Aham or ego is an appearance on the atma as the foam on the edge of the wave, which is but the ocean itself. The atma can well be devoid of ego, but ego cannot exist without the atma as the reality underneath. However, man validates ego (sham), giving it a form (akaram) full of attributes and so, it gets polluted as egoism (sham-karam). When ego is free from the status of 'ism', it is a facet or factor of the atma. Attributes, modes, gunas drag it into the tangle of dualities and so, it gets malefic and sheds its positive, purifying role.
- Baba -