“So this false ego, “I am this material body. I belong to this material world, I belong to this community, sect, or nation,” so many, they are all based on ahankara. Ahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate [Bg. 3.27]. Actually, every one of us who are in this material world, they are, we are all under the full control of this illusory energy and working differently according to the influence of the different modes of material nature.

“I am not real karta. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani [Bg. 3.27].  Gunaih karmani. I am under the influence of different gunas, and still, falsely, I am thinking that “I am the doer. I have got the capacity of acting. And the effect, whatever I have produced, it is due to my labor.” This is called illusion, moha. Mohah ayam aham mameti [SB 5.5.8]. This conception of life is moha. Moha, delusion or illusion, just like a person in feverish convulsion is lying unconscious, thinking something else.”

Srila Prabhupada  Srimad-Bhagavatam class 3.26.26 — Bombay, January 3, 1975

“If we take our vulnerable shell to be our true identity, if we think our mask is our true face, we will protect it with fabrications even at the cost of violating our own truth. This seems to be the collective endeavor of society: the more busily men dedicate themselves to it, the more certainly it becomes a collective illusion, until in the end we have the enormous, obsessive, uncontrollable dynamic of fabrications designed to protect mere fictitious identities – “selves,” that is to say, regarded as objects.”

Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable (New   York: New Directions) 15