One of the greatest problems...it will appear very paradoxical, but this is true: before you can lose your ego, you must attain it. Only a ripe fruit falls to the ground.
Ripeness is all. An unripe ego cannot be thrown, cannot be destroyed. And if you struggle with an unripe ego to destroy and dissolve it, the whole effort is going to be a failure. Rather than destroying it, you will find it more strengthened in new subtle ways.
This is something basic to be understood: the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity - only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem.
In the East, all the religions preach egolessness. So in the East, everybody is against the ego from the very beginning. Because of this anti-attitude, ego never becomes strong, never comes to a point of integration from where it can be thrown. It is never ripe. So in the East it is very difficult to dissolve the ego, almost impossible.
In the West, the whole Western tradition of religion and psychology propounds, preaches, persuades people, to have strong egos - because unless you have a strong ego, how can you survive? Life is a struggle; if you are egoless, you will be destroyed. Then who will resist? Who will fight? Who will compete? And life is a continuous competition. Western psychology says: Attain to the ego, be strong in it.
But in the West it is very easy to dissolve the ego. So whenever a Western seeker reaches to an understanding that ego is the problem, he can easily dissolve it, more easily than any Eastern seeker.
This is the paradox: in the West ego is taught; in the East egolessness is taught. But in the West it is easy to dissolve the ego; in the East it is very difficult.
This is going to be a hard task for you, first to attain and then to lose - because you can lose only something which you possess. If you don't possess it, how can you lose it?
You can be poor only if you are rich. If you are not rich your poverty cannot have that beauty which Jesus goes on preaching: Be poor in spirit. Your poverty cannot have that significance which Gautam Buddha has when he becomes a beggar.
Only a rich man can become poor, because you can lose only that which you have. If you have never been rich, how can you be poor? Your poverty will be just on the surface; it can never be in the spirit. On the surface you will be poor, and deep down you will be hankering after riches. Your spirit will hanker towards riches, it will be an ambition, it will be a constant desire to attain riches. Only on the surface will you be poor. And you may even console yourself by saying that poverty is good.
But you cannot be poor - only a rich man, a really rich man, can be poor. Just to have riches is not enough to be really rich. You may still be poor. If the ambition is still there, you are poor.
What you have is not the point. If you have enough then the desire disappears. When you have enough riches, the desire disappears. Disappearance of the desire is the criterion of enoughness.
Then you are rich - you can drop it, you can become poor, you can become a beggar like Buddha.
And then your poverty is rich; then your poverty has a kingdom of its own.
And the same happens with everything. Upanishads or Lao Tzu or Jesus or Buddha - they all teach that knowledge is useless. Just getting more and more knowledgeable is not much help. Not only is it not much help, it can become a barrier.
Knowledge is not needed, but that doesn't mean you should remain ignorant. Your ignorance will not be real. When you have gathered enough knowledge and you throw it, then ignorance is attained.
Then you really become ignorant - like Socrates who can say: I know only one thing, that I don't know anything.
This knowledge, or this ignorance - you can call it whatever you like - is totally different, the quality is different, the dimension has changed.
If you are simply ignorant because you never attained to any knowledge, your ignorance cannot be wise, it cannot be wisdom - it is simply absence of knowledge. And the hankering will be inside:
How to gain more knowledge? How to gain more information?
When you know too much - you have known the scriptures, you have known the past, the tradition, you have known all that can be known - then suddenly you become aware of the futility of it all, suddenly you become aware that this is not knowledge. This is borrowed! This is not your own existential experience, this is not what you have come to know. Others may have known it, you have simply gathered it. Your gathering is mechanical. It has not arisen out of you, it is not a growth. It is just rubbish gathered from other doors, borrowed, dead.
Remember, knowing is alive only when you know, when it is your immediate, direct experience. But when you know from others it is just memory, not knowledge. Memory is dead.
When you gather much - the riches of knowledge, scriptures, all around you, libraries condensed in your mind, and suddenly you become aware that you are just carrying the burden of others, nothing belongs to you, you have not known - then you can drop it, you can drop all this knowledge. In that dropping a new type of ignorance arises within you. This ignorance is not the ignorance of the ignorant, this is how a wise man is, how wisdom is.
Only a wise man can say: I don't know. But in saying: I don't know, he is not hankering after knowledge, he is simply stating a fact. And when you can say with your total heart: I don't know, in that very moment your eyes become open, the doors of knowing are open. In that very moment when you can say with your totality; I don't know, you have become capable of knowledge.
