We often use the word ‘’ego’’, ‘’egoistic’’ to tell about a person who is more self-centric. Ego is more often less understood. It is no doubt the concept or a construct of the self. Self of an individual does it mean the individual alone? If we talk about EGO of an individual we are making a mistake of assuming EGO as fixed and static. In reality EGO is dynamic and expansive in nature. It is not limited to an individual alone. When we present our ideas about our family, our society or our nation we are trying to bring these broad understandings to our identity that is to ourself. So EGO is not an individual alone. It could be the self-concept embracing either an individual or the whole world or even the entire universe. It is neither narrow nor broad. It is dynamic and is expandable as per the understanding and perception of an individual. The maha-upanishad verse “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” which is ‘Vasudha eva kutumbakam’ reflects that is ‘’Ego’’ is expansive. It is understanding that “Earth is indeed a Family’’.
Self itself is not a confined concept because the inner self or the ‘atma’ of an individual is a part of the bigger energy or the paramatma, or the atma (Self) can manifest as the paramatma as per ‘’Aham brahmasmi”. So self does not have a restrictive connotation or a boundary. It embraces a bigger whole. It is dynamic as per the understanding and the experience of an individual.
Empathy, trying to feel the other person is just expanding the ego to the other person. Feeling of oneness in the family is expanding ego to the family. Loving the environment, the trees, the birds and the animals is expanding ego to the nature. Patriotism is expanding ego to the nation. Kuvempu’s concept of “Vishwamanava” is expanding the ego to the world or the universe.
As we recognize the expansiveness of Ego, we feel limitless and the social compartments would disappear.