There are many fears, not one.
First, if you want to be enlightened, you have to die a psychological death. You have to be reborn as a new spiritual being, and you don't know anything about spirituality. All that you know about yourself is your mind, centered around the ego.
It is a very strange phenomenon, that you are identified with something which you are not, and you have forgotten that which you are, have always been, will always be. There is no way to be anything else. Your being belongs to the existential. But there are layers and layers of conditioning - of parents, of teachers, of priests, of politicians. Between you, the real you, and you, the unreal you, there is a great line of people.
And naturally, you loved your parents, they loved you. Whatsoever they have done to you is absolutely unconscious, it was not intentional. They never wanted you to be a hypocrite, but they have made you a hypocrite. I never suspect their intentions. Their intentions were to make you something great, but they are as unconscious as you are. Their parents have given them their unconsciousness as an inheritance; and this has been going on since Adam and Eve. Every generation goes on loading the coming generation with all kinds of rubbish, stupidity, superstitions.
But don't be angry with them. You have heard about "the angry young man." The angry young man is an idiot. Anger is not going to solve anything; it is going to make everything more difficult and more complicated. Your parents, your teachers, your neighbors don't deserve anger; they deserve compassion. They could not do anything else. With all good wishes they have destroyed you, just the way their parents had destroyed them.
And if you don't become enlightened you are going to destroy your children. For their own sake, you are going to give them all kinds of crap.
You have been told you are a Christian, you are a Hindu, you are a Mohammedan. You came into the world as a tabula rasa; nothing was written on you. Your parents engraved on you and made you a Christian and forced the idea of Christianity on you, and they used your fear, your greed to implement it. You were made afraid of hell, you were made greedy for heaven. And of course, they wanted you not to fall into the ways of sin, but to follow the royal road of virtue.
Nothing was wrong in their intentions; their intentions are not in question. What is in question is that they were not conscious, that the seeds they were sowing in you were seeds of poison. No well-wishing, no good intentions are going to change those seeds. And once they have got roots in you it becomes more and more difficult to get rid of them, because you are identified with the tree of poisons.
It is difficult for a Christian to put Christianity aside. He will feel he is doing something like a betrayal.
Putting aside Christianity he will feel he is betraying Jesus Christ. He is not betraying anyone. He is simply trying to get out of the mess of conditioning that all kinds of people have put upon him.
My grandmother - my mother's mother - was a tremendously beautiful woman. She loved me so much that I was more in touch with her than with my own mother. I used to come to my mother's house to eat twice a day, and then I went to the school. But every night I was in my grandmother's house. She lived in the same town; when her husband died, she moved there. She was alone, there was no other child - my mother was her only child.
But she was of an independent character. Everybody tried to persuade her to live with my father's family, but she said, "That is not possible. Not that I don't love you and don't want to live with you, but I want to be utterly independent, on my own."
So she lived just a few houses away, so that my father and my mother could take care in any emergency - she was old. But I was sleeping every night at her house. She had all blessings for me.
One day when I was carrying her spiritual book of Jainism, it fell. She immediately fell on the earth and put her head at the imaginary feet of the religious book. I asked her, "What are you doing? A book is a book - religious or unreligious, it doesn't matter. It is printed on the same kind of paper, with the same kind of ink, with the same kind of words."
She was old, but very understanding. She said, "Perhaps you are right, but my whole life is involved.
The religious book falling on the ground is not a good sign; we have to ask its forgiveness. It has to be on our heads, not at our feet."
I used to argue with her. I said, "The book is dead. Whether you put it on your head or you stand on it, it will not know the difference."
She was shocked, and at the same time she said, "What you are saying, I can see the point of it, but now it is too late. I am so old - now to start living from scratch, now to start thinking again from the very beginning is a great task. And it is not only a question of this book; so much is involved in it - my attitude towards the religion, my attitude towards the priests, the monks, my attitude towards my parents.
"I got this mind as an inheritance, and it is all that I have. You can destroy it, but then I will feel empty.
