Today was off and while surfing channels, I stopped at a religious channel and the speaker was explaining the concept of ego through ancient Indian story from Ramayana (the story of Lord Rama)
Narada is ill-famed to be a joker saint, with his wisecracks and smart tricks etc. But the speaker explained how he worshipped for several decades (after his master told him to follow the path of Prahlad, that story some other day). God was pleased and asked him to do some more meditation. Narada started again and was very devoted. Other gods tried to disturb him, by sending Kama (lord of lust, cupid). Kama tried a lot but did not succeed. Then he started saying- Narada is great, who has not only won his feeling of lust/sex, but also anger. Actually as per Indian scriptures, Kama had disturbed Lord Shiva (the destroyer) and Shiva had annihilated Kama in anger. So Kama referring to that incident said, Narada is even better than Shiva, as Shiva only resisted Kama, but Narada resisted Kama as well as anger, so Narada is better than Shiva. Narada opened his eyes after hearing all this praise. Basically his ego was boosted by this artificial praise by Kama. Narada went to Shiva and shared the story, Shiva listened patiently but advised Narada not to tell Vishnu. Well how could Narada stop himself. He went to Lord Vishnu and repeated the same thing. Vishnu also kept quiet. Narada went away, and Vishnu set up a kingdom by his powers where a princess Vishwamohini was about to choose her groom Narada passed by and thought if Shiva and Vishnu can have wives, why can’t I. He prayed to Lord Vishnu and he appeared. Narada requested him to help him in marriage. Vishnu asked again and Narada replied-do whatever is best for me. Vishnu made his face like a monkey. Later on when Narada was rejected he got angry and cursed Vishnu that you will have to suffer for a wife like me, and only monkeys will help you. Vishnu smiled and blessed him. Narada repented later on but God had his own plans. Thus was the ego of Narada and how he was brought down to reality by Lord Vishnu.
By the way speaker was one Atul Kishan Bhardwaj.
In an aside, speaker explained how Vishnu is Shantakaram Bhujangshayanam (sanskrit phrase meaning Vishnu is sleeping on bed of snake and is peaceful) and compared it satirically to our lives which he said are ashantakaram mattressshayanam (parody sanskrit meaning we sleep on top-class mattresses still we are not at peace). Speaker explained that Vishnu is in a sea of milk meaning living with truth, that is why he is at peace, whereas we live life of lies that is why we are never peaceful.