The ego is not a shadow of the self, because in even being a shadow it will have a certain reality, a certain connection with the real self. It is not a distortion of the real self either, because the self cannot be distorted; there is no possibility of that.
The ego is simply false, a substitute created by society to give you a feeling that you have a center, that you have a self, that there is no need for any search - you have already got it. To prevent you from reaching the real self, this is the most cunning device. It is completely made up - from the very beginning, the child is being fed with things which will make its ego. They will appreciate you, they will say you are beautiful, you are good, you are nice - but only when you don't assert your real self.
You are obedient.
That word is very central in creating the ego. Obedience means that whatever your parents are saying you have to listen, to follow; you are not to listen to any voice that is coming from your own being. In the beginning that voice is there; till the ego is strong enough you continue listening to your inner voice.
Obedience is the method to kill your inner voice. Hence all the societies, all educational systems, all religions praise obedience.
The biblical story in this reference has to be remembered: Adam and Eve are not punished because they have eaten the fruit of a tree; they are punished because they have disobeyed. They did not listen to God, they listened to some other voice. This is their great sin, the only sin. And they are thrown back out of the garden of Eden for a simple thing - that they have disobeyed. It seems that people have not paid enough attention to how all the religions depend on obedience.
They may call it different names - belief, surrender, trust, faith - but look into all these words: they are simply saying one thing, that you have to follow the dictates which God has given. And they have the holy book and they have the messiah and they have the prophet; now you need not listen to any voice - particularly your inner voice. That will be again committing the same sin.
The story uses the serpent to persuade Eve, but that is just a metaphorical way of saying it. The reality is that because God has prohibited them from eating from the tree of knowledge, he has already created a great curiosity in Adam and Eve. He could have created it in any children - there was no need of any serpent.
And this is the religious condemnation of woman. They never forget that the woman should be condemned. In every story, in every holy scripture, it is the woman who hears it - the serpent talks to the woman. But to me it has a great psychological significance: the woman can hear the inner voice more easily than the man, for the simple reason that she is not too hung up in her head. She still lives in her heart. It is not a condemnation of the woman, it is really a compliment - she has more capacity for inner growth than the man; she can hear her heartbeats more clearly than the man can.
But a strange thing is that all the religions are founded by men - a woman is not respectable enough to found a religion. And when a man founds a religion, it is going to be intellectual; it cannot be of the heart.
There is a beautiful story I have always loved.... One of the great women of the world was Meera.
She was only four or five years old when there was a great procession, a marriage procession. She asked her mother, "What is happening?" The mother explained, and the little girl said, "When will I be married?"
The mother said, "These are not questions to be asked! You are too small."
Meera said, "I may be too small but I have already fallen in love."
The mother said, "What do you mean?"
She said, "In the temple, when I go with you - the statue of Krishna is so beautiful. I have fallen in love with that statue; so whenever you want me to be married, marry me to that statue."
The mother said, "You are just mad! Just go out and play." She did not take it seriously.
Meera belonged to a royal family. She finally married into another royal family, but she did not forget to take a small statue of Krishna with her.
The man she was married to must have been a very compassionate man. The first night, when he was going to meet his wife, he heard her talking, so he looked in through the window. She was sitting before the statue of Krishna and saying to him, "My lord, so finally I got married to you!"
It was a shock. Meera was an immensely beautiful woman... but the husband was certainly of great understanding. He turned back, he did not go into the room - Meera remained a virgin. And just to avoid embarrassment, he went to war as the commander in chief. He won the war, but he died in it.
Meera left the house with the statue, singing and dancing in the streets. People thought she had become mad because of the death of her husband. But she would show the statue to them: "My husband cannot die, my husband is always with me. And the one who has died, he was never my husband."
She became famous. I don't think anybody has sung such beautiful songs, danced so beautifully, so ecstatically.
She reached the birthplace of Krishna.... And that is the point I want to be emphasized: at the birthplace of Krishna there is the biggest Krishna temple in India. The priest of the temple had taken the vow of celibacy, so no woman was allowed in the temple.
A guard was standing there with a naked sword to prevent women. But when Meera came dancing, ecstatic, he forgot why he was standing there, and she entered the temple. She was the first woman to enter the temple in the forty years since that man had become the priest.
The priest was worshipping Krishna. He could not believe his eyes; the things he was holding in his hands for worship fell on the ground. He was really angry. He said, "Woman, you have some nerve!
