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Yoga Sutras
Sutra 2.6

dr̥g-darśana-śaktyor ekātmatevāsmitā

Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrument of seeing.

Translated - Swami Vivekananda

Egoism, or asmitā, refers to the false identification of the true self with the instruments of perception and cognition, such as the mind, senses, and body. In simpler terms, asmitā is the illusion of "I" or "me" that arises when the individual mistakenly associates themselves with the physical and mental apparatus that enables perception and experience. It is the erroneous belief that the body-mind complex is the true self or identity, rather than recognising the pure consciousness (Purusha) that exists beyond the fluctuations of the mind and body. Asmitā arises due to avidyā, the spiritual ignorance discussed in the previous sutra. When the mind is clouded by avidyā, it identifies with the ever-changing thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences, assuming them to be the essence of who one truly is. This misidentification with the perishable aspects of existence leads to a false sense of self, creating the ego or individuality that colors our perception and actions. This egoic identity becomes the basis for attachment, desires, fears, and the cycle of suffering. It perpetuates the illusion of separateness, fostering a sense of individuality and a false sense of control and ownership over experiences and outcomes.
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