Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Isn’t there Hidden Selfishness on the Spiritual Path? Let’s see what Radhanath Swami says…

By on November 17, 2010 in Insights with 46 Comments

Real EgoQuestion to Radhanath Swami: When we say prayers or when we do any good deed, it is recommended that we have no selfish motive. But at the back of our mind, we want purification etc. That “I” is coming again. How do you explain that? How do we say that we don’t have a selfish motive?

Radhanath Swami: Because the true “I” is not selfish. The egoistic “I” is selfish, but the spirit “I” is not selfish. Our real “I”, that “I am a servant” is not a selfish conception. That “I am a controller and enjoyer” is a selfish conception. You cannot be free from “I” all-together. It’s impossible.

There are three stages of existence. One is exploitation, the other is renunciation, and the last is dedication. So exploitation means “I am the enjoyer,” but that is a frustrating situation because we are trying to enjoy in a foreign conception to our real self. So, when people become frustrated by this path of exploitation, they may take to the path of renunciation. Renunciation is like a no-man’s land where we try to just negate everything and bring it to zero and eliminate the “I.” But there is no love, there is no ras, there is no dynamic experience there; there is just the peace of existence that comes through renunciation. But through dedication we are actually pursuing the positive side. The positive side is the real eternal “I.”

Take for example this eye that we see with. If the eye is diseased, it is causing us pain. One solution is to pluck it out; then you have no eye. The other solution is to heal it; then it is the real eye and you could see nicely and enjoy with it. Similar is the case with this ego “I.” The false ego is, “I am the enjoyer, I am the controller, I am this body, I am a man, I am a woman, I am Indian, I am American, I am old, I am young.” But these are all designations, upädhis. They have their reality, but their reality is like an automobile for a driver. We use them all. For example, we use this body. This body is a sacred instrument to be used in God’s service, but we should also understand who we actually are. So, through frustration in the path of exploitation, people take to renunciation and they try to make everything zero, but the highest truth is the healthy, real, eternal emergence of “I,” the real “I”: I am for Krishna, I am the lover of Krishna, I am loved by Krishna, I am the servant of Krishna, I am the servant of the servant of Krishna, and I am the well-wishing instrument of God’s love towards every living being, with all humility. The emergence of that realization is the greatest attainment in life.


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  • N.Swaminathan

    Radhanath Swami has clarified a very intricate subject matter – what is the real I.

  • Vinay Rachh

    Radhanath swami’s reply is wonderful.

  • Vani

    Radhanath Swami Maharaj has so nicely explained that even a child can understand this nicely. Haribol!!

  • Siddeshwar Bhat

    The analogy of the ‘eye’ to explain the ‘I’. That is Radhanath Swami’s genius…..

  • Anil Timbe

    3 I.. such a cristal clear explanation..thanks for sharing.

  • Jitendra Pardeshi

    Very lucid explanation & conclusion of three stages of existence – the false ego, negation and real ego. Thank You Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Ravi Garg

    Swamiji with examples gives such beautiful explanations, that it leaves no doubt in the minds of the person questioning…….

  • Sumit

    What an answer Radhanath Swami has given. This has made things very clear. We should not only try to understand that we are the soul, but we must act upon this to really understand the real “I”.

  • Radhanath Swami very nicely explained the real ego of “I”.
    The difference between real ego and false ego is the difference between service and exploitation. Because our real ego is that we are eternally servants of God.

  • Rupa

    Wonderful explanation!!

  • Radhanath Swami Maharaj’s speech is so enlightening !

  • Dipti Gaikwad

    3 levels of ‘I’ – most of us are stuck at the first level itself. Only by these words of wisdom of Radhanath Swami can we even begin to understand the 3rd level.

  • deepak

    Radhanath Swami has clearly explained the difference between real ‘I’ and the egoistic ‘I’. Thank you very much.

  • Vinay Malani

    Radhanath Swami’s explanations are so deeply analytical & factual. He has removed all the cobwebs from my mind in regards to this topic.

  • krishna chandra das

    To love the Supreme-most Personality—Krishna, and to be loved by Him is a very reassuring and satisfying feeling.

  • Arjun K Ramachandra

    How clear the philosophy of bhakti is! Radhanath Swami makes it so clear that neither exploitation nor renunciation are ultimately beneficial, on has to pursue the positive, dynamic side of spirituality.

  • Abhijit Toley

    Too good! This is a common question asked by intelligent persons. Very satisfying answer by Radhanath Swami.

  • Ganesh

    Such a complex subject matter such as easy to understand explaination! Just Amazing

  • jyoti

    A Life-Saving Project…Something that actually makes people ‘LIVE’ the teaching of Simple Living High Thinking. Radhanath Swami ki Jay

  • santosh

    Radhanath swami maharaj is inspiring every one by his example and the results which he has given to the society.

  • Sachin Boradia

    Exploitation to Renunciation to life of Dedication is amazingly and beautifully eplained by Radhanatha Swami. Thank you for this wonderful explaination

  • Aishwarya

    Radhanath Swami nicely explains THE REAL I with 3 stages existences.

  • Swapnil Gaonkar

    Brilliant answer by Radhanath Swami

  • Chetan Warade

    Such details explained.What a deep thoughts of Maharaj!!!

    Thank you Maharaj

  • madhura

    Wonderful answer by Maharaj.

  • Anand

    Maharaj, you make complex subjects so easy & interesting to understand. This helps us so mch in our daily lives. Thank you Maharaj!
    Hare Krishna!

  • Vidya Patham

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for giving such a clear explanation on understanding who the real self is.

  • umesh

    nice explanation of “I” and the “real I” by Radhanath swami Maharaj.

  • sunil

    what more can we ask to explain so clear . jai thanks maharaj.

  • Ram Mahtani

    Expalined in a way that even a child can understand.

  • Gaurangag

    Nice answer, Thank you so much Maharaj

  • Servant

    A simple and a clear message by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • tushar

    thank you maharaj amazing answer

  • Sunny

    Must read for everyone…so brilliantly and succintly expressed…by Radhanath Swami…

  • surekha

    Thank you Radhanath swami for this wonderful answer which explains us what is the real “I” and what is the selfish “I” which is filled with false ego.

  • Achyuta Govinda

    Thank you Radhanath swami for this insightful answer.

  • Ankit patel

    Hare Krsna..

  • Jagannath Dham Das

    Radhanath Swami very well clarified the difference between real ego & False ego !
    Hare Krishna !

  • Vrushali

    Thank you for the beautiful post!

  • Sunny Hinduja

    Very nice answer!!!!

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Thank you for clarifying about all the “I’s”

  • Gokul Sundari Devi Dasi

    Great answer. Jai Gurudev!!

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Superb answer and explanation!

  • Vinay Jain

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for so clearly articulating the three stages of existence & inspiring us to take the path of dedication, giving up the false enjoyment & renouncing mentalities.

  • Sanat Swain

    a nice explanation

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Thank you for clarifying the distinction between the egoistic “I” and the eternal “I”. In this material existence, we are mostly on the Egoistic “I” mode. We have to push ourselves to bring us to the level of Eternal “I” where we have the realization that we are the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord.