Among all elements of material nature, ego (ahamkara) is probably the most essential for the stability of the universe. As the Bhagavata Purana tells us, Sri Krishna himself encloses the universe with ego (and the other elements of material nature) when he decides to create the universe for his divine play.
Ego blocks learning by giving us a false feeling of being knowledgeable. And as soon as our mind registers, “I know,” we involuntarily but clearly signal Devi Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning, that we are no longer prepared to receive more data from her. Though ego has the potential to block learning in both worldly and spiritual subject areas, our mechanisms for trusting our mentors and receiving sattvic information from the environment are more strongly hurt when our ego expands. This also implies that people who are prone to thinking that they play bigger roles in society, including some of the rich and famous, may find it more difficult to become true students of spirituality.
Because jnana (spiritual knowledge) can help us transcend ego, jnana is considered ego’s only enemy and is sometimes defined as the absence of ego. As we recognize Rama as the Real Doer, the Absolute Reality, or our Sole Refuge, mineness is transcended on its own.