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Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) is a Sanskrit term that is related to the ego and egoism - that is, the identification or attachment of one's ego. The term "ahamkara" comes from an approximately 3,000-year-old Vedic philosophy, where Ahaṃ refers to the concept of the Self or "I" and kāra refers to the concept of "any created thing" or "to do". The term originated in Vedic philosophy over 3,000 years ago, and was later incorporated into Hindu philosophy, particularly Saṃkhyā philosophy.

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Rakefet Dictionary

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Ahamkara (Sanskrit) [from aham ego, I + kara maker, doer from the verbal root kri to do] I-maker; conception of egoity or I-am-I-ness. In its lower aspect, the egoistical and mayavi principle, born of avidya (ignorance), which produces the notion of the personal ego as being different from the universal self. In Sankhya philosophy ahamkara is the third emanation: from prakriti (primal nature or substance) issues mahat (the great), standing for universal mind, which in turn produces ahamkara, selfhood, individuality; from ahamkara come forth the five tanmatras, the subtle forms of the elements or principles and "the two series of sense organs" (Samkhya-Sutra 1:61).
In the Bhagavad-Gita (7:4), prakriti manifests in eight portions -- "earth, water, fire, air, ether [space: kham-akasa], mind [manas], understanding [buddhi] and egoity, self-sense [ahamkara]" -- all of which relate to the object side, which gives an erroneous sense of identity or egoity.
As universal self-consciousness, ahamkara has "a triple aspect, as also Manas. For this conception of 'I,' or one's Ego, is either sattwa, 'pure quietude,' or appears as rajas, 'active,' or remains tamas, 'stagnant,' in darkness. It belongs to Heaven and Earth, and assumes the properties of either" (SD 1:335n).

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