And when death is coming closer and I can hear the footsteps of death louder and louder, my son, it is too late. I don't want to die empty."
This is the fear. You are afraid of dropping any conditioning because that conditioning is giving you a certain personality. But you are not aware of that, so you are not worried about it. Your personality has taken the place of your individuality. And to throw away your personality - which means all your past, the whole of it; there is no question of choice....
It is not a question that there are bad parts in it, throw them; and there are good parts in it, preserve them. Your whole past is imposed by others on you, so whether it is good or bad does not matter.
The significant thing to remember is that it is not your discovery, it is all borrowed; it is secondhand, thirdhand - perhaps through millions of hands it has passed. It is really dirty. You have to get rid of it in its totality.
There will be a gap when you will feel completely lost. You used to know yourself, who you were.
There will come a gap when you will not know who you are, but that is a beautiful experience, because your innocence is back again. You are born again; it is a rebirth. Now you can start discovering.
The whole territory is new, you have never been here before. You were kept going round and round on the circumference of your existence. It is adventurous, it is a great challenge. Fear arises. Fear arises because what you think you are is certainly in your hands. And the individuality I am talking about, you don't have in your hands. You don't know what you are going to discover, or whether there is anything to discover or not.
There is a proverb in many languages... similar proverbs: "Half a loaf of bread in the hand is better than the full loaf far away." And I am asking you to drop the half loaf for something that is so far away from you right now. Fear is natural. It is nothing to be worried about, it just has to be understood.
One fundamental law of life: you were as alive - perhaps more alive - in your mother's womb, but you were not a Christian. You had not yet heard of Jesus Christ, you were not carrying a Bible, you were not clinging to a cross. You had no idea what your name is, you had no ambition to become the president of America, to be the richest man in the world. You had no ambitions. Ambitions are extensions of your ego: the bigger the ambition, the bigger ego you are searching for.
At birth you were simply there. So one thing is certain, that whatever you have gained after your birth is not really a gain, it is a loss. On each step you have been losing the real and getting cluttered with the unreal, losing the precious and getting attached to some junk.
It is a question of understanding that even if you drop your whole past you are not going to die, because you were alive for nine months in your mother's womb perfectly well. In fact, scientists say that during the nine months in the mother's womb the child grows more, faster, than he will grow in his whole life of seventy years. He passes through so many phases; he passes through almost all the phases humanity has passed through. At a certain moment he looks like a monkey in the mother's womb. Earlier than that, he looks like a fish.
It is now almost an agreed idea that man was born in the ocean as a fish, millions of years ago. All those millions of years, the child passes through in days. From the fish to the monkey is a long way; from the monkey to man is also not a short way.
In nine months he moves exactly, step by step, as the whole humanity has moved. He repeats the whole history. So it is absolutely clear that the way he grows in the mother's womb... the speed is phenomenal. He will not grow that fast in a lifetime of seventy years. In fact, in those seventy years he will simply grow old. He will become less and less alive. In those seventy years he is moving towards his grave. He is not growing up, he is going down - down the drain. So there is no need to be afraid of being reborn.
I can assure you only of one thing: there is no question of belief. You can see the point yourself, that without being a Christian, without being a Jew, without being a Hindu, without being a communist, you were perfectly alive and kicking.
In that innocence you have known the most wonderful experience ever.
Sigmund Freud has many beautiful insights. One of his insights is that everybody on the earth has some idea of a paradise. There is no culture, no civilization in the past, in the present, which has not had some kind of idea about a paradise. From where does this idea come?
Sigmund Freud's insight is that this idea comes from the womb of the mother. Those nine months were of tremendous comfort, of absolute luxury. You had no responsibility, no burden on your head; you had no duty. You were not doing anything at all except living - and living alone! You were so full of life that there was no need for someone else to fulfill you.
Those nine months in the mother's womb you have forgotten consciously, but your unconscious remembers them. In deep hypnosis you can be made to remember that experience. That unconscious experience of the most beautiful life for nine months is the reason that people are searching for a paradise - the paradise they have lost.
That is the basic root of the story of Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden of God. That story is not a historical truth, but it has a psychological insight. And around the world, in every religion, there is something similar to it: that there was a day when you lost contact with all that is beautiful, glorious. The story is simply symbolic. The child leaving the womb of the mother is really being thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
Now begins a tedious journey - from the very beginning, painful. As he opens his eyes.... His eyes are very delicate: for nine months he has lived in darkness. There was no need for him to open his eyes, or even if he had opened them there was nothing to see. Now he opens his eyes - glaring lights; he starts being hurt.
In the mother's womb he was not breathing for himself, it was the mother who was breathing for him.
Even that much responsibility was not placed on him, that he has to breath for himself.
Thrown out of that beautiful space, he gets his first experience of the world. The doctor hangs him upside down, and hits him on his buttocks. A strange reception! And the child has no idea what is going to happen now. He is so small, everybody is so big. And this nazi behavior of the doctors....
Something better can be found. It is barbarous - of course it is done with all good intentions.
The doctor does it for two reasons. One, he hangs him upside down so any mucus that is inside his breathing passage comes out. Because he has not been breathing in his mother's womb, there is mucus filling the tube that he has to use now. But in a scientific age we can find a better way to take the mucus out; it should not be done the way it is done. We have vacuum cleaners. Can't we manage some vacuum cleaner for the poor child that takes out the mucus?
And secondly, as the child is born, the cord that joins him with his mother's womb is immediately cut. It is a shock, the greatest shock of your life, to be cut from your life source. You will have many shocks in the future, life will give you many troubles; but the child - who has known no shock, no trouble - is really hurt. It is almost murderous to cut the cord that joins him with the mother.
But the doctor does it with all good intentions - because if the cord is not cut the child may not learn how to breathe. But that is not a fact; the doctors have been in an unnecessary hurry. If the child is left on the mother's belly - he was inside the belly for nine months - if he is left again on the mother's belly... just two minutes are needed. But to the doctor even two minutes seem to be too long. And he has to deliver many other children; it is simply his profession.
Just after two minutes, resting on his mother's belly, the child starts breathing on his own. A little patience.... but who is patient? And after the child has started breathing on his own, then you can cut the cord and it will not be a shock. He has become an individual on his own.
The child should be given birth to in a very dim light - soft, soothing. And as soon as the child is able to breath on his own, the first thing should be to put him in a hot water tub because he has been, in his mother's womb, floating in warm water that is constituted of exactly the same chemicals as sea water.
So man has come millions of years away from his first ancestors who were born in the ocean, but basically nothing has changed. Every child is born in the ocean even now. And women who have known pregnancy will be aware that when they are pregnant, suddenly they start hankering to eat salty things, because the child needs water as salty as the ocean.
So just a small, warm, salt-water bath, and the child will not feel shocked, will not feel expelled. The story of Adam and Eve will become absurd. The child will feel welcomed, entering a vast world of exploration. He will feel freedom from a confined space. And that kind of child will not be desirous of any paradise; his life will be a paradise. He will not hanker for and desire something after death because he lost something at birth which can be attained again only after death.
Why do your religions say that paradise is after death? It is simple - because your paradise was before birth. It is appealing, logical.
I want you to remember that you have existed for nine months with great energy, growing tremendously - with such speed that in nine months you passed through millions of years. And you had no political ideology, you had no religious theology. You had not even a name. Nameless, religionless, without politics you have existed. So there is no need to fear.
I can only make it clear to you that there is no need to fear. You can drop all that has been added to you after birth, still you will be living - not only living, but living abundantly. You need not wait for death. You can give death to your personality now, and be reborn.
That's exactly what enlightenment is: the personality dies and the individuality which was repressed by the personality starts growing, flowering.
But your question raises one more question. Listening to me, or reading about the idea of enlightenment, you start being greedy for it. That's where you miss from the very beginning. You say, "I want to be enlightened." Wanting is a barrier. Who is this "I" that wants to be enlightened?