Everybody knows - nobody who is not a man can enter this temple. You have destroyed my forty years' austerity!"
And Meera laughed, and she said, "I was thinking there is only one man, and that is Krishna, and we are all his lovers; we are all women. I am glad to see that there is another man also in the world!"
The way she said it just penetrated the man's very heart. He fell at her feet to be forgiven. He said, "I have never thought about this - what I said is simply absurd. Only Krishna, only God, is the man - we are all his lovers; naturally we are all women. You are right and I was wrong."
Meera's saying that only the woman has a heart-to-heart contact with the divine is of great importance.
But all the religions are founded by men. They are great intellectuals, philosophers, theologians; they spin great, complicated theories - but nothing in them gives the sense that they have experienced.
They are only thinking, they are not living.
To think is a very superficial thing:
To live is the deepest.
And love is the way to go deeper into it.
But the man-dominated world has made everything heartless, stony. They can be of great use if they use their intellect only for the objective world, and leave the subjective world to be led by women.
So this is what I take from the story of Adam and Eve. I don't think it is an insult. It was intended that way: man is such an intellectual giant that the serpent will not be able to persuade him, the woman can be easily persuaded. And once the serpent persuades the woman, then the woman can persuade the man. But to me it is a compliment that the woman was the first to disobey.
To me, disobedience is the beginning of destroying the ego. Obedience is the matter ego is made of. The parents will say, "Obey," and whoever obeys is appreciated.
In my family there were so many children. My father had brothers and sisters, and most of the sisters used to come and visit with their children, and uncles were living together, so it was a big, fifty-member family. And they were always praising someone or other.
I told my grandfather, "Sometimes you have to praise me too."
He said, "You? For what?"
I said, "For my disobedience. You praise these children because they obey you. Indirectly you are simply praising yourself. If you have the guts to praise, praise me, because I disobey you. And on any point where I have disobeyed you, I am ready to argue that I was right and you were not."
He said, "This is strange! This is the first time I have heard somebody asking to be appreciated for his disobedience."
I said, "If there had been many people of the same type I am, the world would have been different.
It is these obedient puppets who have created a phony world. And these puppets will create other puppets; and generation after generation the same spiritual slavery continues. You give it a good name - obedience - but it is spiritual slavery."
Disobedience is the assertion of individuality.
Disobedience is the beginning of rebellion.
The same is the situation in the schools; from the kindergarten to the university it is obedience that is continuously hammered into your minds. And it pays, too.
If you are obedient to a certain teacher, professor, you can trust that he will help you. He will give you a higher percentage for being present. If he has the paper in his hand, he may reveal the contents of it to you. If he is going to be the examiner of the paper, he will give you higher marks than anybody else - because you have been obedient.
And this is the way that your ego is indirectly being created. In the army, obedience becomes the absolute thing. In political parties obedience becomes absolutely important. Wherever you look, your whole world is moving around a single word: obedience.
In one of my colleges, even the professor called me into his private room, and told me, "You are intelligent - you could come first in the whole department, but you will not."
I said, "Why?"
He said, "Because you are continuously being disobedient - not only to me but to all the staff members."
I said, "I would prefer to fail, but I cannot obey anything against my intelligence. And in the long run, I tell you that your obedient people will be lost in the crowd."
He said, "I can understand your standpoint, but you are not practical."
I said, "Because of this practicality you have destroyed all that is beautiful but non-utilitarian. Love is not practical, nor is intelligence practical. And all that is practical is absolutely mundane. At least I cannot be practical at the cost of losing my being. To me that will be committing suicide."
He was a good man. He said, "I will try to help you in every way, but what can I do about others?"
I said, "Don't be worried. If I can convince one man of your caliber" - he was the head of the department - "I will try to convince those people also. And to me it is not a question of bargaining, of compromising; it is not a business. I am not for sale. I can still maintain myself without all your education; in fact I will never use your education. But I cannot breathe a single breath if I feel that I have been against my own self, if for something small, I have betrayed my own being."
Up to my graduation I could never get a first class, and everybody was puzzled, the principals were puzzled: "What is the matter? Why are you not getting a first class?"
I said, "It is not a question of my first class; I am not getting first-class teachers - they are all third- rate. They want to reward their puppets - and I am nobody's puppet. They are all irritated with me, angry with me, and the examination is the only time when they can take revenge."
