Buts, ifs and hows
HOW CAN I LEAVE MY EGO OUTSIDE THE FRONT GATE? IT FOLLOWS ME LIKE A SHADOW AND EVEN HIDES BEHIND MY BACK AND THEN I AM NOT ABLE TO SEE IT.
Anand Shantideva, the question shows you have not understood the meaning of the ego. It is not something visible or tangible; it is not even a shadow that follows you. It is something that sits upon your head, that's why you cannot see it. It is all that you know about yourself, your name, your respectability, your power; whatever you have, it is your ego.
The ego is simply a mind formation. To understand it is a very subtle process. The society you have been brought up in does not want you to know yourself. But it will be very dangerous not to allow you to know yourself and to leave you in a state of chaos. The danger is that in that chaos you may start looking for yourself.
One cannot live in a chaos. One has to find the center of the cyclone; it is an absolute necessity for survival. The society creates the mind as a substitute for your being. And on its own part, the mind creates the idea of "I," the ego. That substitute is absolutely necessary to keep you away from yourself, because once you believe that this is you, the very question of any search for yourself does not arise.
That has happened to millions of people who have lived on this earth and that is happening even today to the millions of people that are on the earth. Today we have more ignorance in the world than ever, just because of the population.
Now there are five billion idiots on the earth. It has never happened before; it is absolutely unique.
You are living in a world which is very special - five billion people knowing nothing about themselves.
The ignorance was never so thick and the night was never so long. But whatever the case with the world, each individual is capable of coming out of this darkness. The first thing he has to realize is that he does not know himself. And whatever he knows about himself is just opinions imposed on him by others.
Somebody has said to you, "You are so intelligent" - and it was so satisfying to believe in it that you have believed it. It needs tremendous courage to disassociate yourself from all that you have been believing you are.
Shantideva, you are the ego; hence you find it difficult to leave it outside the gate. Because you don't know anything else about yourself except the ego, if you leave it outside you will be leaving yourself outside. It can be left outside the gate only if you understand the very structure of it.
To keep you engaged and busy it is a false substitute so that you don't have time, you don't have energy, you don't have any need to look for your authentic self.
In short, you are completely false.
I don't believe in compromises. Either you are real or you are unreal; it is not possible that half of you is real and half of you is unreal. The real and the unreal cannot meet. It cannot be that a certain percentage in you is real and the remainder is unreal. It is impossible. It is not allowable by the universal law of consciousness. The real and the unreal never meet.
Have you ever seen light and darkness meeting? Either it is light or it is dark; you cannot have both together in your room - one sitting on this side of you, the other sitting on the other side of you so that you can enjoy both the light and darkness.
A meditator enters into his mind and starts watching how the mind functions. Just the very fact of watching the mind makes him aware that he is not the mind, and he is not anything that belongs to the mind. He is a faraway entity, qualitatively different, just a pure watching... in other words: just a pure mirror which only reflects the reality but is not imprinted by any reality.
If the ugly face comes in front of it, without any judgment it shows the ugly face in its full detail, without any condemnation. And when the beautiful face appears, there is no appreciation and no evaluation either. It shows the ugly face and the beautiful face with the same detached, faraway reflective witnessing.
The moment you become a witness there will be no need to leave your ego outside the gate. In fact, the ego will have left you; even if you run after it you cannot catch hold of it.
So the right process has to be understood. The ego is not something like your umbrella and your shoes and your raincoats that you leave outside the gate.
The ego is hidden inside your mind. Of course you cannot leave your head outside, and the ego comes along wherever you go.
The ego has to be understood. In that understanding it disappears. Only a witness knows that the ego is a false entity and you need not fight with any false entity.
Do you ever fight with darkness? When you find darkness in your room, do you struggle with it to throw it out? Do you wrestle with it? Do you start taking out your sword to cut off the head of darkness? If you do any of these stupid things, you will simply show your unintelligence. You will not be able even to touch it - the darkness that is in your room. You cannot put it into bags and take the bags our and throw them into the neighbor's yard.
With the negative nothing can be done directly. If you want to do anything with the negative, do something for the positive. When you don't want darkness in the room you bring the light, you don't bother about the darkness. Your whole approach is totally different. You bring the light in and the moment the light is in you don't find any darkness.
The same is true about your ego. It has no existence of its own; it is a false substitute that has been given to you so that you can go on playing with it and completely forget the search for the real self.
And the demands of this false ego are immense, never fulfilled. It will demand money, it will demand respect, it will demand power, and you go on fulfilling it but it will always remain empty.
You cannot make an egoist contented. The ego is always like an open wound; It goes on growing bigger. The more you try to fill it the more you find it is empty and the more demanding it becomes.
You become almost a slave to a false entity. Your whole life is wasted in ambitions created by the ego.
The ego is the most dangerous invention that society has managed to create. So when you want to drop... don't think in terms of dropping it, because even the word 'drop' gives you the idea that it is something. It is nothing. You cannot drop it, you cannot put it out of doors.
You have to look into the reality of it.
In deep meditations you have to become a witness of all the functioning of the mind, because the ego is the combined by-product of your mind's functioning. Its thoughts, its desires, its ideologies, its prejudices, its politics, its philosophy, its religion - everything contributes in some way to create a certain ego in you.
I had a professor, Doctor Das, a very famous philosopher not only in India but in almost every country. He had been teaching around the world, and he had come back to India to his home just to retire. He was my teacher for only three months; after those three months he went into retirement.
But those three months were of great revelation to me and to him.
The first day when he entered the classroom I was sitting in his chair. He looked so embarrassed standing by my side and I was so relaxed in the chair - the students started laughing and he said, "What is going on?"
I said, "Nothing is going on. I find this chair more comfortable than the other chairs; and I am not a stupid person, I can choose what is right for me."
He said, "You seem to be a very strange person. This chair is for the teacher."
I said, "Then there is no problem. I will teach. What is the problem? - if this chair is for the teacher, then the teacher is sitting in it. You can find some other chair and sit down."
He was an old man, a world-famous philosopher, and his ego was immensely hurt. He said, "You don't understand with whom you are talking."
I said, "I understand perfectly well. You don't understand with whom you are talking."
But I did not leave the chair. I told him that whatever he wants to do, he can do. He can go to the vice-chancellor, he can bring the vice-chancellor... "I am going to remain in this chair."
He said, "What is the purpose of all this mess?"
I said, "The purpose is to show you that it is not my sitting in the chair that is hurting you, it is your ego. If you accept it I will leave the chair. If you don't accept, then you can bring anybody to help you... but as far as I know the students, nobody is going to help."
He waited a minute. There was utter silence in the class. Everybody was afraid that if the vice-chancellor came and the proctor came, there was going to be trouble for me. They would immediately expel me. I had already been expelled from so many places, but I always continued to do strange things. What was the need to sit in his chair?
But Doctor Das was certainly an intelligent man. He did not go out. He said, "Perhaps you are right.
It is my ego that is hurting, it is not a question of the chair."
I said, "Then I can leave it. But remember, before you retire you have only three months more in this university. It will be good if you retire but don't take your ego away with you. Leave it here in this chair for somebody else to use."
I left the chair, and he was in such confusion that he told the students, "Today it will not be possible for me to teach." And to me he said, "I would like you to come with me to my home. I want to discuss some important matters with you."
He was an unmarried man. He had written many beautiful books, and before encountering him I had read everything that he had written. He took me in his car to his home. On the way he said, "I am sorry that I did not understand your purpose. You are the first man in my life who has pointed out my ego. I certainly have a very big ego and it went on becoming bigger and bigger as I became more and more respected in the world of philosophy. You will have to help me to get rid of it. I am also feeling the torture of it, I am also feeling the burden of it, but I don't know what to do with it."
He had never thought about meditation. Philosophers never meditate; their whole approach to life is intellectual. They think about and about everything, but never become a witness of any experience - particularly the experience of their inner thought processes.
Shantideva, if you really want to get rid of the ego, you will have to go so deep into your meditations that you can create a distance between you and your mind. Immediately you will see the phoniness of your ego, and the moment you have seen it, it is dropped. Not that you can drop it - but your seeing it, your understanding it, your witnessing it... and it drops on its own accord.
Little Elmer was in the toy section of the huge department store checking out the latest electronic kids' toys. Over the loudspeaker came an announcement, "Ms. Ethel Evan is missing her son Elmer Evan. Will little Elmer please come to the manager's office immediately."
Little Elmer was visibly depressed. "Damn it," he grumbled, "I am lost again."
But in fact everybody is lost - lost because you don't know who you are, lost because you have not encountered your being, lost because you are not a real, integrated individual but only a phony personality.
An Englishman was marooned on a desert island where he was looked after by a beautiful native girl. On the first night she gave him the most exotic drinks. On the second night she fed him the most delicious food imaginable. On the third night she said to him, "Would you like to play games with me now?"
"Don't tell me," replied the passionately excited Englishman, "that you have got a football here as well!"
An Englishman is just an Englishman....
Everybody has grown a certain ego, and the ego goes on dominating you in every sphere of life. It dictates to you the style in which you should live. It dictates to you what is right and what is wrong.
And if you look deeply, the day you will be able to see your ego as a false entity you are bound to feel so sorry for yourself that you have been dictated to by a false entity your whole life. Now you will be able to see that whatever you have been told is right is nothing but nourishment for the ego, and whatever you have been told is wrong is nothing but deprivation of nourishment to the ego.
All your right and wrong, all your moral and immoral acts, all your good and evil can be demarcated with a single thing, a definition perhaps you may never have thought about. All that fulfills your ego is moral, virtuous, spiritual, religious, and all that goes against your ego is a sinner's life, a criminal way of living, immoral, unspiritual, condemnable. All the honor is for the person who is not fulfilling the demands of the ego.
Once you become a witness, you can see this subtle strategy, this whole psychology of destroying you and keeping you away from yourself and the very center of existence.
Your ego is your hell, your ego is your misery, your ego is the cancer of your soul. The only way out of it is to become a witness of your mind processes.
THE OTHER NIGHT DURING DISCOURSE I REALIZED THAT I AM SO STUBBORN AND PIGHEADED. I ALWAYS HAVE THIS "BUT" INSIDE ME AND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO JUMP OVER IT.
OSHO, HOW CAN I SURRENDER TO YOU TOTALLY?
Vimal Kavisha, your question is tremendously interesting. You say, "The other night during discourse I realized that I am so stubborn and pigheaded." The moment anybody realizes that he is pigheaded, he is no more. And no pig can ever realize that he is pigheaded; that's an impossibility. If you have realized that you are pigheaded, one thing is absolutely certain: you are not a pig.
And you have also realized that you are so stubborn. I would like humbly to say to you that you are not, because a really stubborn person will jump any "but," howsoever big it is. It will become a challenge to his stubbornness.
You are asking, "I always have this 'but' inside me and I don't know how to jump over it."
Just be pigheaded and stubborn and jump!
Moreover, I have never asked you to drop your buts and ifs. You cannot - your mind is always schizophrenic, it is always split in diametrically opposite directions. So one part of the mind says one thing and the other part immediately contradicts it; that is the "but". One part wants to complete the sentence but the other part comes in.
But I have never asked you to drop it, jump over it! - you have misunderstood me. I only want you to understand whatever is the case within you. Just the understanding is enough to dispel all darkness.
These are the languages of the ego: How to jump? How to drop? Every "how" is born out of the ego; the man of understanding simply wonders, "Where is the ego? Where are all those 'buts' and 'ifs'?"
They have simply disappeared. In the intense light of your awareness all these things cannot exist.
And finally you say, "Osho, how can I surrender to you totally?"
Vimal Kavisha, from where did you get the idea that you have to surrender to me? You have to surrender to existence, not to me. That's my continuous fight with all the religions: they all want you to surrender to them.
A few months ago the Catholic pope even declared that you are not allowed to confess to God directly; he has called it one of the greatest sins. You have to go via the right channel. First you have to confess to the priest who has a direct line with God. Then he will persuade God on your behalf - but you cannot do it directly.
Even God is not allowed to you... you have to surrender to the priest, to the pope, to the shankaracharya, to the imam, to the prophet. And who are all these people? - most probably the highly egoistic personalities who are enjoying the ego of being a prophet, who are enjoying the idea that they have come to save the world, that they are the saviors who are enjoying the idea they are the only begotten son of God. They don't have any evidence - not even a birth certificate. These people seem to be very pious egoists, and their piousness hides their ego.
I am not a savior. Surrendering to me is absolutely futile. I am not a prophet; I am not even a faraway cousin of any god. I am simply just myself.
And do you understand the responsibility when you surrender yourself to anybody...? You are also surrendering your freedom. You are becoming a slave in the name of religion and spirituality. And this slavery goes far deeper than the ordinary slavery when your body is enslaved. This is spiritual slavery. You can revolt against physical slavery. That has been imposed on you by others.
This spiritual slavery you have accepted on your own. You have surrendered to someone - a Jesus Christ, a Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira; how can you revolt? In two thousand years not a single Christian has revolted against Jesus Christ; in twenty-five centuries not a single Buddhist has revolted against Gautam Buddha. The simple fact is, it is your own surrender; you never think of it in terms of slavery.
I have never asked you to surrender to me even partially what to say about totally.
Surrender to existence, surrender to the stars and the ocean and the mountains, and they will not become a bondage to you. They will give you freedom and they will give you tremendous blessings.
The whole existence will become your home. Surrender to the whole. In that surrender there is some significance, because in that surrender the ego will disappear.
And the surrender can only be total; it cannot be partial. You cannot say I surrender to existence twenty percent, thirty percent; it is not a business deal. It is not in any way a negotiation. Either one hundred percent or zero percent - these are the only two simple alternatives.
But remember never to surrender to any man. Howsoever the man may be bragging, all men are just made of the same flesh and the same bones nd the same marrow as you. Just a few cunning people, pretenders, hypocrites take advantage of your innocence and start calling you the sheep and they become the shepherds. And you enjoy being called the sheep and you don't feel the humiliation in it and you don't see that you are being spiritually insulted. On the contrary, you think that it is something to rejoice about, that the shepherd, the only begotten son has accepted you.
In the first place there is no evidence of God; in the second place there is no evidence that he has any wife; in the third place there is no evidence that he has ever produced a son. He is described in the scripture as omnipotent - and he is finished by giving birth to only one son in all eternity? And I don't think he knows anything about birth control methods, because they were not in existence in the beginning when he was creating the world. He himself never created them.
Neither does God exist, nor are there messengers of God, nor are there prophets of God, nor are there only begotten sons of God. All these people have only one thing more than you: their egos are very big - so big that they can convince themselves of any illusion, of any hallucination. The best way to get convinced of any illusion is to spread if to people. When a few people start believing in you... and there are always people ready to believe. People believe in anything - interplanetary visitors only six inches in height, forest green in color, who come and meet people...
Just the other day I received a letter from a sannyasin couple saying, "We both have been visited by these green visitors from faraway planets, and now we are feeling very much afraid because they have promised they will be coming again and again and they want to know more and more about human life. What do you say? What are we supposed to do? Should we meet them or avoid them or escape from this place?"
And whenever such cuckoo letters come to me I have only one answer: Send these fellows to Kaveesha - that is her department - because I am tired of counseling about such things.
People are ready to believe any stupid thing because they are so hollow that if anything seems to be filling them... It is said that to a drowning man even a straw seems to be a saving device; he clings to the straw, knowing perfectly well that a straw cannot save him, and that on the contrary, he will also take the straw with him down the river. All your beliefs are nothing but straws you are clinging to because you know you are drowning.
Vimal Kavisha, I don't want you to surrender to me. It is against my whole conscience. You are my fellow travelers; I cannot degrade you and I cannot humiliate you. If anything I can give you more dignity and more self-respect. To me, that is the authentic function of the master. Only the fake, so-called masters demand surrender.
Yes, I also preach surrender, but the surrender is to be not to me but to the whole. And it will be easier for you to surrender to this infinite beautiful cosmos. Your "but" will disappear.
But never surrender to anything less than the whole. That kind of surrender is going to be your slavery. That has been the slavery of the whole of mankind for thousands of years.
I teach you freedom, not surrender.
I teach you totality in your living, and I teach you tremendous respect and love and gratitude for the whole.
You must have got this idea from all kinds of bogus scriptures that are continuously being written by ignorant people. But they are so ignorant that they cannot be aware of their ignorance, and out of their ignorance they go on saying all kinds of things. And because those things have been repeated so often they have become almost true.
Beware of the crowd-psychology and beware of the human past. It has been ugly, utterly ugly.
Unfortunately we inherit it, but fortunately there is a possibility to disinherit it. You can cut yourself off from the whole past and you can start a totally new approach and a new style of life that is in tune with existence - not in tune with THE HOLY BIBLE, not in tune with holy KORAN, not in tune with me, but in tune with the whole existence.
Unless you fall in tune with the universal heartbeat, whatever you do I cannot call spiritual. It will be some kind of slavery - maybe some new kind, but slavery is slavery whether it is old or new.
Bridget and Maureen were returning from church, where the priest had just preached a sermon on married life.
"What did you think of the sermon?" Bridget asked.
"I wish," said Maureen, "that I knew as little about marriage as he did."
It is a very strange world. Here, people who are not married, who have taken the vow of being celibate for their whole life, teach people about marriage, and these idiots are called by others, Father. Father to whom? All your religious scriptures teaching you how to live are written by people who have renounced life. They don't know even the ABC of life and they are cowards because they escaped from life and its struggle and its challenges and now they are trying to preach to people the essential meaning of life, the fundamentals of life.
People who have never loved anybody write treatises on love. It is a very strange world. And these strange people never think for a moment that they don't have any authority to talk about anything that they have not experienced - but it is so ego-fulfilling to preach, to advice, whether you know it or not.
It happened once that I was invited to a religious conference. A Jaina monk spoke before me, and he was saying beautiful things. But I could feel the vibe of the person - whatever he was saying was just like a parrot. He knew nothing. It was not in his eyes, it was not in his face, it was not in his gestures, it was not in his words. They were so hollow, so empty, although they were from the scriptures.
I had to speak after him. I was very new in that city and the monk who had spoken before me was a very famous man in those parts, so people had really come to hear him. I was too young and absolutely unknown in that part; it was the first time that I was visiting that city. So as he stepped down, people started leaving.
I had to shout on the microphone that everybody should stop wherever he was, Naturally, they had never heard such a man. I told them, "Sit back down in your seats. You don't know me... just give me five minutes and then I will order you to be out. After five minutes I will stop and anybody who wants to go should immediately go - but five minutes is absolutely my right. You have invited me and you are misbehaving with me."
So they all sat down feeling that "this is a strange man. Perhaps there may be something..." And in those five minutes I criticized the monk who had spoken before me.
I said, "The first thing is, he knows nothing about what he was saying." There was a shock wave because they all had respected that old man - he was almost seventy-five. And I said, "Although he is seventy-five, he is utterly retarded. He does not know how to interpret the scriptures he has been quoting. All these interpretations are misinterpretations, and I am going, to contradict him point by point."
And then I told the people, "Now five minutes are over. Anybody who wants to leave should immediately leave." Not a single person left out of almost ten thousand people. It was too difficult now to leave; they wanted to know exactly what I was going to say against the monk.
I contradicted the monk completely, in absolute detail, not leaving anything to be improved upon.
The monk must have been a sincere man. There are still a few people around who were present in that meeting, and one I particularly remember is Ishwarbhai from Bombay and his wife Guna.
I remember them because after that day they became my people, and Ishwarbhai's wife Guna told me, "When you were in the middle of destroying that Jaina monk so completely, I told my husband, 'It is time we got out of the crowd. There is going to be a riot without any doubt. After this man is finished there is going to be immense fighting.'"
Ishwarbhai was also willing, but he said, "It seems dangerous - but even to move is also dangerous because that man is strange...." They were sitting in the front row. "He will immediately stop and he will say, 'Sit down.' And I cannot stand up, I am feeling so shaky. We have been hearing that old monk for years; we thought he knows - and he is sitting there with his head down. It seems that perhaps this young man is right."
After the meeting that old monk sent two messengers to me saying, "I would like to meet you because it is the first time in my life that anybody, and all that I was quoting was practiced and rehearsed, and I have been preaching for years so it has become almost my profession. But nothing was spontaneous and nothing was supported by my own experience, because I don't know what consciousness is, what meditation is.
"Just one thing you will have to grant me, because I am the head of my whole community and they won't allow me to go to the place where you are staying. They are already angry at you that their long-standing teacher has been completely contradicted. But because I am not supporting them, I am saying you were right - so although they are angry they cannot do anything. But one thing they could certainly do: they made it clear to me, 'You cannot go to see that man at his place. If you want to see him, invite him to your own place. It is a question of the prestige of our community.'"
So when those two strangers came to me, I said, "There is no problem. I don't have any community and I don't have any chains on me. I am a free man, I can go anywhere; nobody can prevent me. I am ready to come with you."
They were not thinking that it would be so easy. I went, and there was a big crowd, great sensation, apprehension in the air that there may be some trouble. But when they saw me coming alone they could not believe it, because I had been informed that they were violently angry against me.
Their teacher, their master, the man to whom they had surrendered, had been utterly humiliated.
Although I had not humiliated the man - this was my way of giving respect to him, to bring him to his reality, to wake him up; it is not humiliating. And as I went into the temple where the man was staying, he asked me, "I would like to talk to you in aloneness, so please, everybody should go out and close the door."
As the door was closed, that old man - I can still see his face and his tears - simply started crying like a child. I said, "You don't have to feel so desperate. There is still time."
He said, "But seventy - five years are lost... and not a single man ever told me that what I am talking is parrot talk. In the beginning for a moment I also felt a certain anger arising in me, my ego hurt, but then I thought it was better to listen to you to the whole thing. And as I listened to you, slowly, slowly it became clear that you were right - I don't know myself. And without knowing myself I have been preaching things which it is really not only criminal but absolutely a sin to tell people, when it is something that you don't know yourself."
Sharon was supporting Paddy at the altar at their wedding, when the priest announced that he would not perform the ceremony so long as Paddy was drunk.
"Take him away from here," he told Sharon, "and bring him back when he is sober."
But Father," wailed Sharon, "he won't come when he is sober."
Who will come to get married when he is sober? A certain kind of drunkenness, a certain unconsciousness. You are repeating in your unconsciousness about surrender, about totality....
You have heard these words - and perhaps you have heard these words from me, but you have managed the meaning which you wanted.
Surrendering to me is giving your responsibility to me, and there is no way that any individual can perform your spiritual journey on your behalf. So one day you will be frustrated, then you will be angry, then you will start condemning me because you wasted ten years and you have not reached anywhere. It is such a great stupidity - but you will not recognize that from the very beginning you had chosen a wrong way.
You have not listened exactly to what I am saying. You are managing to hear what you want to hear. To surrender to the whole... you don't feel that you can condemn the whole one day if nothing happens. Then people will laugh and they will say, "What do you mean by the whole? The stars, the sun, the moon, the sky, the mountains, the rivers - do you think these are going to transform you?"
You will be laughed at - but I want to tell you that only such a surrender can bring a transformation to you.
The transformation is not brought by the stars, neither is it brought by the mountains, nor by the whole. The transformation is brought by your surrender and your totality, but remember the meaning of surrender and totality. Ten years or ten lives... you cannot go back if surrender is total. You cannot take back your surrender one day and say, "Now I am no longer surrendered."
If you do that, that means that all the time you thought you were surrendered, you were not.
Surrender is absolute, unconditional, and there is no way to take it back. That's why I insist on totality. Don't hold anything back. Just give up all to the whole to which it belongs.
You have come out of the whole.
You belong to the whole.
Your life every moment is nourished by the whole. Just allow the whole to take over your being completely, entirely, and in the right moment, in the right season, the spring comes and the flowers start blossoming.