The Ego is not Egoism!
Questioner: What they refer to as ego (aham) and egoism (ahankar), is it just one thing, or are they different things?
Dadashri: They are different. Aren't they two different words?
Questioner: What is the difference?
Dadashri: It is not wrong for a person to say, 'Aham Atma (Aham -'I am'; the ego. Atma - Soul )'. However, what if he says, 'Ahankar Atma (Ahankar - egoism) 'Egoism is Atma'? What would happen then? The ego (aham) is acceptable, but egoism is not acceptable. Ego is not egoism. Isn't the word 'ego' used in the term, 'Aham Brahmasmi (brahmasmi - the ultimate reality'?) That is because the ego has to be there, but the ego of what? One should have the ego of one's own Self. Why should there be an ego of what he is not? Ego is not the poison, egoism is the poison. Ego means I.
Questioner: Can it be referred to as existence?
Dadashri: Yes. You can only call it existence. Its existence is already there. All living beings are aware of their existence: 'I am' (astitva). However, they do not have the awareness of the reality: 'what I am' (vastutva). And that is why 'egoism' has arisen. It is not egoism to say 'I am', to your real Self (swaroop). To say 'I am', for what is your own swaroop (the Self) is not egoism. Now if this piece of gold here were given the ability to speak, and it said "I am gold", would we say that it is doing egoism? Would we say that? No. And what if iron said, "I am gold"? Therefore, 'Who am I?' - at least this much you should know. Therefore, 'I am Chandubhai*' is an alleged intent (aropit bhaav). To say [I am] where you are, then your existence is already there. You already have the right to say, 'I am'; however, the awareness of 'who I am' and 'what I am' is not there.
Questioner: Doesn't one also exist in egoism?
Dadashri: The Atma (the Self) is there, but what is your 'own Self'? That is what you need to know, and that is a mystery. It is because of this that you have been wandering around for countless lifetimes. It is a fact that you exist, but your awareness of, 'What am I?', 'What is 'my-ness?' and 'Who am I?' is not there. Once you have this awareness, your completion (final liberation) will occur. I have all the 'outlines' (drafts) here. You have to acquire these 'outlines' and thereafter, the process towards completion will carry on continuously. That is the nature of elements. And so to know who 'the Self' is, and to remain in its domain, is known as the non-egoism state.
*Chandulal = Whenever Dadashri uses the name 'Chandulal' or the name of the person Dadashri is addressing, the reader should insert his or her name for exact understanding.
1) 'I did this', this gives rise to egoism. 'This is mine', it gives rise to attachment (mamta).
2) Pure Ego (shuddha ahankar) and Pure Soul (shuddha chetan), they are both the same. Pure ego means that there is no anger-pride-deceit-greed in it.
Book Name: Aptavani 10 (U) (Page # 351 Paragraph #5 to Page # 352 Paragraph 5)