Ego and feelings go together. It is the ego which feels. Our attitude towards the world is often influenced by our feelings.
A recluse once came to a certain kingdom. Thousands of people began to visit to him. The king heard of all this and was eager to see the recluse. He paid a visit to him and invited him to his palace. The recluse agreed and put up with the king. But his stay in the place became so long that the king began to wonder as to what to do with him. The recluse did not show any inclination to leave.
One day the king invited him for a walk. They proceeded towards the jungle far away from the palace. After a long stroll, the king expressed a desire to return to the palace, but the recluse decided to retreat into the forest. The king wondered how the comforts of the palace had suddenly ceased to attract the recluse.
When questioned by the king, the recluse replied that the forest was as good for him as the palace. It was true, he said, that he had lived in the palace for quite some time, but the comforts of the palace had never captured his imagination.
On the other hand, the king's imagination had been captured by the luxuries the palace had provided and that are why he could never think of relinquishing them.
The recluse had lived in the world or his self even while he had been in the palace. That is why he did not make any distinction between the palace and the forest.
The more our attitude becomes governed by feeling. The more we become attached to the world. There are two currents flowing in man the current of feeling and that of knowledge. We should be careful not to allow the two to be mixed together.
Sadhana and self-knowledge consist in keeping consciousness pure. Sadhana consists in the purity of the soul, and consciousness in its freedom from the effects of feelings, passions, desires, greed, deceit and pride.
We should keep two things in mind when we engage ourselves in sadhana. The first is the necessity to keep our knowledge and consciousness pure and unalloyed with feelings. Such knowledge is joy.
The second is that consciousness should not be eclipsed by passions. Once passions begin to cast their shadow on consciousness, it loses its pristine purity. The ego gets the upper hand in such a situation.
We ought to make a distinction between consciousness that is pure and consciousness which is overcast with passions. Spiritual achievements are the products of this effort and exertion to keep the self pure.