This ignorance is beautiful, but it is attained through knowledge. It is poverty attained through richness. And the same happens with ego - you can lose it if you have it.
When Buddha comes down from his throne, becomes a beggar...what is the necessity for Buddha?
He was a king, enthroned, at the peak of his ego - why this extreme, moving down from his palace to the streets, becoming a beggar? But Buddha has a beauty in his begging. The earth has never known such a beautiful beggar, such a rich beggar, such a kingly beggar, such an emperor.
What happened when he stepped down from his throne? He stepped down from his ego. Thrones are nothing but symbols, symbols of the ego, of power, prestige, status. He stepped down and then egolessness happened.
This egolessness is not humbleness; this egolessness is not humility. You may find many humble people, but under their humility, subtle egos are functioning.
It is said that once Diogenes came to visit Socrates. He lived like a beggar; he always wore dirty clothes with many patches and holes. Even if you presented him with a new dress, he would not use it - first he would make it dirty, old, torn, and then he would use it.
He came to visit Socrates, and he started talking about egolessness. But Socrates' penetrating eyes must have come to realize that this man was not an egoless man. The way he was talking about humility was very egoistic.
Socrates is reported to have said: Through your dirty clothes, through the holes in your clothes, I cannot see anything else but the ego. You talk of humility, but that talk comes from a deep centre of the ego.
This will happen, this is how hypocrisy happens. You have the ego, you hide it through the opposite; you become humble on the surface. This surface humbleness cannot deceive anyone. It may deceive you, but it cannot deceive anyone else. From the holes of the dirty dresses, your ego goes on peeping. It is always there. This is a self-deception and nothing more. Nobody else is deceived.
This happens if you start throwing the unripe ego.
What I teach will look contradictory, but it is true to life. Contradiction is inherent in life. I teach you to be egoists so that you can become egoless. I teach you to be perfect egoists. Don't hide it, otherwise hypocrisy will be born. And don't struggle with the unripe phenomenon. Let it ripen - and help it. Bring it to a peak!
Don't be afraid - there is nothing to be afraid of. This is how you will come to realize the agony of the ego. When it comes to its peak, then you will not need a Buddha or me to tell you that the ego is hell. You will know it, because the peak of the ego will be the peak of your hellish experiences, it will be a nightmare. And then there is no need for anybody to tell you: Drop it! It will be difficult to carry it on.
One reaches to knowledge only through suffering. You cannot throw anything just by logical argument. You can throw something only when it has become so painful that it cannot be carried any further. Your ego has not become that painful yet - hence you carry it. It is natural! I cannot persuade you to drop it. Even if you feel persuaded, you will hide it - that's all.
Nothing unripe can be thrown. Unripe fruit clings to the tree and the tree clings to the unripe fruit. If you force it to separate, a wound is left behind. That scar will continue, the wound will always remain green and you will always feel hurt.
Remember, everything has a time to grow, to be ripe, to fall down into the earth and dissolve. Your ego also has a time. It needs maturity.
So don't be afraid of being egoists. You ARE, otherwise you would have disappeared long ago. This is the mechanism of life: you have to be egoists, you have to fight your way, you have to fight with so many millions of desires around you, you have to struggle, you have to survive.
Ego is a survival measure. If a child is born without the ego, he will die. He cannot survive, it is impossible, because if he feels hunger he will not feel: I am hungry. He will feel there is hunger, but not related to him. The moment hunger is felt, the child feels: I am hungry, he starts crying and making efforts to be fed. The child grows through the growth of his ego.
So to me, ego is part of natural growth. But that doesn't mean that you have to remain with it forever.
It is a natural growth, and then there is a second step when it has to be dropped. That too is natural.
But the second step can be taken only when the first has come to its crescendo, its climax, when the first has reached its peak. So I teach both - I teach egoness and I teach egolessness.
First be egoists, perfect egoists, absolute egoists, as if the whole of existence exists for you and you are the center; all the stars revolve around you and the sun rises for you; everything exists for you, just to help you to be here. Be the center, and don't be afraid, because if you are afraid then you will never be ripe. Accept it! It is part of growth. Enjoy it and bring it to a peak.
When it comes to a peak, suddenly you will become aware that you are not the center. This has been a fallacy, this has been a childish attitude. But you were a child, so nothing is wrong in it. Now you have become mature, and now you see that you are not the center.
Really, when you see that you are not the center, you also see there is NO center in existence or everywhere is the center. Either there is no center and existence exists as a totality, a wholeness without any center as a control point or every single atom is a center.