This "I" is your very ego, which is preventing you from being enlightened. Now this "I" which was trying to become a great leader of men, the richest person in the world, the most powerful president - of America or the Soviet Union - the same "I" gets a new idea to become even bigger than all these presidents and all these rich people - enlightenment. The ego says, "Great! I want to be enlightened." The ego cannot be enlightened, just as darkness can not become light.
Listening to me, or getting the idea from somewhere else, remember: you cannot want to be enlightened. You can be enlightened, but you cannot want it, you cannot desire it. It is not some commodity that you can purchase. It is not some country that you can invade. It is not there - outside - that you can approach and find it. Enlightenment is the name of an inner experience in which both are involved: death of the personality and rebirth of the individuality.
The people in the monasteries around the world are desiring to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be liberated - so many words for the same experience. But they are just being stupid. They are, in fact, by desiring enlightenment, making enlightenment a commodity in the market.
Enlightenment is not something to be desired.
Then what has one to do? One has to understand one's personality, layer by layer. Forget all about enlightenment, it has nothing to do with you. One thing is certain: you cannot be enlightened. Begin with what you are.
Just as one peels an onion, peel your personality, layer by layer. Go on throwing those layers.
New layers will be there, but finally a moment comes when the onion disappears and there is only emptiness in your hands. That moment is the moment of enlightenment. You cannot desire it, because desire adds another layer to your onion - and a far more dangerous layer than any other layer.
Becoming a president is not such a big thing, any idiot can do it. In fact, idiots are doing it all around the world. Who else is interested in becoming a president or a prime minister? I have never seen any man of wisdom trying to become the president, the premier.
Have you observed a strange fact, that in the past there have been a few kings who became enlightened? Ashoka in India became enlightened. He was one of the greatest emperors in the world - in fact, India has never been that big since him. Parts of India went on being invaded, becoming new countries. Today India is only one-third of what it was in Ashoka's empire.
There have been other emperors in China, in Japan, in Greece who have become enlightened. An emperor is not one who has desired to become an emperor. Just as somebody is born a beggar, he is born an emperor. He takes it for granted; it does not become a layer of greed around his onion.
But we have never heard of any president, any prime minister becoming enlightened. It sounds strange, but the reason is clear. Presidents are not born, they have to struggle for it, they have to lie and promise - knowing perfectly well that these promises cannot be fulfilled. They have to be diplomatic, they can't say what they want. They go on saying things, and they are never going to do them. The politician has to be very cunning.
No politician has been known to become enlightened, for the simple reason that in a democratic world, where monarchy has disappeared, to be the head of the state is one of the greatest desires of the ego. But the desire for enlightenment is the ultimate desire; you cannot desire anything bigger than that. You have asked for the ultimate bliss, you have asked for the ultimate existential wisdom.
Don't make enlightenment a desire; otherwise you will go on missing. What I suggest to you is, forget about enlightenment. It has nothing to do with you, you will never see it; it happens when you are not. When you have peeled the onion completely, when your ego evaporates, it is there. But you cannot say, "I have become enlightened." The "I" is no more there - enlightenment is there.
The fear is natural, because you have to drop your whole personality, and that's all you have got right now. You don't know there is something behind it. You want to gain more, and I am saying to you to lose everything that makes you. That's the fear. If you listen to the fear, then there is no hope.
But in fact, what have you got? Anxiety, anguish, boredom, despair, failure - thousands of complexes. This is your whole treasure. Just look at it! What is the fear in dropping this treasury, in getting rid of your anxiety, throwing away your boredom?
But things are really complicated. Why are you bored? And why can't you get rid of it? There must be some vested interest in it. You are bored with your wife or your husband. Every wife and every husband are bound to come to a point when they are fed up with each other, bored. But there is a complication. You cannot just say goodbye to your wife. You have got children, you both love them, you don't want to leave those children. There is going to be a fight in a court over who is to have the children; both can't have them.
You have a certain prestige in the society. People think you are one of the model couples because they see you always showing love to each other. When you leave for the office you kiss your wife, when you come from the office you kiss your wife - as a ritual. Neither you mean anything nor she means anything, and you both know it. And while you are kissing your wife you are saying within yourself, "To hell with all this!"
But the people don't hear what you are saying within yourself. They just see. "Thirty years of marriage, and still they are so loving, as if on their car the board is still hanging: Just married. Their honeymoon seems to be becoming longer and longer - thirty years of honeymoon!" There is no end to it. When you go in the society you pretend; you have to keep people's idea of you as the best couple. These are your investments.
Perhaps you are rich because you married a rich woman. If you drop her you will be a beggar again; you don't want to do that. Perhaps you got a good employment because of your wife's good looks - it is a very strange world - or your wife's relations, influence. You may lose the job if you drop your wife.
So how to drop the boredom? - the boredom is connected with so many investments. It needs courage, great courage. And I would like to say to you that it is better to be a beggar but without boredom, far better than to be an emperor and bored, because boredom is spiritual begging. And it never comes alone. If you are bored there will be despair, there will be anxiety, a continuous tension in the mind: What to do? You have to go on living with a woman or a man you would like to kill - and you have to kiss them.
To drop boredom means to take a revolutionary step, whatever the cost; you are not going to drag through your life as a bored man, because what is the point of living? And you will see all around the world, everybody is bored. Somebody is bored with his work, his job. He never wanted to be a doctor, but his parents forced him to be a doctor because it is respectable, profit-making. You make the profit, you get the respect, and still you are called a great public servant, because you are serving humanity. It is really great!
Your parents forced you to become a doctor. You hate it, you never wanted it; you wanted to become a painter. But nobody listened to you, they said, "You are crazy. If you want to be a painter you will die as a beggar on the street. Forget all about this nonsense. When one is young all kinds of romantic ideas come into the mind. Cool down, boy. We also have seen younger days, and we have also dreamed of great things, but now we know that all those romantic ideas are just a passing phase. If we allow you to become a painter, you will never forgive us! We cannot allow you to be a painter."
You want to be a musician, a dancer, a sculptor, but nobody is going to support you. You wanted to be a dancer and you have become a businessman; you are bored with it. You really want one day to hang yourself from a tree and be finished with it all. But that too you cannot do because there is so much to do - you have to fill in your tax return forms, and the tax department is after you.... You don't have time to hang yourself.
So many things are unfinished around you. First you have to finish everything, then go and hang yourself. But things will always remain unfinished. And the idea of hanging yourself gives a little relaxation, gives a certain pleasure that whatsoever the situation, there is always one exit: you can always hang yourself. So what is the hurry? And who knows? Tomorrow things may change, you may find the right woman.
There is no right woman, no right man, nobody has ever found one. But the fantasy of finding the right man, the right woman.... Every couple, when they fall in love for the first time, think they are made for each other: this is the woman he has dreamed of always. This is what the man, the woman, has been always thinking of, desiring. But by the time the honeymoon is over you know that you are caught with a wrong person; you are not made for each other.
But you go on fantasizing, "Perhaps some other woman?" - because the world is so full of women, so full of men. This time you missed, next time....
One of my friends got married three times. It is difficult in India to get a divorce. Almost his whole life was wasted; women were the trouble. The law is not easy, but somehow he managed, because in India you can somehow manage everything. All that is needed is money, and he had money. You can bribe everybody. It is a national tradition and not new, very ancient.
Indians have been bribing God, so what do they care about bribing a clerk or a judge? When the Indian goes to the temple and says to his god, "If I win this lottery, I will present you with sweets worth five rupees" or "I will give a feast to eleven brahmins," what is this? And the lottery is one million rupees; with five rupees he is trying to get one million rupees! And for centuries Indians have been bribing God; it is their heritage. Nobody feels bad about it.
You can give a bribe to anybody - neither you feel bad about it nor he feels bad about it, because he is doing you work. It is almost payment for the work. And he is doing work which is far costlier than the bribe you are giving him. You manage everything. You can murder, and you will be released respectfully by the court; all that you need is money.
So one goes on thinking that tomorrow may be different. My friend changed wives three times, and he was always telling me, "This time I am not going to fall for a woman like the one I am getting rid of. She is a real bitch!"
And I told him, "You will always fall in love with a real bitch."
He said, "This is strange. You go on insisting, and the wonder is that you are always right! The next woman proved as bitchy as the first, the third woman proved as bitchy as the others. How do you predict?"
I said, "I don't predict, I am not an astrologer. I simply know you; what kind of woman will be appealing to you, that I know. Why had you fallen for the first woman? Have you thought, analyzed, what qualities of that woman have attracted you? And who is going to find the second woman for you? You will, again, and you will again be attracted to the same things.
"You have not changed, your attractions have not changed. You have never bothered that you are responsible for having chosen that woman. That's why three times you have got the same kind of commodity... again and again and again. It is not a question of divorce, it is not a question of changing women; it is a question of changing your mind."
But people always try to dump things on others. You are in anxiety because your children are becoming hippies. Your girl is taking dope, your boy is doing everything that is wrong - long hair, beard, drugs, and he has dropped out of the university. You are in anxiety: What is going to happen?
You are dumping your anxiety on the girl, on the boy, on the wife - anybody will do.
Do you think if your boy was going perfectly straight, your girl was not getting pregnant before marriage, if they were not on drugs do you think you would have been without anxiety? I know many people whose daughters are following whatsoever they say, whose sons are doing their education the way the parents want - still they have anxiety over something else. They will find some other object to become worried about.
If you have children you are worried about your children. If you don't have children you are worried why God has not given you children. It seems to be really a zoo of all kinds of animals, this world of ours.
Dropping the layers of your ego means that you are ready to commit a psychological suicide. I call it sannyas just to give it a good name, because if I call it suicide you will be more frightened. You have come here to be enlightened, not to commit suicide. But the reality is that unless you commit suicide there is no enlightenment. People want enlightenment, and they don't want to drop anything, to lose anything.
The day I said, "Before I leave the world I would like to give my sannyasins rainbow-colored robes, there should be no need by that time for my sannyasins to wear red clothes" - immediately, the next day, people started reaching the commune's office, saying, "We want sannyas, but we are not going to use red clothes, nor are we going to use the mala. Give us sannyas. Bhagwan has said already that the red clothes or the mala are not sannyas."
My secretary came to me and asked, "What to do? You go on creating trouble for us. In the first place, from where are we to get rainbow dresses? And people are understanding according to their mind. They are understanding that all the colors of the rainbow can be used - somebody in red, somebody in blue, somebody in green - the commune will be using all the colors. They have not understood what you were saying." I was absolutely clear, but you managed to understand what you wanted.
I received a few letters: "We are thinking of taking sannyas, but your idea of a rainbow-colored dress made us frightened, because in the past only buffoons, jokers in the circus, have used rainbow dresses. We don't want to become laughingstocks. Red is perfectly good."
I told my secretary, "Tell these people, 'Then why are you waiting, if red is perfectly good?'" It became good in comparison to the rainbow robe. It is not good in comparison to ordinary clothes that people wear, because in red clothes you will immediately attract attention, discrimination. People will not feel at ease with you. They will be hostile to you.
I have asked my sannyasins to be in red clothes, with the mala, with the locket of my picture, just to see whether you can gather a little courage or not. If even this much courage is not possible then you cannot commit suicide, you cannot drop your ego.
You want enlightenment as you are. Now, that is impossible. You will have to chop out many things which have become almost identical with yourself. And that's what I am doing continuously - hitting, hammering, shocking you. And I will go on doing everything possible that can shock you, hurt you, wound you because I want you to become aware that it is your ego that gets wounded, it is your ego that gets hurt.
Just the other day I was saying I am going to start smoking Havana cigars while delivering the religious, spiritual discourse. Now many camels will start moving towards Santa Fe. "What kind of a master smokes Havana cigars?" Do you think you are going away because of my Havana cigars?
