Nature invented the ego that the individual might disengage himself from the inconscience or subconscience of the mass and become an independent living mind, life-power, soul, spirit, co-ordinating himself with the world around him but not drowned in it and separately inexistent and ineffective. For the individual is indeed part of the cosmic being, but he is also something more, he is a soul that has descended from the Transcendence. This he cannot manifest at once, because he is too near to the cosmic Inconscience, not near enough to the original Super-conscience; he has to find himself as the mental and vital ego before he can find himself as the soul or spirit.

Throughout the Yoga this figure of the ego is the enemy against whom we have always to be on guard with an unsleeping vigilance. “Not for myself, but for the Divine” should grow to be the law of the whole consciousness and thought and action.

...As long as the ego is at work in us, our personal action is and must always be in its nature a part of the lower grades of existence; it is obscure or enlightened, limited in its field, very partially effective in its power. ...

A greater Personality sometimes
Possesses us which yet we know is ours:
Or we adore the Master of our souls.
Then the small bodily ego thins and falls;
No more insisting on its separate self,
Losing the punctilio of its separate birth,
It leaves us one with Nature and with God.