Two paths to let go of the Ego: Knowledge vs Devotion – Episode 104

“The path of Gyaan (knowledge) crushes the Ego, the path of Bhakti (devotion) melts the Ego.” When my teacher said this, it blew my mind! I suddenly began to understand the way me and people in my world work and deal with things.

Not just in the spiritual sense, but in all facets of life – home, work, business, creativity – those of us who surrender ourselves to the process and go with the flow have a vastly different experience than the ones who want a deeper understanding and look at things through the lens of precision and perfection.

I’ve connected this thought process to an art workshop I attended a couple of weeks ago in this episode.

Listen on the embedded player below, or on any podcast app that you like. If you prefer reading, then scroll down for the transcript. Enjoy! 🙂

“While they’re both gonna take you to the same goal, when you devote yourself and surrender yourself completely, when you let go of your ego and let it dissolve completely, instead of fighting against it and judging it, and trying to break it and control it, you’re just going to be feeling so good!”

Susmitha Veganosaurus – The Feel Good Factor Podcast

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Transcript: Two paths to let go of the Ego – Knowledge vs Devotion

(gently edited for a better reading experience)

Hey, hey, hey, I’m back in Bangalore! Yay. I also do miss whatever I did throughout my trip, and it was so wonderful.

For those of you who didn’t listen to the past couple of episodes, I shared with everyone here that I wasn’t in town, and as soon as I’m back in town, I’m going to tell you where I was.

So, I was in Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh. It’s a beautiful place, way up in the mountains. Getting there was a bit nerve wracking. But finally when I did get there, I loved my whole vacation.

It was a semi-solo trip, and I had a lovely time meeting people, eating, walking, exploring and of course, resting a lot in my room because it rained quite a bit. So I spent lots of time cosily tucked in bed, just looking out the window at the beautiful scenery. It was a very, very beautiful trip.

View of the mountains and sky outside the window of room Jal 9 at The Unmad, Dharamkot (Dharamshala)

Originally this episode was supposed to be all about my trip, and the things I learned from it

Solo trips always involve many, many interesting life lessons. Especially for somebody who likes to ponder, and contemplate, and introspect, and all that.

Many things reveal themselves, especially when you’re travelling solo, or are mostly solo. So I wanted to share all the things I learned, or most of the things I learned.

But today I was attending my weekly class. It’s a spiritual class that I’ve been doing for more than a year now. I think for a couple of years nearly now, and it’s been a really nice experience.

My teacher is really amazing

She always has some great insights through all the classes, but sometimes the insights, the quotes, are so strong that it just hits you hard. Today, she said something like that, and I’m like, “you know what, that’s what I’m going to talk about on the podcast today. Not anything else. The trip details can wait a while.”

So here’s what she said. We were almost closing up class, and at that particular point of time we were talking about the different ways of connecting to the divine energy, to God, to cosmic, whatever you’d like to call it. Different ways people do that.

Then the question came to the ego, the “I” that we always associate ourselves with. And especially the ego that gets in the way of doing anything good in life, the ego that makes us doubt or be arrogant. Where it puts lower emotions in the way, like anger and pride and all those things.

So she said, “when you’re on the path of knowledge, you can crush the ego. But when you’re in the path of devotion, you can melt the ego.”

And I was like mind blown! Because that actually explains a lot about myself, about people around me, about the way we approach things.

Now all of us want to be better people. We all have that intention. And our journey is always reaching towards our higher self, trying to bring out that divine nature from within us in some way or another.

It could be in some simple acts of kindness or compassion or love or care. Or saying some nice words to people. We all like to reach into this divine nature within us, and bring it out into the world.

And when we do connect to our higher self like this, we always feel rewarded

There’s always this nice feeling that comes over us, and to reach it again and again, the more we get into this path of being kind, compassionate, loving, all these things. There are different ways to reach your divine nature, different ways to become a better person, bringer of light in this world.

Two of those multiple ways are: one is of knowledge and logic and, you know, understanding. Breaking things down and understanding, and then going forward towards becoming better versions of ourselves, or better people for the world.

And the other, is surrender and devotion, and just giving ourselves up entirely into whatever it is we’re doing, into any action that we take in life. And just allowing ourselves to flow.

This is not applicable only to spirituality, it’s actually applicable to every part of our lives

In the way we run a business, and the way we run our household or our family, in the way we approach a creative project, these two are common paths that people take. Sometimes they overlap, but often people have a tendency towards either this or that.

Either approaching something through the path of knowledge and logic and you know breaking things down and understanding, or just going with the flow and surrendering and devoting yourself to it, and feeling it. You know, being present in the moment. There is no right or wrong here.

Both paths are effective, because both of them take you to the Divine, or to the best possible outcome

Even if it’s not spirituality, both take you towards the best possible outcome.

So for example, I’ll tell you, on my trip I went and did a sketching class. So I can give you an example from the sketching class.

The teacher taught us how to draw an Eye using various charcoal powders and pencils, some different kinds of erasers, and stuff like that. It was so interesting, the whole experience!

You can have zero talent, zero knowledge about this particular thing. And yet you come out of the class, having created this gorgeous looking Eye. At the end of the class I looked at the one I created and I’m like, “What? Did I just draw that?!” I couldn’t believe it myself.

