Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!

Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!

 By Sharmini Serasinghe –

Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

Caution- The following is more suitable for the broad-minded and the wise. Others are kindly advised to pass!

Wonder if ours might have been a wiser, and a more ‘humane’ society, had our ‘ancient’ history, been based on Aesop’s Fables, instead of the Mahavamsa. For if not for the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese may not have been endowed, with the reputation, of “Sinhalaya Modaya (The Sinhalese are Fools)”!

These very same supposedly educated, and intelligent ‘Buddhists’ also believe, that the enormous indentation, resembling a footprint on a boulder, at Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada to ‘Buddhists’), to be that of the Buddha. This would be in keeping with the conviction that the Buddha, was as tall, or perhaps even taller, than the Avukana Buddha statue, which stands above 40 feet (12 meters) in height!

Then, there is the ‘Dalada Maligawe’ in Kandy; most Buddhists believe, the tooth relic housed within, belonged to the Buddha. Some adorn the ‘tooth casket’ with mounds of gold jewellery, fervently believing, that they would earn merit, to the value of the gold they offer. The thought of donating the value of this gold, to feed and help, the poor, sick and the needy, that would be far more meritorious, never cross their minds!

However it does not matter if the tooth is over-sized, belonged to the Buddha or not, because he the ‘wise one’ asserted, that his followers must not revere, nor worship, any part of his physical self, nor idolize him. Had the Buddha wanted otherwise, he would have left not just a tooth, but his entire skeleton, for his followers to worship.

The annual Esala Perahera, in Kandy, is yet another case in point. This colourful and spectacular ‘parade’ of the ‘tooth relic’, atop a magnificent elephant, is nothing but an ego-boosting exercise, of small-minded men of yore, and now, a tradition of small-minded men of the present. The ‘Esala Perahera’ therefore, is no relation to Buddhism!

Then there are also those ‘Buddhists’, who on Full Moon (Poya) days, make a bee-line draped in white, to the temple, to ‘pray’ to ‘God Buddha’. They piously recite the ‘Five Precepts’ and other Buddhist verses, as in ‘praying’, facing a perceived image, of the miracle performing ‘God Buddha’. The Five Precepts- the basic code of ethics that the Buddhist laity, is required to abide by, cease to hold any value, beyond the temple gates!

They offer flowers, to clay and stone images of the Buddha, and light oil lamps, as it is an idée recue; believing by doing so, one earns enormous merit. Little do they understand the significance, of such customs; they fail to connect the similarity of flowers and the oil lamp, with their impermanent life – ‘anicca’.

Then they also go on to bathe the ‘Bo tree’ (Bodhi Puja), with pots of water, thereby encouraging tree-rot, expecting the ‘holy’ tree’ under which ‘God Buddha’ attained enlightenment, to bestow merit upon them to. During trying times, unable to accept their ‘karma’, they once again flood the ‘Bo tree’, expecting deliverance from their misery.

When this unique ‘brand’ of Sinhala/Mahavamsa-Buddhism fails to deliver, they next make a bee-line, to a Hindu kovil, break coconuts, praying for miracles, as well as cursing and damning to hell, fellow human beings. Then off they go, to a Christian church and light candles and then, to Sai Baba or even a Mosque (I have no idea what they do there). At all these places, promises (vows) are made, to various Gods, on a quid pro quo basis. Some, even resort to animal sacrifice!

Then, there are also those who believe, that the Mahawamsa was authored, by the Buddha himself!

All that the Buddha asked, of his followers, was to lead a life according to his noble teachings. But this, most find so hard to do, especially the ‘simple’ minded, Mahavamsa-Buddhist!

Mahavamsa Lies and Deceit

Perhaps nowhere in the world, might one find, this strange practice of Buddhism, other than by most Sinhalese; for it is neither a religion nor a philosophy. It is a unique ‘culture’, passed off as Buddhism, in Sri Lanka!

Who and what distorted the Buddhist philosophy, in Sri Lanka? I say firmly, the blame must be laid fair and square, at the feet of Mahanama thera, and his ‘book of Buddhist tales’- the Mahavamsa. For, it deals mostly, with mythical and supernatural tales of so called, Buddhist history, with some borrowed from the ‘Mahabaratha’ and ‘Ramayana’.

Through his Mahavamsa, Mahanama portrayed Sri Lanka, as the ‘Dammadeepa’; the chosen land of the Buddha, to protect and propagate his Dhamma. He, Mahanama said, (NOT the Buddha), that Buddhism will prevail, for five-thousand years, and the Sinhalese alone, must “protect” it.

Perhaps at a time, when Buddhism began to lose its popularity in India, The monks of the Mahavihara, especially Mahanama, might have panicked, and therefore decided to make Sri Lanka a ‘Buddhist Country’, in order to ‘protect’ Buddhism.

Thus, he created the Sinhala race, by bringing together, those from various tribes and ethnic groups, to create this one ‘supreme’ race- Sinhala-Buddhist; Buddha’s chosen people, Mahanama said, to protect Buddhism, for five-thousand years!

The Buddhist scriptures, Tripitaka, (Viniya, Suttaand Abhidhamma), and the Mahavamsa were both written in the Pali language. Therefore the average Buddhist laity, who was not au fait with this language, would not have understood the difference between the Tripitaka, and the Mahavamsa. Hence when Buddhist monks preached the Mahavamsa, the laity accepted all that the monks said, as the true words of the Buddha.

From that day forward, 2600 years ago, the Buddhist clergy of this country, transformed the Buddhist philosophy, into an ‘ethnic’ religion of the Sinhalese, and propagated it as such, as per the Mahavamsa. Thus, over the past 2600 years, Buddhists, in this country, have been misled, misguided, led astray and lied to, by our Buddhist clergy, and their ‘bible’- the Mahavamsa!.

By converting the philosophy into a religion, Buddhist monks, also converted the Buddha, into a ‘God’, and themselves, as his ‘Messengers’, who must be revered and worshipped; totally disregarding the Buddha’s words-

Believe nothing, in the faith of traditions,
even though, they have been held in honor,
for many generations, and in diverse places.

Do not believe, a thing, because many people speak of it.
Do not believe, in the faith, of the sages of the past.
Do not believe, what you yourself have imagined,
persuading yourself, that a God inspires you.