It was only for my master's degree that I could top the university, because my vice-chancellor was absolutely in agreement with me. The head of my department was absolutely in favor of me, and my other three teachers supported me in every way. They said, "It is a rare opportunity to find a person who wants to remain himself. We will help you."
One of my professors, Professor S.S. Roy gave me ninety-nine percent marks out of one hundred.
He called me in, showed me the results, and he said, "Please forgive me - I wanted to give you one hundred percent, but that would look like too much of a favor.
"I am sad that I am cutting off one mark just to say that I am not giving you any favor - you deserve it - but I wanted to ask your forgiveness because I am feeling guilty. You have done such a great job on the paper. Perhaps somebody else may not have given you even third-class marks, because to understand it needs great intelligence."
There was a question whether the absolute god is perfect or not - naturally, God has to be perfect.
Two of the persons in the history of philosophy - Shankara in India and Bradley in England - have worked on the idea very deeply, and both have come to the conclusion that the absolute, the ultimate, or whatever name you give to it, is perfect. And Professor S.S. Roy's doctorate was on Shankara and Bradley, so he was deeply interested in the question.
In my paper I said, "The absolute cannot be perfect for the simple reason that if he is perfect then he must be dead: perfection means death. He cannot grow, he has nothing else to do. There is no point in being. Perfection simply means death - and I don't want existence to be dead. And it is not dead, you can see all around: it is so living, so intensively alive, that I am ready to say that the ultimate, the absolute is imperfect because it is alive, it is growing. And it will remain always imperfect... moving towards perfection but never reaching it."
Only this much was the answer - just a few lines. And S.S. Roy said, "You have destroyed my whole thesis! This is the first time I have thought in this way, because I was thinking in the terms of Shankara and Bradley, and they had impressed me so much that I never thought on my own."
The moment you think on your own, you come very close to truth.
All the religions teach, "Think according to Jesus, think according to Moses, think according to Krishna, think according to Mahavira." No religion teaches you to think according to yourself. Theirs is the way of creating the ego.
Ego is not a shadow, ego is not a distortion; it is a separate entity - artificial, but created with such great ingenuity that it takes the place of the real. It covers the real, and befools almost everyone: "I am the real."
And the real remains silent; the reality is silent.
Unless you destroy this structure around the real, you will not be able to understand its silence, its sensitivity, its intelligence.
And that is my work. I call it deprogramming. I want to deprogram the whole ego structure and leave you alone with yourself - wild, natural, in absolute freedom.
And that is true life.
It is true.
I am not surrendered to you, to my people particularly. But because I have got rid of the ego, I am simply surrendered to the whole of existence - and you are part of it. So it can be felt that I am more surrendered to you than you are to me.
It is a truth. But it should be so. I should be more loving to you than you can be to me. I should be more understanding towards you than you can be towards me. In every sphere you are still growing, still finding the way, struggling with all the nonsense that has been forced upon you. And I am free of it. So my love will be purer than yours, my trust will be greater than yours.
It looks very absurd - that's why the question has arisen - because the disciple should surrender to the master, not the master to the disciple. The disciple should trust the master, not the master trust the disciple. But these things must have been said by people who were not masters; otherwise the master is in a state of surrender - it does not matter to whom.
The master is in a state of love - it does not matter to whom.
The master is simply a pure understanding.
You are searching for it - he has found it.
But there is no need to feel any guilt that you are not more surrendered, that you are not more trusting. It is a natural thing; there is no question of guilt.
In my life I have trusted so many people, and so many people have deceived me. But my trust is the same. It is not that their deception has made me withdraw my trust in humanity. Even if the whole humanity deceives me, then too, I will be in a state of trust.
It has nothing to do with the person who deceives; that is his problem. And I don't have any condemnation either: he did what he could, and I am doing what I can. So do not even for a moment feel guilty that you are not up to standard.
You will be able to surrender to the master in the same way as the master has surrendered only when you become the master - not before that. And that is the only thing every authentic master wants - that every disciple of his becomes a master and brings all his uniqueness and all his flavor to the phenomenon.
First, these stories are not historical; these stories are our desires for how things should be. They are our hopes, our dreams, our utopias, that the man of power should seek advice from the man of wisdom. But it has never happened. Even in stories which seem to be historical it was not true.
For example, there were great kings who used to come to Gautam Buddha for advice. But nowhere in any scriptures is it mentioned that they followed that advice; so it was really a strategy to gain more power over the people - the people who loved Gautam Buddha. The king comes to Gautam Buddha's feet, touches his feet, offers his presents, sits with folded hands and asks Buddha's advice.... It is a strategy, it is pure politics.