So the teacher’s that good, that very good. All the students in the class regardless of whatever experience or lack of experience we’ve had, everyone ended up creating something beautiful.

Susmitha (Indian woman, spiky short hair, wearing glasses, focused expression), doing a charcoal sketch. Dissolving the ego in deep flow.

Each person’s Eye had a realistic look to it, and also their love and their own unique hand was seen in it

In the class there are two components. One is, you need to learn the techniques. This is how you do things, this is how you use this tool, this how you use the other tool and stuff like that.

And the other is going with the flow. Once you learn the technique, you kind of let yourself go with the flow. So both are there as a part of the class. But some students went with the flow a lot more easily than others.

Some students who were more in terms of the path of knowledge and logic, they wanted to go deeper into the technique, and get the technique right, like, “let it be precise like this. Let me draw the line this way, and curves that way.”

And those of us who wanted to go with the flow (and believe me I was one of those because I’m not a very precision work kind of a person), we just learned the techniques and were like, “okay, this is how you use it. This is how you do the lines.”

Then we surrendered ourselves, gave ourselves entirely to this work of art that we were creating

We let our hands move, and looked away, and then came back. You could say that the drawing got created through us versus we created it.

Now, as I said, all the students results were great! Everything turned out beautiful. And our teacher encourages… after teaching us how to do things in a technical way… the basic techniques – how to sit, how to hold the pen and all these things. After that he deeply encourages us to go into the flow. He’s like, “creative flow is important.”

It’s actually a very meditative class. Music playing in the background softly. It’s a three hour session. So every 15-20 minutes, he was like, “okay, get up, go for a walk. Take a very short five minute break and come back. You will come back with fresh eyes when you look at it.” So he encouraged all of that.

So basically as a part of the process, you’re letting go of your ego

You’re not allowing other things to come in the way. You’re trying not to allow the “I” to come in there, and you’re connecting to the work that you’re doing.

Whether you’re connecting deeply to the right techniques, and the way to flick your hand, and the lines and stuff. Or if you’re like, “okay, the lines will flow and I’ll move my hand accordingly.” Either way, you’re letting go of your ego.

But the ones who are doing it with giving more importance to the techniques and the precision and trying to control things. To get it just right like, “okay, this is the image that was shared with us. Now, our sketch has to come as close to the image as possible.” That’s the logic, knowledge and technique people.

All of us were given a photograph to copy from, and those of us who looked at the image and said that, “okay, this is a reference, and I’m going to flow. And then whatever comes, great! It doesn’t have to precisely match.” We were the surrender, heart, devotion people. We really flowed with the work that we were doing.

And like I said, all the drawings came out beautiful, but there was a big difference

Those of us who dissolved ourselves, and completely lost ourselves in the process without trying to control it, just went with the flow and devoted ourselves to this particular piece of art we were creating, came out of the class feeling a lot more relaxed and happy and joyful. Versus those who were trying to control the lines, and get things precise. Who were more focused on the knowledge and the technique part of things.

All the drawings were beautiful, but we got a better result out of things in the sense of being joyful. And their result was of course, better knowledge, right? And better precision. Those are nothing to sniff at.

But what would you want at the end of a process of creation? At the end of a spiritual practice, or a spiritual journey? At the end of your cooking, at the end of the day while you’re wrapping up your house? Or when you’re closing up your work for the day?

How would you like to feel?

Would you like to feel like, “okay, I know more, I learned more. I am a better equipped person now.” All that, but also stressed and anxious because you had to work hard to crush that ego, right? You had to work against your ego.

Or would you like to feel so relaxed and fulfilled? “My work is done for the day. I’m chilled out now. It’s all over.” contented sigh Smile coming onto your face. Like, this is good. So your ego there was dissolved. You lost yourself in your work.

It’s up to you to choose, it’s up to all of us to choose exactly which path we want to take

What will take you to your highest self? Both will take you towards the divine energy. Whether you believe in spirituality or not, a divine energy’s something we’ve all felt. It’s that feeling of joy and expansion that you get, this feeling of having reached a higher level.

So both will reach you to divine energy. But do you want a path of learning and improvement and perfection, while you go there? Or do you want a path of joy and surrender and flow while you go there? That is totally up to you.

And of course, as listeners of a podcast like this called The Feel Good Factor, I am hoping that you prioritise feeling good about all else, and choose that path of devotion and surrender.

Because while they’re both gonna take you to the same goal, when you devote yourself and surrender yourself completely, when you let go of your ego and let it dissolve completely, instead of fighting against it and judging it, and trying to break it and control it, you’re just going to be feeling so good!

So much better than a person who’s trying to struggle against that ego, who’s trying to break down their ego in every situation

I’m sure you can think of many situations in your life to apply this to. And I hope you keep remembering this again and again.

“The path of knowledge and logic helps you crush the ego. And through the path of surrender and devotion, you can melt the ego.” Remember this all the time, no matter what action you take in your life.

And yeah, lean towards my side. You know, the side of surrender. And I feel that you’re going to be so much more joyful. You’re going to go through life with a smile and a light step.

All right, I’ll be back next week. And yes, I will be talking about my trip hopefully.

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Transcribed using Otter

Susmitha Veganosaurus

Shorth haired Indian lady, beaming a wide smile. Flowers in the background. Vegan business coach and chef Susmitha Veganosaurus

“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.

If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.

Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”