Prarabdha Karma*. That also should not be present right?

Tom: In Truth, there is not even any such thing as a Jnani (meaning a person or body-mind that is ‘realised’) – there is only That Objectless Subject-Self-Brahman. So there is no karma whatsoever for ‘a Jnani’ (a Jnani here meaning the Self). The self has no duality, and no karma. Karma is born of ignorance and is maya, unreal. They are one and the same – karma and ignorance – or one comes from the other. This is also what is taught in the Upanishads (eg. Adhyatma Upanishad) and by Shankara, both in his commentaries and in texts such as Vivekachudamani.

*Removal of ignorance is the same as Self-Realisation, so say the Upanishads, so says Shankara.

**Tom: Prarabdha Karma is the portion of karma that, according to the Vedas, gives rise to the body in the present birth and will play out and determine the specifics of the present life. A simple translation could be ‘destiny’ or ‘what is destined for this life’. The idea of this question is that, for example, if you have ‘been bad’ in the past and have accumulated negative karma as a result, even though you have realised the Self, this negative karma may continue and cause suffering for you even after Self-Realisation. The Upanishads are clear that all karmas and all suffering end upon Self-Realisation, so one need not even fear the negative results of one’s past actions if one realises the Self.

A very useful teaching: Structural and Dynamic (or functional) aspects of the ego | Liberation

This is a very useful teaching for those seeking spiritual liberation. I also have written about this here in this article: Essential teachings for liberation: we need a ‘double teaching’ as we suffer from ‘double ignorance’| The ‘two wings’ of the teaching | Buddhism | Vedanta

Mind and Consciousness | Fully awake in Deep Sleep

Q. I have a question. If mind guides us while we are awake and in dream, and in sleep we are not conscious (because mind is switched off), doesn’t that imply mind is what we mistake for ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’?

Tom: Yes, that is correct. We consider ourselves to be awake/conscious in both the waking state and the dream (whilst we are dreaming) and asleep/unconscious in deep sleep.

Actually it is just the mind, ie. ignorance/duality, that is awake in ‘waking’ and dream and we are actually fully conscious in deep sleep – it is just the mind that is ‘asleep’.

This is why the in the Bhagavad Gita verse 2:69 it states: ‘What all [ignorant] beings consider as day is the night of ignorance for the wise, and what all [ignorant] creatures see as night is the day for the introspective sage.’

Also see:

Ramana Maharshi on Deep Sleep and Self-Realisation

Ramana Maharshi: the method of wakeful sleep (Jagrat Sushupti) to attain liberation

Deep sleep is Brahman – the three states according to the Birhadaranyaka Upanishad with commentary by Shankara

Q. Does ego have to die or end for realisation to occur?

Tom: Yes, ego-mind-thought must die for realisation to occur. Those who are still attached to the body-mind-world and still take themselves to be the body say otherwise.

Ego is ignorance. Ego is duality. It is the ego that creates/projects the body-mind and world, like in a dream. When ego goes, everything goes, and all that remains is the Self. It cannot be put into words or understood by the mind. In truth ego never existed at all.

Objections to this such as ‘how does the sage function without ego’ only occur in ignorance of taking the sage to be the body and in the presense of ego-ignorance seeing body-mind-world.

The paradox of this cannot be explained in words, but when the mind becomes so completely and utterly still so that time and space and personhood all cease to exist, this ‘Self’ is somehow ‘known without knowing’.

Is ignorance bliss? A seeker’s dilemma

Sometimes to those who are on the spiritual path, it can seem like those who are in full ignorance are happier. It can feel like ignorance is bliss, but it isn’t. It’s deep, deep suffering.

There are few things about spiritual seeking…First, the spiritual seeker has a certain type of sensitivity, which makes them more sensitive to suffering, because they are more aware of it often. That self-aware aspect can intensify suffering that wouldn’t bother other people so much. Some spiritual seekers have fairly nice lives outwardly. But inwardly they are suffering intently because they are more sensitive to their suffering because the awareness is there.

The other thing about the spiritual path is that it is often an isolating path, which also makes it difficult. There is no one to share it with, very few people understand this, because most people are not seekers of liberation, they are seekers of other things.

The other thing is there is nothing you can do about it. Say ignorance was bliss, probably with this there is no turning back! I’m sorry to say, you can’t go back!

Sri Ramana Maharshi did not say you have to love me, you have to devote yourself to me – that is not the essence of the teaching at all. That is actually to miss the point to what he is actually pointing towards. He said you’ve got to follow my teachings. You have to follow the Guru’s instruction.

This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das.

See https://tomdas.com/events for further information.