He is not concerned with what Buddha is saying. He is concerned with what impression he is creating on the masses, because these masses have to be kept under his power. And if they see that their king is not only a political head but a man of wisdom, humble, then there is no possibility of revolution. There is no possibility of the people becoming antagonistic to the king, because then that would be becoming antagonistic to Gautam Buddha.
So there are stories in the past when kings have come to people of wisdom - but nowhere is it mentioned that the kings ever followed what they said. And the same thing is being done today.
Tomorrow it will become a story, and then you will think....
For example, Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India, wanted to come to me. At least five times she made appointments, and each appointment was canceled just one day before because of an emergency; she had to go somewhere. But this was not true, because after Indira had lost her power, her secretary came to visit the ashram.
She said, "It was not true. There was no emergency that meant she had to cancel the appointment.
The reality is that to come to Osho is to take a risk, a political risk. Osho has no power over the masses. Hindus are against him, Mohammedans are against him, Jainas are against him, Christians are against him. To go to him can be dangerous; all these people can drop out of Indira's camp.
"Indira really wanted to come, so she again made an appointment - but again, the same problem.
Her cabinet did not allow her to reach you. And now that she is no longer in power, I was thinking, 'Now she can come.' But now a new problem has arisen. Now to come to you is even more dangerous because to come back to power she needs the support of the people you are continuously condemning."
She came to Poona. Laxmi went to see her, and Indira told her, "There are so many appointments that it will be difficult to come."
Laxmi said, "I have not come to ask you for an appointment, but because you were so eager - and five times you have decided to come - I thought perhaps that now you are in Poona and the distance is only five minutes.... But we are not asking you to come; if you want to come, you can come."
She said, "It is very difficult, Laxmi. The time is too short and there are too many engagements."
And then she went to Kolhapur, which was three hours away, to see the head of the Hindus, the shankaracharya, just to touch his feet - because this shankaracharya.... Hindus have eight shankaracharyas for the eight directions, one for each. This shankaracharya was from the south, where Indira was going to fight a by-election to enter parliament, so he was immensely important.
And thousands of South Indians were in Kolhapur just to have a darshan with the shankaracharya.
She was not interested in the shankaracharya, she was interested in the masses seeing that she is a religious woman, spiritual: that even though she has been such a powerful figure, she touches the feet of the shankaracharya. And she remained there for one hour.
The shankaracharya was in silence so he would not speak. But still she remained there for one hour so that thousands of people who were coming to touch his feet could see her sitting; photographs could be taken, publicity could be made....
Three hours going, three hours coming, one hour sitting: seven hours she took to meet the shankaracharya. In history it will be said that she was a woman who had power, but she always sought wisdom from wise people.
Now, both things are suspicious: first, whether she got any wisdom or exploited the wise people; and secondly, whether these wise people were really wise, or they were also just a different kind of power head.... They have their own power.
And you will be surprised to know that the shankaracharya had taken the vow of silence for that day only because Indira was coming. So he did not have to make any statement that might go wrong.
Because Indira would ask for a blessing: she was standing for election in his own constituency. If he did not give the blessing and she came into power, that would be dangerous. If he gave his blessings and she did not become victorious, then people would think his blessings were impotent, meaningless.
While she was fighting for the election, Indira went to all the great, famous temples of India, to all the great saints of India. And I was the only man who blessed her - and she had not come. I was the only public man who openly blessed her - that she should win the election, that she was needed by the country, that not only should she try for the election, but once she was in parliament she should try to get back as the prime minister... because Morarji Desai had proved that he was absolutely useless.
None of the saints she had gone to said anything, made any statement. I was the only man who made a statement. And she had not come to me. She told her secretary, "Osho is really a courageous man, and I would like to thank him. But publicly I cannot do it. Thinking of him and myself, I feel so small."
The secretary came because she belonged to Poona. She told Laxmi that Indira had felt deeply hurt that she had gone all over India, and even Vinoba Bhave - who was her political master - was also silent when she came, just not to have to say anything.
Do you think these people are wise? They are as political as anybody else.
And what wisdom did they give to her?
Only I behaved non-politically, because I understood completely that she wanted to come, but her situation, the people who surrounded her, the people on whom she depended for the election, would not allow her to come. She was almost a prisoner.