Believe nothing, on the sole authority, of your masters and priests.
After examination, believe what you yourself, have tested
and found, to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.”
 The Buddha

A case in point, as it is recorded nowhere, of the Buddha having said, is that alms must be offered to monks, in one’s home or at a temple, seven-days, three-months and one-year after death, in one’s family.

This practice perhaps, originated through a custom, followed by our ancestors, that has today become the sine qua non, for Buddhists-

2600 years ago, a Buddhist temple was the only venue, of social gathering, activity and entertainment, in a village. Hence, when a ‘Rite of Passage’ i.e. death in a family occurred, it was only natural, for the entire village, including Buddhist monks, to visit the bereaved family, and offer words and deeds of comfort and consolation, to them.

Sinhalese hospitality being such, all gathered, would be offered a meal, by the bereaved family, and the monks too would partake of that meal. This, over the years, became part and parcel, and a ‘religious ceremony’, of the Sinhala- Buddhist ‘religion’.

With time, the Buddhist clergy, introduced a sense of ‘guilt’, to the Buddhist laity, that if such ‘alms-giving ceremonies’, were not held, the departed will be reborn, in ‘hell’. So once again, ‘debunking’ the Buddha’s theory, of ‘karma’ (unavoidable results, of our intentional actions), the monks carved a path of convenience, and reverence, for themselves.

So, according to Sinhala/Mahavamsa-Buddhism, even a murderer, rapist, child molester, and others as such, could circumvent their bad ‘karma’ and be reborn in ‘heaven’, courtesy alms and gifts, offered to Buddhist monks.

Coming from a family regarded as ‘pillars’ of the Buddhist temple, I have observed and been made to participate, in this ridiculous practice, of alms-givings, since early childhood. My paternal grandmother, in Galle, held an annual alms-giving, at her home, for a hundred corps d’elite of Buddhist monks. She had the best of the most expensive crockery, brass ‘padikkamas’, (spitting pots)’ et al, set aside, for the exclusive use of each of these monks. My grandmother, in Kandy was no different.

Today, no event of significance, for a Sinhala-Buddhist is held, without the patronage and ‘blessings’ of the ‘Maha Sangha’ (Buddhist monks). And our foolish laity, continue to believe, that the more you feed and spoil these ‘people’, the more ‘merit’ they, and their dearly departed, would receive!

Who will convince them otherwise, certainly not the Buddhist clergy!

Mahavamsa- a Sinhala-Buddhist Political Guide

If one was to go by the Mahavamsa, the Sinhala race came about, through a mythical union between a lion and a human princess. Perhaps that explains why, Mahavamsa-Buddhists, are so lethargic and bloodthirsty!

But in reality, the Sinhalese race was a creation of the Buddhist monks of the Mahavihara, who themselves originated from India (unless they were aboriginal Veddhas).

The Mahavihara monk, Mahanama, projected himself as the Messenger of the Buddha- a 1000 years after the passing away of the Buddha himself.

The Mahavamsa was written at a time when all Sinhalese were Buddhists and all Tamils were Hindus, long before other religions were introduced to our country.

So, author Mahanama, designed the Mahavamsa to be, instead of a historical record of the Sinhalese and Tamils of Lanka, as a Buddhist canonical text, for the descendants of a Lion!

He took ‘bits’ and ‘pieces’ from Hinduism viz the caste system, idol-worshipping, astrology, superstition etc., and projected the Buddha as a superhuman, or a God. This made it more appealing, to the average human psyche; as a religion is far easier to deal with than a complex philosophy like Buddhism.

So today, we have Sinhala-Buddhists running around in circles when facing a crisis, between, temples, kovils, churches, mosques and ‘others’ such, as Sai Baba.

Though the author intended the Mahavamsa to be, for the “serene joy of the pious” it contradicts itself, by condoning and equating the killing of human “invaders”, with “sinners, and wild beasts”.

He, Mahanama, in his Mahavamsa justifies, and glorifies the murder by Dutugemunu, of thousands of Tamils he called “invaders”, by equating them with “sinners, and wild beasts”. So, where is Buddhism in that? Thus, how can one regard the Mahavamsa, as a Buddhist guide?

If the Maha Sangha had been sincere, and honest from the outset, they would have disassociated the Mahavamsa, from Buddhism. Had they done so, Buddhism in Sri Lanka today, might have been practised as the Buddha meant it to be; as per the Dhamma.

Therefore it is the linking of Buddhism with the Sinhalese, this text stands for, that has over the years, formed the mentality of the Sinhala-Buddhist psyche. It became a cast or a mould, of the Sinhala-Buddhist racist; a psychological tool, and a political guide of the Sinhala-Buddhists.

The Curse of the Caste System

What made all those Sinhalese who was originally Buddhists, turn to other religions?

The caste system, denounced by the Buddha, has been fostered by none other, than the Buddhist clergy of the Mahavamsa, themselves. They divided themselves between Nikayas, based on caste, and banned those Buddhists, they called ‘low caste’, from entering the temples, they administered.

Therefore, is it any wonder, that those Sinhalese Buddhists, would turn to a more compassionate faith, where caste, creed or ethnicity, has no place? Perhaps those Mahavamsa/Sinhala-Buddhists, like the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), their sponsors and supporters, ought to reflect on what they say and do, and ask themselves, why these Sri Lankans, who were originally Sinhalese Buddhists, renounced Buddhism, and embrace other faiths?

Strangely, in India, it is the ‘low castes’; Harijans/Dalits, once called “untouchables” or “pariahs”, who are Buddhists, and not the Brahmins of India, despite the Buddha, being a Brahmin himself.

To the Brahmins of India, one’s caste was a matter of vital importance, but one of utter indifference to the Buddha. He strongly condemned, the degradation, of the caste system. In his Order, Monks of all castes were united, as do the rivers in the sea. They lost their former names, castes, and clans, and came to be known, as members of One Community– the Sangha.

Once, the Buddha, while begging for alms, approached the house of the Brahmin, Aggikabharadvaja. The Brahmin, seeing the Buddha at a distance, shouted out: “Stay there, you shaveling, stay there you wretched monk, stay there you outcast.” The Buddha, gently asked the Brahmin: “Do you know, Brahmin, who an outcast is, and what are the conditions, that make one an outcast?”

To the dumbstruck Brahmin, the Buddha said, “Birth makes not a man an outcast, Birth makes not a man a Brahmin; Actions make a man an outcast, Actions make a man a Brahmin.” (Sutta-nipâta, 142)

Thus, the Buddha admitted freely, into the Buddhist Order, all those he deemed fit, to lead the holy life, from all walks of life, castes and classes. Some went on to distinguish themselves, in the Buddhist Order. The Buddha was one, who united all those torn apart, by man-made differences, of caste, creed and class.

Today, save a few, where does one find these wise words, of the Buddha, practised by our Sangha, of the Mahavamsa?

Mahavamsa Indoctrination-

I recall my first, school Buddhist textbook, as a six-year-old in Grade-One. The cover of the book was illustrated with a picture, of a fully clothed infant Buddha, walking on lotus blossoms. After querying its significance, I was informed by my ‘Buddhism’ teacher, that the Buddha walked, soon after he was born and informed all, that he would be the greatest. And because of this, lotuses blossomed, with each step he took.

For a child, who was constantly seeing her newborn cousins, not capable of such miracles, this seemed like magic to me. So I asked my teacher, if the Buddha was a magician. I was severely admonished, as a “pow kareya” (sinner), and punished for being irreverent.

From that day forward, I became extremely cautious, of whoever tried to talk Buddhism to me, until I became a lay disciple, from childhood to adulthood, of the late Rev. Piyadassi Maha Thera. My ‘guru’ taught me Buddhism, in its original form, as per the Dhamma, and not its corrupt, Mahavamsa version!

From an early age, the innocent and pure minds, of Sinhalese Buddhist children, are ‘brainwashed’, by foolish parents and teachers, with Sinhala-Buddhist racism; Mahavamsa Buddhism!

They are taught, to regard, the ‘other’, who is not a Sinhala-Buddhist, as “an invader”. They are taught, not to trust this ‘other’, who does not belong to Sri Lanka, and is only a ‘guest’, of the ‘benevolent’ Sinhala-Buddhists.

Thus, they are taught, at an early age, that all Tamils, Muslims, Hindus, Christians (Sinhala Christians included) and others, must be chased away, from Mahavamsa-Buddhist Sri Lanka, just as in ancient times, when King Dutugemunu, killed or  chased away the “invaders”, to Tamil Nadu.

In Mahavamsa Buddhism, there is no place, for the Buddha’s Dhamma, of tolerance and compassion!

My ‘Accidents’ with Mahavamsa-Buddhism

My first school was a Convent, in Galle. Here, I was a very happy child, amidst a mélange of others, of various ethnic groups, and religions, including Buddhism.

With time, my Buddhist family thought it essential, for me to change to a Buddhist school. So there I ended up in an exclusive Sinhalese Buddhist private school for girls, in Colombo.

As an eleven-year-old, coming from a Convent, I was most unprepared for the ‘culture shocks’ that awaited me, at this private Buddhist school!

Coming from a family background, where displaying one’s wealth, was regarded as vulgar, as exposing one’s body, I was horrified, at the liberties afforded to the students, and teachers of this Buddhist school. Some tended to favour, students who displayed, their recently acquired family wealth; decked in gold, and dressed in ‘mini’ uniforms, and flashed money freely. They laughed and ridiculed those who appeared less privileged.

For instance, my father once dropped me in school, in his jeep, on his way to Galle. A teacher seeing this, (ironically it was my ‘Buddhism’ teacher), announced in class, that I had come to school that day, in a lorry. Of course as to be expected, I was ridiculed and made fun of, by most of my classmates. I wondered how they might have treated me, had I come to school, by bus!

The horror of studying ‘Buddhism’, in a Buddhist school, is a story by itself!

What was ‘taught’ as Buddhism, and passed off as ‘teaching’ was in fact, a self-teaching exercise, where we the students, were ordered to memorize, Buddhist verses in Pali, with no meaning of the verses offered, while the teacher napped, at her table.

This is how they ‘taught’ Buddhism, in a Buddhist school, that charged exorbitant fees, from unsuspecting parents, who believed their offspring were receiving, a ‘sound Buddhist education’. All this happened, thirty-five years ago (late 70s), and I sincerely hope, this situation has changed, for the better now.

Severely traumatised, by my horrifying ‘Buddhist school’ experience, my parents moved me back, to a Convent. And once again, I happily found myself amidst, a mélange of girls, of various ethnic groups, and religions.

With Mahavamsa-Buddhism, I seem to be accident-prone!

As a young adult, I came across many, who regarded the iconic Sinhala-Buddhist-Anagarika Dharmapala, as the next best thing, to Lord Buddha. Their hypocritical practice, of Mahavamsa-Buddhism, left a bitter taste, in my mouth, I yet feel to date.

Yet another ‘unfortunate accident’ I met, with Mahavamsa Buddhism, was when I tried to have my young son of eight years, admitted to a ‘Buddhist Sunday School’, at a leading Buddhist temple, in Colombo. The person in charge, of new admittance, was a short-tempered ‘gentleman’ of the Buddhist laity.

This ‘gentleman’ informed me, in an angry and loud voice, that I had no business, as a woman, admitting my son, though I was his mother, to a Buddhist Sunday School. He demanded that my son, be accompanied, by his father, if I wished to have him admitted, to this Buddhist Sunday School!

I wondered how, widows managed to admit their sons, to this Buddhist Sunday School.

Teach Comparative Religion in Schools

As a lay-student, of the world-renowned most Venerable Piyadassi Maha Thera, I consider myself privileged, to have had such an eminent Guru, of the Buddhist order. Rev. Piyadassi, as I referred to him, had been a close friend of my family for generations, with whom we, as a family, had frequent interaction.

Here was a highly educated, intellectual Buddhist prelate, who would insist that we sit with him at table, and have lunch along with him, while I, as a curious teenager, bombarded him with questions on Buddhism, which he answered patiently and clearly. This type of interaction, with such teachers, is what is required today.

With Rev. Piyadassi’s demise in 1998, in my eyes at the time, he left shoes too big to be filled. But now I know better. For there are many Buddhist prelates and monks of his calibre out there, who are worthy of being revered and worshipped, as the true messengers of Lord Buddha’s philosophy, and they are those, who can guide Sri Lanka’s future Buddhist generations, away from Mahavamsa indoctrination, and on to the correct path.

Alas, such genuine Buddhist prelates and monks, never make news, and are often found in jungles, in deep meditation.

If Sri Lanka’s incumbent President, sincerely wishes to safeguard and foster Buddhism, in its pristine form, then it is his bounden duty, to bring forth a system, whereby our impressionable younger and future generations, are taught the Dhamma, by intelligent and educated Buddhist prelates, as opposed to that stick-in-the-mud, Mahavamsa-Buddhist monks, who by no stretch of one’s imagination, are pristine models of Buddhism, to do the job.

The incumbent President has assured more than once, of “religious freedom for all communities, by enhancing interreligious harmony and tolerance”. If he is sincere, then he ought to consider introducing the subject of ‘Comparative Religion’, to all schools, whereby all would understand, the religion of the other.

This would ensure, from an early age, a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophy of different religions, practised in Sri Lanka, and that no religion, is above the other.

A child, who has undertaken such a course of study, will undoubtedly have a much deeper understanding of human beliefs and practices, and therefore be more tolerant of each other; not feel threatened by the religion of the other.

This would ideally lead, to our ultimate dream, of a peaceful Sri Lanka, for one and all!

However, the question begs, are our politicians selfless and sincere enough, to take up such a challenge?


Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!

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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

1 Comment

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan / January 15, 2016
    3 0
    Essentially every child is a Buddha, but child’s Buddhahood, child’s innocence, is natural, not earned. Child’s innocence is a kind of ignorance, not a realization. Child’s innocence is unconscious — Child is not aware of it, Child is not mindful of it, Child has not taken any note of it. It is there but Child is oblivious. Child is going to lose it. Child has to lose it. Paradise will be lost sooner or later; Child is on the way towards it. Every child has to go through all kinds of corruption, impurity — the world.
    The child’s innocence is the innocence of Adam before he was expelled from the garden of Eden, before he had tasted the fruit of knowledge, before he became conscious. It is animal-like. Look into the eyes of any animal — a cow, a dog — and there is purity, the same purity that exists in the eyes of a Buddha, but with one difference.
    And the difference is vast too: a Buddha has come back home; the animal has not yet left home. The child is still in the Garden of Eden, is still in paradise. He will have to lose it — because to gain one has to lose. Buddha has come back home…the whole circle. He went away, he was lost, he went astray, he went deep into darkness and sin and misery and hell. Those experiences are part of maturity and growth. Without them you don’t have any backbone, you are spineless. Without them your innocence is very fragile; it cannot stand against the winds, it cannot bear storms. It is very weak, it cannot survive. It has to go through the fire of life — a thousand and one mistakes committed, a thousand and one times you fall, and you get back on your feet again. All those experiences slowly, slowly ripen you, make you mature; you become a grown-up.
    Buddha’s innocence is that of a mature person, utterly mature.
    Childhood is nature unconscious; buddhahood is nature conscious. The childhood is a circumference with no idea of the center. The Buddha is also a circumference, but rooted in the center, centered. Childhood is unconscious anonymity; buddhahood is conscious anonymity. Both are nameless, both are formless…but the child has not known the form yet and the misery of it.
    It is like you have never been in a prison, so you don’t know what freedom is. Then you have been in the prison for many years, or many lives, and then one day you are released…you come out of the prison doors dancing, ecstatic! And you will be surprised that people who are already outside, walking on the street, going to their work, to the office, to the factory, are not enjoying their freedom at all — they are oblivious, they don’t know that they are free. How can they know? Because they have never been in prison they don’t know the contrast; the background is missing.
    It is as if you write with a white chalk on a white wall — nobody will ever be able to read it. What to say about anybody else — even you will not be able to read what you have written.
    If you write on a white wall even you yourself will not be able to read it, but if you write on a blackboard it comes loud and clear — you can read it. The contrast is needed. The child has no contrast; he is a silver lining without the black cloud.
    Buddha is a silver lining in the black cloud.
    In the day there are stars in the sky; they don’t go anywhere — they can’t go so fast, they can’t disappear. They are already there, the whole day they are there, but in the night you can see them because of darkness. They start appearing; as the sun sets they start appearing. As the sun goes deeper and deeper below the horizon, more and more stars are bubbling up. They have been there the whole day, but because the darkness was missing it was difficult to see them.
    A child has innocence but no background. You cannot see it, you cannot read it; it is not very loud. A Buddha has lived his life, has done all that is needed — good and bad — has touched this polarity and that, has been a sinner and a saint. Remember, a Buddha is not just a saint; he has been a sinner and he has been a saint. And buddhahood is beyond both. Now he has come back home.
    That’s why Buddha said “There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no knowledge, no attainment, and no non-attainment.” When Buddha became awakened he was asked: “What have you attained?” And he laughed, and he said: “I have not attained anything — I have only discovered what has always been the case. I have simply come back home. I have claimed that which was always mine and was with me. So there is no attainment as such, I have simply recognized it. It is not a discovery, it is a re-discovery. And when you become a Buddha you will see the point — nothing is gained by becoming a Buddha. Suddenly you see that this is your nature. But to recognize this nature you have to go astray, you have to go deep into the turmoil of the world. You have to enter into all kinds of muddy places and spaces just to see your utter cleanliness, your utter purity.
    Only a perfect ego has the capacity to disappear, not an imperfect ego. When the fruit is ripe it falls; when the fruit is unripe it clings. If you are still clinging to the ego, remember, the fruit is not ripe; hence the clinging. If the fruit is ripe, it falls to the ground and disappears. So is the case with the ego.
    Now a paradox: that only a really evolved ego can surrender.
    Ordinarily you think that an egoist cannot surrender. That is not the observation of Buddhas down the ages. Only a perfect egoist can surrender. Because only he knows the misery of the ego, only he has the strength to surrender. He has known all the possibilities of the ego and has gone into immense frustration. He has suffered a lot, and he knows enough is enough, and he wants any excuse to surrender it. The excuse may be God, the excuse may be a master, or any excuse, but he wants to surrender it. The burden is too much and he has been carrying it for long.
    People who have not developed their egos can surrender, but their surrender will not be perfect, it will not be total. Something deep inside will go on clinging, something deep inside will still go on hoping: “Maybe there is something in the ego. Why are you surrendering?”
    In the East, the ego has not been developed well. Because of the teaching of egolessness, a misunderstanding arose that if the ego has to be surrendered, then why develop it, for what? A simple logic: if it has to be renounced one day, then why bother? Then why make so much effort to create it? It has to be dropped! So the East has not bothered much in developing the ego. And the Eastern mind finds it very easy to bow down to anybody. It finds it very easy, it is always ready to surrender. But the surrender is basically impossible, because you don’t yet have the ego to surrender it.
    You will be surprised: all the great Buddhas in the East have been kshatriyas, from the warrior race — Buddha, Mahavira, Parshwanath, Neminath. All the twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas belong to the warrior race, and all the avataras of the Hindus belonged to the kshatriya race — Ram, Krishna — except one, Parashuram, who was, accidentally it seems, born to a brahmin family, because you cannot find a greater warrior than him. It must have been some accident — his whole life was a continuous war.
    It is a surprise when you come to know that not a single brahmin has ever been declared a Buddha, an avatara, a tirthankara. Why? The brahmin is humble; from the very beginning he has been brought up in humbleness, for humbleness. Egolessness has been taught to him from the very beginning, so the ego is not ripe, and unripe egos cling.
    In the East people have very, very fragmentary egos, and they think it is easy to surrender.
    They are always ready to surrender to anybody. A drop of a hat and they are ready to surrender — but their surrender never goes very deep, it remains superficial.
    Just the opposite is the case in the West: people who come from the West have very, very strong and developed egos. Because the whole Western education is to create an evolved, well-defined, well-cultured, sophisticated ego, they think it is very difficult to surrender. They have not even heard the word surrender. The very idea looks ugly, humiliating. But the paradox is that when a Western man or woman surrenders, the surrender goes really deep. It goes to the very core of his or her being, because the ego is very evolved. The ego is evolved; that’s why you think it is very difficult to surrender. But if surrender happens it goes to the very core, it is absolute. In the East people think surrender is very easy, but the ego is not so evolved so it never goes very deep.
    A Buddha is one who has gone into the experiences of life, the fire of life, the hell of life, and has ripened his ego to its ultimate possibility, to the very maximum. And in that moment the ego falls and disappears. Again you are a child; it is a rebirth, it is a resurrection. First you have to be on the cross of the ego, you have to suffer the cross of the ego, and you have to carry the cross on your own shoulders — and to the very end. Ego has to be learned; only then can you unlearn it. And then there is great joy. When you are free from the prison you have a dance, a celebration in your being. You cannot believe why people who are out of prison are going so dead and dull and dragging themselves. Why are they not dancing? Why are they not celebrating? They cannot: they have not known the misery of the prison.
    These seven doors have to be used before you can become a Buddha. You have to go to the darkest realm of life, to the dark night of the soul, to come back to the dawn when the morning rises again, the sun rises again, and all is light.
    But it rarely happens that you have a fully developed ego.
    If you understand me, then the whole structure of education should be paradoxical: first they should teach you the ego — that should be the first part of education, the half of it; and they should then teach you egolessness, how to drop it — that will be the latter half. People enter from one door or two doors or three doors and get caught up in a certain fragmentary ego.
    The first is the bodily self. The child starts learning slowly, slowly: it takes near about fifteen months for the child to learn that he is separate, that there is something inside him and something outside. He learns that he has a body separate from other bodies. But a few people remain clinging to that very, very fragmentary ego for their whole lives. These are the people who are known as materialists, communists, Marxists.
    The people who believe that the body is all — that there is nothing more than the body inside you, that the body is your whole existence, that there is no consciousness separate from the body, above the body, that consciousness is just a chemical phenomenon happening in the body, that you are not separate from the body and when the body dies you die, and all disappears…dust unto dust…there is no divinity in you — they reduce man to matter.
    These are the people who remain clinging to the first door; their mental age seems to be only fifteen months. The very, very rudimentary and primitive ego remains materialist. These people remain hung up with two things: sex and food. But remember, when I say materialist, communist, Marxist, I do not mean that this completes the list. Somebody may be a spiritualist and may still be clinging to the first….
    For example, Mahatma Gandhi: if you read his autobiography, he calls his autobiography My Experiments With Truth.. But if you go on reading his autobiography you will find the name is not right; he should have given it the name My Experiments With Food And Sex. Truth is nowhere to be found. He is continuously worried about food: what to eat, what not to eat. His whole worry seems to be about food, and then about sex: how to become a celibate — this runs as a theme, this is the undercurrent. Continuously, day and night, he is thinking about food and sex — one has to get free. Now he is not a materialist — he believes in soul, he believes in God. In fact, because he believes in God he is thinking so much about food — because if he eats something wrong and commits a sin, then he will be far away from God.
    He talks about God but thinks about food.
    And that is not only so with him, it is so with all the Jaina monks. He was under much impact from Jaina monks. He was born in Gujarat. Gujarat is basically Jaina, Jainism has the greatest impact on Gujarat. Even Hindus are more like Jainas in Gujarat than like Hindus. Gandhi is ninety percent a Jaina — born in a Hindu family, but his mind is conditioned by Jaina monks. They are continuously thinking about food.
    And then the second idea arises, of sex — how to get rid of sex. For his whole life, to the very end, he was concerned about it — how to get rid of sex. In the last year of his life he was experimenting with nude girls and sleeping with them, just to test himself, because he was feeling that death was coming close, and he had to test himself to see whether there was still some lust in him.
    The country was burning, people were being killed: Muslims were killing Hindus, Hindus were killing Muslims — the whole country was on fire. And he was in the very middle of it, in Novakali — but his concern was sex. He was sleeping with girls, nude girls; he was testing himself, testing whether brahmacharya, his celibacy, was perfect yet or not.
    But why this suspicion? — Because of long repression. The whole life he had been repressing. Now, in the very end, he had become afraid — because at that age he was still dreaming about sex. So he was very suspicious: would he be able to face his God? He was a very primitive materialist. His concern was food and sex.
    Whether you are for it or against it doesn’t matter — your concern shows where your ego is hanging. A capitalist’s whole concern is how to gather money, hoard money — because money has power over matter. You can purchase any material thing through money. You cannot purchase anything spiritual, you cannot purchase anything that has any intrinsic value; you can purchase only things. If you want to purchase love, you cannot purchase; but you can purchase sex.
    Sex is the material part of love. Through money, matter can be purchased, possessed.
    The communist and the capitalist both in the same category, and they are enemies, but their concern is the same. The capitalist is trying to hoard money, the communist is against it. He wants that nobody should be allowed to hoard money except the state. But his concern is also money, he is also continuously thinking about money. It is not an accident that Marx had given the name Das Kapital to his book on communism, Capital. That is the communist Bible, but the name is Capital. That is their concern: how not to allow anybody to hoard money so the state can hoard, and how to possess the state — so, in fact, basically, ultimately, you hoard the money. The communist mind is basically a capitalist mind; the capitalist mind is basically a communist mind. They are partners in the same game — the game’s name is capital, Das Kapital.
    Many people, millions of people, only evolve this primitive ego, very rudimentary. If you have this ego it is very difficult to surrender; it is very unripe.
    The second door is self-identity.
    The child starts growing an idea of who he is. Looking in the mirror, he finds the same face. Every morning, getting up from the bed, he runs to the bathroom, looks, and he says: “Yes, it is I. The sleep has not disturbed anything.” He starts having an idea of a continuous self.
    Those people who become too involved with this door, get hooked with this door, are the so-called spiritualists who think that they are going into paradise, heaven, moksha, but that they will be there. When you think about heaven, you certainly think of yourself that as you are here, you will be there too. Maybe the body will not be there, but your inner continuity will remain. That is absurd! That liberation, that ultimate liberation happens only when the self is dissolved and all identity is dissolved. You become an emptiness….
    That idea that the child has of self-continuity is carried by the spiritualists. They go on searching: from where does the soul enter into the body, from where does the soul go out of the body, what form does the soul have, planchettes and mediums, things like that — all rubbish and nonsense. The self has no form. It is pure nothingness, it is vast sky without any clouds in it. It is a thoughtless silence, unconfined, uncontained by anything.
    That idea of a permanent soul, the idea of a self, continues to play games in your minds.
    Even if the body dies, you want to be certain that: “I will live.”
    Many people used to come to Buddha…because this country has been dominated by this second kind of ego: people believe in the permanent soul, eternal soul, aatman — they would come to Buddha again and again and say: “When I die, will something remain or not?” And Buddha would laugh and he would say: “There is nothing right now, so why bother about death? There has never been anything from the very beginning.” And this was inconceivable to the Indian mind.
    The Indian mind is predominantly hooked with the second type of ego. That’s why Buddhism could not survive in India. Within five hundred years, Buddhism disappeared. It found better roots in China, because of Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu had created really a beautiful field for Buddhism there. The climate was ready — as if somebody had prepared the ground; only the seed was needed. And when the seed reached China it grew into a great tree. But from India it disappeared. Lao Tzu had no idea of any permanent self, and in China people have not bothered much.
    There are these three cultures in the world: one culture, called the materialist — very predominant in the West; another culture, called the spiritualist — very predominant in India; and China has a third kind of culture, neither materialist nor spiritualist. It is Taoist: live the moment and don’t bother for the future, because to bother about heaven and hell and paradise and moksha is basically to be continuously concerned about yourself. It is very selfish, it is very self-centered. According to Lao Tzu, according to Buddha too, and according to me also, a person who is trying to reach heaven is a very, very self-centered person, very selfish. And he does not know a thing about his own inner being — there is no self.
    The third door was self-esteem: the child learns to do things and enjoys doing them.
    A few people get hooked there — they become technicians, they become performers, actors, they become politicians, they become the showmen. The basic theme is the doer; they want to show the world that they can do something. If the world allows them some creativity, good. If it does not allow them creativity, they become destructive.
    The criminal and the politician are not very far away, they are cousin-brothers. If the criminal is given the right opportunity he will become a politician, and if the politician is not given the right opportunity to have his say, he will become a criminal. They are border cases. Any moment, the politician can become a criminal and the criminal can become a politician. And this has been happening down the ages, but we don’t yet have that insight to see into things.
    The fourth door was self-extension. The word “mine” is the key word there. One has to extend oneself by accumulating money, by accumulating power, by becoming bigger and bigger and bigger: the patriot who says: “This is my country, and this is the greatest country in the world.” You can ask the Indian patriot: he goes on shouting from every nook and corner that this is punya bhumi — this is the land of virtue, the purest land in the world.
    India is the only country where so many Buddhas were born, so many avatars, so many Tirthankaras — Rama, Krishna and others. Why? – if in the neighbourhood you see that in somebody’s house a doctor comes every day — sometimes a vaidya, a physician, an acupuncturist, and the naturopath, and this and that — what do you understand by it?”
    Simple! That the family is ill.
    That is the case with India: so many Buddhas needed — the country seems to be utterly ill and pathological.
    So many healers, so many physicians. Buddha has said: “I am a physician.” And you know that Krishna has said: “Whenever there is darkness in the world, and whenever there is sin in the world, and whenever the law of the cosmos is disturbed, I will come back.” So why had he come that time? It must have been for the same reason. And why so many times in India?
    But the patriot is arrogant, aggressive, and egoistic. He goes on declaring: “My country is special, my religion is special, my church is special, my book is special, my guru is special” — and everything is nothing. This is just ego claiming.
    A few people get hooked with this “mine” — the dogmatist, the patriot, the Hindu, the Christian, the Mohammedan.
    The fifth door is self-image. The child starts looking into things, experiences. When the parents feel good with the child, he thinks: “I am good.” When they pat him he feels: “I am good.” When they look with anger, they shout at him and they say: “Don’t do that!” he feels: “Something is wrong in me.” He recoils.
    A small child was asked in school on the first day he entered: “What is your name?”
    He said: “Johnny Don’t.”
    The teacher was puzzled. He said: “Johnny Don’t? Never heard such a name!”
    He said: “Whenever, whatsoever I am doing, this is my name — my mother shouts: ‘Johnny don’t!’ My father shouts: ‘Johnny don’t!’ So I think this is my name. ‘Don’t’ is always there. What I am doing is irrelevant.”
    The fifth is the door from where morals enter: you become a moralist; you start feeling very good, “holier than thou.” Or, in frustration, in resistance, in struggle, you become an immoralist and you start fighting with the whole world, to show the whole world.
    Either the child is accepted — then he feels good, then he is ready to do anything the parents want; or, if again and again he is frustrated, then he starts thinking in terms of: “There is no possibility that I can receive their love, but still I need their attention. If I cannot get their attention through the right way, I will get their attention through the wrong way. Now I will smoke, I will masturbate, I will do harm to myself and to others, and I will do all kinds of things that they say ‘Don’t do,’ but I will keep them occupied with me. I will show them.”
    This is the fifth door, the self-image. Sinner and saint are hooked there. Heaven and hell are the ideas of people who are hooked there. Millions of people are hooked. They are continuously afraid of hell and continuously greedy for heaven. They want to be patted by God, and they want God to say to them: “You are good, my son. I am happy with you.” They go on sacrificing their lives just to be patted by some fantasy somewhere beyond life and death. They go on doing a thousand and one tortures to themselves just in order that God can say: “Yes, you sacrificed yourself for me.”
    It seems as if God is a masochist or a sadist, or something like that.
    People torture themselves with the idea that they will be making God happy. What do you mean by this? You fast and you think God will be very happy with you? You starve yourself and you think God will be very happy with you? Is he a sadist? Does he enjoy torturing people? And that is what saints, so-called saints, have been doing: torturing themselves and looking at the sky. Sooner or later God will say: “Good boy, you have done well. Now come and enjoy the heavenly pleasures. Come here! Wine flows here in rivers, and roads are of gold, and palaces are made of diamonds. And the women here never age, they remain stuck at sixteen. Come here! You have done enough, you have earned, now you can enjoy!” The whole idea behind sacrifice is this. It is a foolish idea, because all ego ideas are foolish.
    The sixth is the self as reason. It comes through education, experience, reading, learning, and listening: you start accumulating ideas, and then you start creating systems out of ideas, consistent wholes, and philosophies. This is where the philosophers, the scientists, the thinkers, the intellectuals, the rationalists are hooked. But this is becoming more and more sophisticated: from the first, the sixth is very sophisticated.
    The seventh is propriate striving: the artist, the mystic, the utopian, the dreamer — they are hooked there. They are always trying to create an utopia in the world. The word “utopia” is very beautiful: it means “that which never comes.” It is always coming but it never comes; it is always there but never here. But there are moon-gazers who go on looking for the faraway, the distant, and they are always moving in imagination. Great poets, imaginative people — their whole ego is involved in becoming. There is somebody who wants to become God; he is a mystic.
    Remember, “becoming” is the keyword on the seventh, and the seventh is the last of the ego. The most mature ego comes there. That’s why you will feel, you will see a poet — he may not have anything, he may be a beggar, but in his eyes, on his nose, you will see the great ego. The mystic may have renounced the whole world and maybe sitting in a Himalayan cage, in a Himalayan cave. You go there and look at him: he may be sitting there naked — but such a subtle ego, such a refined ego. He may even touch your feet, but he is showing: “Look how humble I am!”
    There are seven doors. When the ego is perfect, all these seven doors have been crossed; then that mature ego drops on its own accord. The child is before these seven egos, and the Buddha is after these seven egos. It is a complete circle.
    Buddha has moved into all these seven egos — seen them, looked into them, found that they are illusory, and has come back home, has become a child again. That’s what Jesus means when he says: “Unless you become like small children, you will not enter into my kingdom of God.”
    Ego starts growing as the child grows. The parents, the schools, colleges, university, they all help to strengthen the ego for the simple reason that for centuries man had to struggle to survive and the idea has become a fixation, a deep unconscious conditioning, that only strong egos can survive in the struggle of life. Life has become just a struggle to survive. And scientists have made it even more convincing with the theory of the survival of the fittest. So we help every child to become stronger in the ego, and it is there that the problem arises. As the ego becomes strong it starts surrounding intelligence like a thick layer of darkness. Intelligence is light, ego is darkness. Intelligence is very delicate, ego is very hard. Intelligence is like a rose flower, ego is like a rock. And if you want to survive, they say – the so-called knowers – then you have to become rock-like, you have to be strong, invulnerable. You have to become a citadel, a closed citadel, so you cannot be attacked from outside. You have to become impenetrable. But then you become closed. Then you start dying as far as your intelligence is concerned because intelligence needs the open sky, the wind, the air, the sun in order to grow, to expand, to flow. To remain alive it needs a constant flow; if it becomes stagnant it becomes slowly a dead phenomenon. Happiness is threatening and misery is safe – safe for the ego. Ego can exist only in misery and through misery. Ego is an island surrounded by hell; happiness is threatening to the ego, to the very existence of the ego. Happiness rises like a sun and the ego disappears, evaporates like a dewdrop on the grass leaf. Happiness is the death of the ego. If you want to remain a separate entity from existence as almost everybody is trying to do, you will be afraid of being blissful, cheerful. You will feel guilty of being blissful. You will feel suicidal because you are committing suicide on the psychological level, on the level of the ego. It almost always happens that people enjoy a few moments and then afterwards feel very guilty. The guilt arises because of the ego. The ego starts torturing them, “What are you doing? Have you decided to kill me? And I am your only treasure. Killing me? You will be destroyed. Killing me is destroying you.” Try to understand the ego. Analyze it, dissect it, watch it, observe it, from as many angles as possible. And don’t be in a hurry to sacrifice it, otherwise the greatest egoist is born: the person who thinks he is humble, the person who thinks that he has no ego. That’s what the religious people have been doing down the ages – pious egoists they have been. They have made their ego even more decorated; it has taken the color of religion and holiness. Your ego is better than the ego of a saint; your ego is better, far better – because your ego is very gross, and the gross ego can be understood and dropped more easily than the subtle. The subtle ego goes on playing such games that it is very difficult. One will need absolute awareness to watch it. Misery has many things to give to you which happiness cannot give. On the contrary, happiness takes away many things from you. In fact, happiness takes all that you have ever had, all that you have ever been; happiness destroys you. Misery nourishes your ego, and happiness is basically a state of egolessness. That is the problem, the very crux of the problem. That’s why people find it very difficult to be happy. That’s why millions of people in the world have to live in misery, have decided to live in misery. It gives you a very, very crystallized ego. Miserable, you are. Happy, you are not. In misery: crystallization; in happiness, you become diffused. If this is understood then things become very clear. Misery makes you special. Happiness is a universal phenomenon; there is nothing special about it. Love and ego cannot go together. Knowledge and ego go together perfectly well, but love and ego cannot go together, not at all. They cannot keep company. They are like darkness and light: if light is there darkness cannot be. Darkness can only be if light is not there. If love is not there the ego can