No. It hurts your ego. You wanted a master nobody can say anything against. You wanted to be a disciple of a great master who has extraordinary powers, who changes water into wine.
I also do miracles - I change wine into water. So if you see me drinking champagne, don't be worried. The moment I touch it, it is water. But champagne by my side, and the camels will get troubled, will start looking at the map - where is Santa Fe? All the camels are going towards Santa Fe.
It is not my champagne, it is not my Havana cigars, it is not anything to do with me - it is your ego.
This is a great conspiracy that has been going on between the disciples and the so-called masters all through history. The disciple feels his ego fulfilled because he has found the right master, who does not smoke Havana cigars, does not drink champagne. Both are controlling each other.
The master cannot do anything against the expectations of the disciples, because then he will lose disciples, and with fewer disciples you are a smaller master. It is a question of numbers; with more disciples you are a bigger master. A great number of disciples, and you are the greatest master in the world.
So he cannot lose camels; even if the camels never change, he is not going to do anything that will make the numbers become less. It is a politics of numbers. And, of course, because he fasts, he can force his disciples to fast.
I cannot. I do not fast. In fact, I cannot go to sleep in the night unless I have eaten Indian sweets - against my doctors' advice. I have told them, "It is your business to figure it out. Diabetes I give to you, you figure it out." But I cannot go to sleep.... My grandmother used to keep the sweets that I liked by my bedside, because in the middle of the night I might wake up. Then to go to sleep again needs sweets; otherwise I cannot.
You want a master who fulfills your ego, but you don't know - the man who fulfills your ego, who is in tune with your expectations, is your enemy; he is not your master. The sooner you get rid of such a man, the better. But no, if a master goes on a fast for twenty-one days every year he will gather many people around him who will say, "This is the man. It is worth being a disciple of this man." And what has he done? He has just been hungry, starving, for twenty-one days.
Why don't you go to Ethiopia? You will find great masters who are fasting unto death - not twenty- one days, because nobody dies after twenty-one days of fasting. It takes ninety days for a man to die by fasting.
But you are not aware of the conspiracy. The man who fasts for twenty-one days becomes authoritative, more powerful than you. He demands that you at least fast for three days, and you cannot say to him that he is asking too much. He is fasting for twenty-one days, and he asks you only to fast for three days. He is perfectly authorized to ask it. He is celibate, he asks you to be celibate. He eats only one time a day, he demands you also eat one time a day.
Do you see the mutual conspiracy? You feel you are the disciple of a great master - of course you are a great disciple as a consequence: a simple arithmetic. Great masters have only great disciples, but those masters are fulfilling their egos, and they are fulfilling your egos. No transformation is possible in such a conspiracy.
I don't give you any discipline. I don't command you to do certain things and not to do certain things, for the simple reason... who am I? I have no authority over you.
I look at you as my friends. If you think about me as your master, that is your generosity. But it is not required by me. This way I remain free from your expectations, and I keep you free from my expectations. In this way I am not trying to fulfill my ego, and I am trying in every possible way to destroy your ego the way I destroyed mine.
It is a difficult task. Fear is bound to be there, but to act according to your fear is to degrade yourself even from camelhood. You become a monkey, or a donkey, or finally a Yankee. Perhaps you are there already, at the stage called Yankee.
I will accept you at any stage. I will not demand that you become something else, something more, something bigger, something holier, something spiritual. No, all those are games of the same ego we want to get rid of.
Don't follow your fear instinct, because that is going to make you a coward. It degrades your humanity. It is a humiliation imposed by yourself. Whenever you see some fear, go against it!
A simple criterion: whenever you see there is fear, go against it and you will be always moving, growing, expanding, coming closer to the moment when ego simply drops - because its whole functioning is through fear. And the absence of the ego is enlightenment; it is not something plus.
Enlightenment is not something plus added to you. Enlightenment is you completely one.
It is minus phenomenon; you are no longer there. It does not happen to you, it happens when you are no longer hindering it, when you are not. That's why I call enlightenment a psychological suicide.