Jakob Boehme has said that the whole world is filled with centers, every atom is a center, and there is no circumference - centers everywhere and circumference nowhere.
These two are the possibilities. Both mean the same; only the wording is different and contradictory.
But first become a center.
It is like this: you are in a dream; if the dream comes to a peak, it will be broken. Always it happens - whenever a dream comes to a climax, it is broken. And what is the climax of a dream? The climax of a dream is the feeling that this is real. You feel this is real, not a dream, and you go on and on and on and on to a higher peak and the dream becomes ALMOST real. It can never become real; it becomes almost real. It comes so close to reality that now you cannot go further, because one step more and the dream will become real - and it cannot become real because it is a dream! When it comes so close to reality, sleep is broken, the dream is shattered, you are fully awake.
The same happens with all types of fallacies. Ego is the greatest dream. It has its beauty, its agony.
It has its ecstasy, its agony. It has its heavens and hells, both are there. Dreams sometimes are beautiful and sometimes nightmares, but both are dreams.
So I don't tell you to come out of your dream before the time has come. No, never do anything before the time. Allow things to grow, allow things to have their time, so that everything happens naturally.
Ego will drop. It can drop of its own accord also. If you simply allow it to grow and help it to grow, there will be NO need to drop it.
This is very deep. If YOU drop it, ego has remained inside. WHO will drop it? If you think YOU will drop it, YOU are the ego - so whatsoever you drop will not be the real thing. The real thing will be preserved and you will have thrown something else.
You cannot make yourself egoless. Who will do it? It happens, it is not a doing. You grow into ego and a point comes when the whole thing becomes so hellish that the dream is broken. Suddenly you see the goose is out - it has never been in the bottle.
You have never been an ego. It was just a dream around you. A necessary dream, I say, so I don't condemn it, a necessary part of growth.
In life everything is necessary. Nothing is unnecessary, nothing can be unnecessary. Whatsoever has happened had to happen. Whatsoever is happening is happening because of certain deep causes. You need it so you can remain in the fallacy. It is just a cocoon that helps you, protects you, helps you to survive. One need not be in the cocoon forever. When you are ready, break the cocoon, come out.
The ego is the shell of the egg, it protects you. But when you are ready, break the shell, come out of the egg. The ego is the shell.
But wait. Hurry will not be of much help; haste will not help - it may hinder. Allow time, and don't condemn it, because who will condemn it?
Go to the so-called saints - they talk of humbleness, humility - and look into their eyes: you will not find such refined egos anywhere else. Now their egos have taken the garb of religion, Yoga, sainthood, but the ego is there. They may not be collecting riches, they may be collecting followers; the coins have changed and they go on counting how many followers....
They may not be after the things of this world, they are after the things of that world, but this or that, both are worlds. And they may be even more greedy, because they say these temporary things, momentary things of this world, consist of momentary pleasures - and they want eternal pleasures.
Their greed is supreme. They cannot be satisfied by momentary pleasures. They want eternal pleasures. Unless something is eternal they are not gratified. Their greed is deep, their greed is absolute and greed belongs to the ego. Greed is the hunger of the ego.
So it happens sometimes that saints are more egoistic than sinners, and then they are far away from the divine. And sometimes sinners can attain to the god more easily than those so-called saints, because ego is the barrier.
This has been my experience that sinners can drop their egos more easily than saints, because sinners have never been against the ego. They have been feeding it, they have been enjoying it, they have lived with it totally. And saints have always been fighting the ego, so they never allowed it to become ripe.
So this is my attitude: ego HAS to be dropped, but it may take a long waiting; and you can drop it only if you cultivate it.
This is the arduousness of the whole phenomenon, because the mind says: If we have to drop it, then why cultivate it? The mind says: When we have to destroy it, then why create it? If you listen to the mind you will be in trouble. Mind is always logical and life is always illogical, so they never meet.
This is simple logic, ordinary mathematics, that if you are to destroy this house, then why build it?
Why this whole trouble? Why this effort and waste of time and energy? The house is not there, so why build it and then destroy it?
The house is not the point really - YOU are the point. Building the house, you will change, and then destroying the house you will change completely, you will not be the same - because creating the house, the whole process of it, will prove a growth to you. Then, when the house is ready, you pull it down. That will be a mutation.
Mind is logical and life is dialectical. Mind moves in a simple line, and life moves always jumping from one pole to another, from one thing to the very opposite.
Life is dialectical. Create, and then life says: Destroy. Be born, and then life says: Die! Attain, and then life says: Lose! Be rich, and then life says: Become poor! Be a peak, an Everest of the ego, and then become an abyss of egolessness. Then you have known both - the illusory and the real, the maya and the Brahma.
Almost every day it happens: somebody comes to be initiated into sannyas, and then his mind starts functioning and he says to me: Wearing orange will make me more egoistic, because then I will feel that I am somebody different, distinct - I am a sannyasin, one who has renounced. So wearing orange will make me more egoistic he says, and I say to him: Become! Become egoistic, but consciously.
Ego is a disease if you are unconscious about it, if you hide it in the unconscious. Ego is a game if you are conscious about it. You can enjoy it. You can play it. Be conscious, mindful, and play the game! A game is not bad, but when you forget that it is a game and become too serious, then problems arise.
So I say sannyas is not serious; it is a game - a religious game, of course. It has its own rules, because every game must have rules; without rules no game can be played. Life can be without rules, but games cannot be.
If somebody says: I am not going to follow this rule, then you cannot play the game. You play cards, then you follow rules. And you never say: These rules are just arbitrary, artificial, why can't we change them? You can change them, but then the game will be difficult. And if every individual follows his own rules, then the game is impossible. Life is possible! You can play as you like because life never believes in rules - it is beyond rules. But games have rules.
Remember: wherever you see rules, know immediately this is a game. This is the criterion: wherever you see rules, immediately know this is a game, because games exist through rules.
So if I say: "Wear orange, have the mala" - this is a game, obviously. Play it as well as you can and don't be serious about it - otherwise you miss the point.
Be egoists - perfect, cultivated, refined. Go on working on your ego and make it a beautiful statue, because before you give it back to the god, it must be something worth giving, it must be a present.
The first thing: you are part of an infinite energy, a wave in an infinite ocean. If you can remember this you never lose energy, because an infinite source is always available. You are just a wave, and deep down the ocean is hidden.
You are born. Who gives you birth? Who gives energy to you to move into the body? Who gives energy to the body to become an automatic, delicate mechanism, an organism? For seventy years or eighty years, or even a hundred years, the body continues being alive. And now scientists say that death is an accident, the body can continue infinitely. Scientists say there is no necessity for death to exist. It exists because we have not been able to use the infinite energy that is around us.
So the first thing to remember is: you are part of an infinite energy. Continuously remember it and feel it. Moving, walking, eating, sleeping - feel you are infinite. This is what the Upanishads say; always feel you are the Brahma, the Eternal. If you can feel this more and more, you will become aware that you are not losing any energy. The source becomes available. You become a vehicle.
Then do whatsoever you want to do. By doing, nobody loses energy. This is one of the fallacies of the human mind that if you do something, you lose energy. No. If you have this idea that doing something I am losing energy, you lose energy, not by doing, but by having the idea. Otherwise, through doing you can gain energy - if you have the idea. If you don't have any idea, then also no energy is lost.
When people are retired they start thinking that now they have less energy so they must rest and relax more; they should not do anything, otherwise their energy is lost. And then they die sooner than they would have died. Statistics say that the life span is reduced by ten years: a person who is working may have lived to seventy; retired, he will die at sixty.
Your body is a dynamo. The more you use it, the more energy from the infinite source is supplied.
If you don't use it there is no need for any new supply. Then by and by the supply stops. Be more active, and you will have more energy. Be less active, and you will lose much energy. Through activity energy is not lost, through activity you renew it. You use the energy, then from the source more energy becomes available.
Look at the trees. The sun rises and from the leaves of the trees water starts evaporating. The moment a leaf starts evaporating water, from the roots new water circulates, because it is a long process. The leaf releases water, then just near the leaf dryness is created. That dryness immediately sucks water from the twig; then the twig is dry, the twig sucks water from its branch.
This goes on down to the roots; then the roots suck water from the earth.
If the leaves think: If we evaporate water then we will die, we will feel thirsty - then this tree is going to die. Because then new sources will not be available, then the roots will not be able to function.
You also have roots into the infinite. When you use energy you suck energy from the infinite. Your roots start working.
A very fallacious idea is in the human mind, that through activity we lose energy. No. The more active, the more energy you will have; the less active, the less energy. And this is true of activity in all directions of life. Love more and you will have more love to give. Become a miser and think: If I love more, then my love will be dissipated, and sooner or later I will not have any love any more, so it is better to preserve it. Then your love will die and you will not be able to love.