But that did not change my attitude. And when nobody had spoken for her - this was so ugly.... I spoke - in the same statement - for Indira, who had no power yet, and against the man who had all the powers.
These folk tales are hopes that one day it may be possible. There is great understanding in them, but it has not happened. And I don't see it ever happening, because the man who is in power has to think of how to remain in power. And the wise man will say only the truth: whether it destroys your power or supports it is not his concern. Most probably it will destroy it, because where can truth and politics meet?
If truth and politics cannot meet, then it is almost hoping against hope that people of power will one day go to the people of wisdom.
Hindus will say that it was happening in ancient India - that when Rama was in any political trouble he would go to Vashishtha, his spiritual teacher. This is true, but the problem is that whenever Vashishtha was in difficulty, he would go to Rama. And as I have looked deeper into their lives, my finding is that Vashishtha was only a missionary who was spreading the gospel that Rama is an incarnation of God - and for this he was paid well.
So what is on the surface is one thing, and what goes on inside is a totally different thing.
Now you can see that President Ronald Reagan goes to the pope - and you think this is power going to wisdom? First you have to decide whether this pope has any wisdom. Secondly you have to decide what motive Ronald Reagan has for going to the pope.
His motive is to turn America into a very fanatic Christian country, for the simple reason that America has been fighting against Russia, and it is a losing battle. Russia has been gaining new lands, new people; America has been losing friends; it has not been gaining new people. Even inside America there are thousands of communists and thousands of communist sympathizers.
One of the problems has been that America has no philosophy against communism. Communism has a great philosophy, with great intellectual arguments, with a great humanitarian background.
America has none. It does not appeal to the intelligent people in the world. All the intelligentsia of the world are impressed by communism, but not by America; so America has been in search of a philosophy.
And this is the effort: if Christianity... because half the world is Christian and half the world is communist - the division is almost equal. If America can become the head and herald of all the Christian masses in the world, then Reagan could have a philosophy, a religion, a two-thousand- year-old tradition and millions of missionaries, monks, nuns and Jesus Christ behind him.
This is the strategy behind his continuing to meet the pope. The whole idea is that if America can stand with Christianity, then America can give a better fight to Russia. But Reagan is wrong.
Christianity has no argument strong enough to encounter communism.
The Christians may have a formal belief in Christ, in THE BIBLE, but it is not of the heart: it is a Sunday religion, a kind of sociality.
Communism is different. If Ronald Reagan really wants... then he should not have destroyed our commune. We would have given the answer, point by point, to every communist argument.
Christianity is old and rotten. To face communism, something is needed which is more contemporary than communism itself. Now communism is one century old; and within this century so much has been discovered that can be counted against communism.
For example, communism is materialism - and now physicists say there is no matter. Matter simply does not exist.
Rather than going back to Christ, Ronald Reagan should have come to me. I could give him the idea that materialism could be thrown out completely, because modern physics has proved experimentally that there is no matter. So materialism has no base to stand on.
Modern psychology has proved that equality is nonsense: no two individuals are equal, so the very idea of all people being equal is not workable. And if you try to work it out then you will have to force people; and every enforcement will be in favor of the lowest.
You cannot make an idiot into an Einstein. Even by forcing him, what can the idiot do? But you can force an Einstein to remain an idiot, or at least not to assert anything beyond the limits of an idiot.
Equality is possible only at the lowest denominator. But that will destroy the whole of humanity and all progress. So my proposal is not equality of all men, but equal opportunity for all men to be unequal, to be unique and to be themselves - equal opportunity to Einstein and to the idiot. The opportunity should not be different. Now it is up to the Einstein where he wants to move.
Something newer than communism itself is needed; something higher than communism itself. But Ronald Reagan will go to the pope, for the simple reason that the pope has six hundred million Catholics.
I don't have; I have millions of enemies around the world. No politician can dare to come near me; if somebody comes to know that he has been to see to me, then his credibility, his respectability is finished. But they don't understand simple historical logic: that Christianity, which is two thousand years old, cannot fight with communism, which is only one hundred years old.
Communism can be fought by something which is absolutely new, against which communism cannot find any argument. But of course a man who brings something absolutely new will not have traditional support; he will not have millions of people and millions of churches. But only such a man has the potential to create the fire that can destroy communism completely.
So there have been politicians, people of power, who have been going to the wise. But that was also a part of their politics. It was not genuine search.
These stories are just hopes, beautiful hopes, which perhaps are never going to be fulfilled.