Two faces of ego

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Is the human ego of a uniform nature or does it have different aspects?

That character has two aspects or faces. One of these faces looks toward good and existence, and is capable only of passively receiving what is given, with no ability to create. The other face looks towards evil and derives from non-existence. In this aspect, ego is active. As we have said, the real nature of ego is indicative—like a letter in a word which has no meaning by itself—pointing to the meaning of things other than itself. Its lordship is completely hypothetical; its own existence is so weak and insubstantial that, alone, it cannot bear or support anything. Rather, ego is a kind of scale or measure—like a thermometer or barometer—which shows the degrees and quantities of what is measured. By means of it, the absolute, all-encompassing and limitless At-tributes of the Necessary Being can become known.

Whoever knows and realizes that his essential nature is as we have explained above, and acts accordingly, is included in those who are given the good news of, Truly he succeeds and prospers that purifies it.

He truly carries out the trust and, through the telescope of ego, sees what the universe is and what duties it is performing. He also sees that his ego confirms the information which he has gathered about the universe. Because of this, the information he has will retain the quality of light and wisdom for him, not vulnerable to alteration into darkness and futility. When ego has per-formed its duty in this way, it renounces its claim to lordship and hypothetical ownership, which are merely devices of measurement, and it proclaims: ‘His is the sovereignty and ownership of all beings and to Him is due all praise and thanks. His is the judgment and rule and to Him you are returning.’ Thus it achieves true worship and attains the rank of the best pattern of the creation.

If, on the contrary, ego, forgetting the Divine purpose of its creation and abandoning the duty of its nature, views itself as a self-existing being independent of the Creator, it betrays the trust, falling subsequently into the class of those who are warned and threatened by, And he fails that corrupts it.

It was, therefore, because of this aspect of ego which brings about all kinds of polytheism, evil and deviation, that the heavens, the earth and the mountains were terrified of taking on the trust—lest they too might be led to associate partners with God.

If ego, being as it is an insubstantial alif, a thread, a hypothetical line, is not perceived in its true essence, it grows and swells, gradually permeating all parts of a human being until, like some huge monster, it swallows him up completely

If ego, being as it is an insubstantial alif, a thread, a hypothetical line, is not perceived in its true essence, it grows and swells, gradually permeating all parts of a human being until, like some huge monster, it swallows him up completely. Subsequently, the individual in all his faculties may come to consist of nothing but an ego. Eventually the ego of the human race gives strength to the individual ego through individual and also national racism, and thus ego, swollen by sup-port from the ego of the race, contests, like Satan, the commands of the Majestic Maker. Finally, taking itself as a yardstick, it compares everyone, everything even, with itself; it divides the sovereignty of God between them and other ‘causes’. Thus it lapses into associating partners with God in the most grievous manner, being then the referent of the verse: To associate partners with God is certainly the highest wrong-doing.

Ego’s case is analogous to that of one who has stolen money from the public treasury—he can only justify his action by saying that he took a certain sum for each of his friends. That is why one who claims ownership for himself ends up believing and claiming that ‘everything owns it-self’.

Because of this betrayal ego sinks into absolute ignorance. Even if it has absorbed thousands of branches of science, its ignorance is only compounded by its knowledge. Whatever glimmers of knowledge of God ego may have obtained from the universe through its senses or its reflective powers are extinguished because it does not find anything within itself with which to confirm or extend or even hold on to them. Whatever comes to ego is stained with the colors within it. Even if pure wisdom comes, it becomes absolutely futile within an ego that has already been stained with the colors of atheism and/or polytheism or other forms of denying the All-Mighty. If the whole universe were full of shining indications of God, a dark point in that ego hides them from view, as though they were not visible. In truth, however, the essential quality proper to human nature (and to ego within that nature), is to point outward to what is other than itself. True to that nature, ego is a most sensitive scale and accurate measure, a comprehensive index and perfect map, an all-reflecting mirror, and a fitting calendar and diary for the universe.


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