Love, and more love becomes available; use more and you have more. This is the law of life. You can eat the cake and have it also. Compassion, love, activity, whatsoever the dimension, the same rule applies. Whatsoever you want more of, do the same. If you want to become an infinite source of love, then go on sharing love as much as you can. Don't be a miser; only misers lose energy.
And we are all misers, that's why we always feel dissipated.
But the idea can be dangerous, poisonous. If you have an idea, that idea works. Mind works through hypnosis.
For example, just a few decades ago, all over the world it was taught that you have a limited quota of sexual energy. You make love, energy is lost. That idea created sexual misers all over the world.
The whole idea is fallacious. But if you have the idea in your mind, then whenever you make love you are continuously hypnotizing yourself that you are losing energy. Then energy is wasted.
This idea becomes imprinted in your mind. And when you make love you are so vulnerable, so receptive, you are so soft, so to speak, that whatsoever you are thinking goes deep into you. And then the consequences follow; you feel dissipated, you feel your energy is lost. And when you feel dissipated and energy is lost, the old idea is strengthened still more. This becomes a vicious circle.
Now scientists, biologists say that sex is infinite energy. You cannot lose it, because every day it is being created by your food, by your breathing, by your activity; it is created. It is not a stored thing so that when you take a particular quantity out that much is lost, you now have less. It is not that way.
It is not something stored there. It is being created every moment. If you don't use it, it goes stale and dead. If you don't use it, it will make you stale and dead. Then the flow has stopped. But if you go on flowing, more and more becomes available to you.
Jesus says somewhere - one of the most foundational things - he says: If you try to cling to life, you will lose it; and if you are ready to lose it, you will have it in abundance.
All over the world up to this century children were taught that any leakage of semen in any way is very destructive: You may go mad, you may become crippled; at least your intelligence will be less; and the possibility of becoming crazy and eccentric and weak will be more.
This is absolutely false! But the teaching did make many people crazy, many people weak, many people stupid, mediocre, because the idea.... And this is such a dangerous idea. When a child has grown up and become mature, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, he starts losing semen. He cannot do anything about it. He will masturbate or if morality is too much he will not masturbate, but nocturnal ejaculations will be there; in the night he will lose semen. And all around the propaganda is going on: If you lose semen, everything is lost.
In India, they used to say - if you go to old saints and their followers, they still go on saying - that one drop of semen means forty days of work for the body. So for forty days the body has to work, then one drop of semen is created. So if one drop is lost, forty days of life is wasted.
Small children don't know anything, and they are very receptive. When the whole society teaches this, they become hypnotized by it. Then they cannot do anything because the semen flows; when the body is ready, the semen is bound to go out. This teaching is all around and they cannot tell anybody that they are losing semen. They hide it. They suffer inside. They go through a constant torture. And they think they are the exceptions, because they can't know that everybody else is going through the same thing, because nobody talks about it, nobody speaks about it. And whosoever talks about it, talks AGAINST it.
So every boy thinks that he is the exception, that only he is going through this. Soon he will start feeling dizzy; soon he will start feeling that intelligence is waning; soon he will start feeling that he is going crazy, that his life is wasted. Many people go on writing letters to me saying that their lives are wasted because they have lost so much semen, they have lost so much sex energy.
That idea is very dangerous, and if an idea is there, the thing will happen. It happens through hypnosis.
Any idea can become a help or a hindrance. It is difficult to live in the no-idea. So before you can reach to a mind which is thoughtless - when everything becomes available spontaneously - before that, it is better to have this idea in the mind: that you are part of an infinite energy and by doing you are gaining, not losing. By giving you are attaining, not losing.
Love, sex, activity - whatsoever, always remember and be filled with the idea that whenever you give something, from the roots more becomes available to you, more is given to you. God is the giver, the unconditional giver.
If you are also a giver, your hands will always be empty and the God can give you more. If you are a miser, your relationship with the divine is cut. Then you live as a small wave, always afraid of losing.
Live as the ocean. Be oceanic! Never think of losing, about anything. Nothing is lost, nothing can be lost. And you are not an individual; you only appear as an individual. The whole is joined to you; you are just a face of the whole, just a way the whole has happened. Don't be worried about it. It is never going to end. This existence is beginningless and endless.
Enjoy, celebrate, be active, and always be a giver. To be a giver so totally that you never think of retaining or holding anything is the only real prayer. To give is to pray. To give is to love. And those who can give, they are always given more.
Enough for today.