(Sanskrit अहङ्कार, also ahankara) Literally, "pride, egotism, conception of one's individuality, individualization, arrogance, etc." From अहम् aham, "I." Hindu philosophies use the word ahankara in varying ways, not always negative. At its base, ahankara is simply the perception of being "separate." Yet this perception quickly develops into egotism.
"Atman in conjunction with the Buddhi is Ahankara. The basis of Ahankara is Buddhi. As the Buddhi (Bheda Buddhi) is the cause for this differentiation (this little "I"), Buddhi is the cause or seed for Ahankara. Ahamta and Mamata ('I'-ness and 'mine'-ness) are Jivasrishti. It is Jivasrishti that binds a man to the world. Isvarasrishti (God's creation) helps man in his God-realisation. The seed of mind is Ahankara. Ahankara is development through the thoughts of the mind. As the first thought is the 'I' thought and as this 'I' thought is at the base of all other thoughts, Ahankara is the seed for the mind. This idea of 'I' will bring in its train, the idea of time, space and other potencies. With these environments, the name Jiva accrues to it. Contemporaneously with it, there arise Buddhi, memory, Manas which is the seed of the tree of Sankalpa. When you are a boy, the Ahankara is not very potent. It is like a shadow in a glass. It gets developed and firm-rooted during your adolescence after you marry and entangle yourself in the achievement of various worldly desires. You are fearless in your boyhood. The moment this little 'I' becomes stronger in your, side by side, various sorts of fears, various sorts of desires, a host of delusions take firm hold of you. The world appears to you more real, too. Ahankara is, after all, nothing. But, tremendous is its influence! Maya means Ahankara. Mind is another name for Ahankara. World means Ahankara. The sprout of Ahankara ramifies here and there with its long branches of 'mine' and 'thine'. It is inveterate. Ahankara wants to live in flesh (Abhinivesa or clinging to life), to eat flesh and to embrace flesh. This is pure Ajnana (ignorance) only. Look at Maya's deception and wholesale swindling! Beware! Awake! Get Jnana. Just as the cloud screens the sun, so also this cloud of Ahankara screens the 'Jnana Surya', the Infinite Sun of Knowledge, Brahman. You cannot realise God, if you have the least tinge of egoism, if you have the slightest attachment to name and form, if you have the least tinge of Vasana or if you have the least trace of worldly desire in the mind." —Swami Sivananda
"You are born to conquer nature and thereby realise Atman. Try to know the ways and habits of this Ahankara. It thirsts for self-aggrandisement or self-advancement, power, possession of objects and enjoyment. Kill this Ahankara or egoism and selfishness. Be disinterested. Pin your faith to the opposite virtues, spirit of sacrifice and selflessness. Accept sacrifice and service as guiding principles of life. At once you will have a rich, expanded spiritual life." —Swami Sivananda
"From desire spring cupidity and delusion and vanity and pride and ahankara (selfishness)." —Mahabharata
"To truly eliminate the ahamkara bhava, the egoic condition of our consciousness, would be absolutely impossible if we commit the crime of forgetting our own Divine Mother Kundalini." - Samael Aun Weor, Magic of the Runes
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