The ego cannot be subjugated by one that takes it to be real. It is just like one’s own shadow. Imagine a man who does not know the truth of his shadow. He sees it following him persistently, and wants to get rid of it. He tries to run away from it, but it still follows him. He digs a deep pit and tries to bury it, filling up the pit; but the shadow comes to the top and again follows him. He can get rid of it only by looking away from it, at himself, the original of the shadow. Then the shadow will not worry him. The seekers of Deliverance are like the man in this parable. They fail to see that the ego is but a shadow of the Self. What they have to do is to turn away from it, towards the Self, of which it is the shadow.
Ramana Maharshi, quoted in Maha Yoga or The Upanishadic Lore in the Light of the Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, K. Lakshmana Sarma, Sri Ramanasramam, 1937. ISBN 978-81-88018-20-8. Buy from Amazon US, Buy from Amazon UK