In one of his aphorisms, Sri Aurobindo points out “the ego was the helper; the ego is the bar.” We frequently get the feeling that somehow the ego is truly an obstacle to our spiritual development, without looking at it through the lens of the evolutionary arc of the development of consciousness, wherein the ego has played an important, essential role in bringing us to the stage where we can express individuality, reflect from an individual standpoint, and develop powers of insight, understanding and action based on the drive of the ego-personality and its individual nexus of experience.

At a certain point, as the individual develops, however, he has outgrown the usefulness of the ego, just as a child puts away its childish toys as it grows and develops and adjusts his interests and focus as he moves through the different stages of his human lifetime.

When an individual becomes conscious of the limiting frame of the ego, he readies himself to take the next step and move beyond those limits and shift the standpoint away from the ego-personality to the soul centre and the spiritual viewpoint which transcends the ego consciousness.

The Mother observes: “When humanity was first created, the ego was the unifying element. It was around the ego that the different states of being were grouped; but now that the birth of superhumanity is being prepared, the ego has to disappear and give way to the psychic being, which has slowly been formed by divine intervention in order to manifest the Divine in the human being.”

“It is under the psychic influence that the Divine manifests in man and thus prepares the coming of superhumanity. … The psychic is immortal and it is through the psychic that immortality can be manifested on earth. … So the important thing now is to find one’s psychic, unite with it and allow it to replace the ego, which will be compelled either to get converted or disappear.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 5, Organisation, Harmonisation, Unification, pg. 145

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 19 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.