be; if love is there the ego cannot be. And vice versa, if ego is dropped, love arrives from all the directions. It simply starts pouring in you from everywhere. The Ego Feeds off Your Desire to Be Something Else. Where does the ego get its energy? The ego feeds off your desire to be something else. You are poor and you want to be rich – the ego is absorbing energy, its life-breath. You are ignorant and you want to become a wise one – the ego is absorbing energy. You are a wretched nobody and you want to become powerful – the ego is absorbing energy. Understand the process of the ego. How does the ego live? The ego lives in the tension between what you are and what you want to be. A wants to be B – the ego is created out of this very tension. How does the ego die? The ego dies by you accepting what you are. That you say, “I am fine as I am, where I am is good. I will remain just as existence keeps me. Its will is my will.” When you have dropped all the tension about the future – that I should become this and I should become that – the ego evaporates. The ego lives on a base of the past and the future. Understand this a little. The claims of the ego are of the past, “I did this, I did that” – it is all in the past. And the ego says, “I will definitely accomplish this, I will definitely show you that I can accomplish that.” That is all in the future. The ego simply does not exist in the present. If you come to the present, then the ego disappears. That is death to the ego. Coming to the present is the death of the ego. The ego exists through friction. Have an ideal, and you will become an egoist. The idealist is an egoist. Have a bigger ideal, and you will be a bigger egoist. The greater the ideal, the greater the ego, because the greater is the friction. The ego is created by friction between the real and the ideal. Now you may have the ideal of egolessness – that doesn’t matter. You may say, “But I have the ideal of being egoless” – it does not matter, the ideal brings the ego. Now your idea of egolessness will bring great ego. So the real egoists are those who think they are humble people, who pretend that they are egoless.
    The man who is egoless is the man who has no ideals. Let this be the criterion, and you have stumbled upon a fundamental. The man of no ego is the man of no ideals. Then how can the ego be created? – the very energy is missing. The energy comes out of friction, conflict, struggle, will.
    When you accept your life – when you take your breakfast, and when you sleep and when you walk and when you take your bath – how can you create an ego out of these things? Sleeping when feeling sleepy, eating when feeling hungry, how can you create your ego? No, if you fast, you can create ego. If you are on vigilance for the whole night, and you say, “I am not going to sleep,” you can create the ego. By the morning, the person who has slept well will have no ego, you will have a great ego. But the ego does not want to be whole; because once you are whole the ego cannot exist. The ego exists only in the split. When you are fighting with yourself, the ego exists. The ego always exists through conflict; conflict is its food, nourishment. So if you are whole, the ego cannot exist. You can watch it. You can go and watch the criminals – they have their ego, you can go and watch your saints – they have their ego: the ego of the good and the ego of the bad. But if you can find a man who has no ego, he will be neither a sinner nor a saint, he will be very simple. He will not claim anything good or bad; he will not claim at all. The ego is created by the rift. When you are fighting, the ego comes in; when you are not fighting, the ego cannot come in. Ego is a tension. If you want the ego, then divide yourself as fully as possible – become two persons. That is what is happening to many people, that is what has happened to whole of humanity. Everybody has become two persons: one voice says “Do this,” the other voice says “Don’t do that” – then the ego arises. Out of friction ego arises, and ego is very intoxicating; it makes you unconscious. This is the whole mechanism.
    I am’ is nothing but another name for the ego. Now you will be getting into trouble. If the ego is convinced that the only way is to drop the ego, then who is going to drop whom? And how? It will be like pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings. You will look just silly. Watch each word that you use. ‘I am’ is nothing but the ego.
    The second thing: nobody has ever been able to drop the ego because ego is not a reality that you can drop; anything to be dropped at least has to be real, substantial. Ego is just a notion, an idea. You cannot drop it, you can only understand it. Can you drop your shadow? You can run as fast as you want but your shadow will run at the same speed, exactly the same speed. You cannot drop the ego. Once you start trying to drop the ego you will get in a very deep mess; you will become more and more worried and puzzled. And this is not the way to get rid of the ego. The only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it.”
    So when you do something, watch, be alert. And if it leads to misery, then you know well that it was ego. Then the next time, be alert, don’t listen to that voice. If it is nature, it will lead you towards a blissful state of mind. Nature is always beautiful, ego always ugly. There is no other way but trial and error. Life is subtle and complex and all criteria fall short. You will have to make your own efforts to judge. So whenever you do something, listen to the voice from within. Make a note of it, of where it leads. If it leads to misery, it was certainly from the ego. If your love leads to misery, it was from the ego. If your love leads to a beautiful benediction, blessedness, it was from nature. If your friendship, even your meditation, leads you to misery, it was from the ego. If it were from nature everything would fit in, everything would become harmonious. Nature is wonderful, nature is beautiful, but you have to work it out. Always make a note of what you are doing and where it leads. By and by, you will become aware of that which is ego and that which is nature; which is real and which is false. It will take time and alertness, observation. And don’t deceive yourself – because only ego leads to misery, nothing else. Don’t throw the responsibility on the other; the other is irrelevant. Your ego leads to misery, nobody else leads you into misery. Ego is the gate of hell, and the natural, the authentic, the reality that comes from your center, is the door to heaven. You will have to find it and work it out. 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 and subtle ways. This is something basic to be understood – the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained 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 and 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 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? When you are in anger, in passion, violent, aggressive, you feel a crystallized ego within you. Whenever you are in love, in compassion, it is not there. That’s why we cannot love, because with the ego, love is impossible. That’s why we go on talking so much about love, but we never are in love. And whatsoever we call love is more or less sex, it is not love; because you cannot lose your ego, and love cannot exist unless the ego has disappeared. Love, meditation, godliness, they all require one thing – the ego must not be there. That’s why saying that Love is Lord Shiva is right, because both phenomena happen only when the ego is not. The child is born with a Self but not with an ego. The child develops the ego. As he becomes more and more social and related, ego develops. This ego is just on your periphery where you are related with others – just on the boundary of your being. So ego is the periphery of your being, and Self is the center. The child is born with a Self, but unaware. He is a Self, but he is not conscious of the Self. The first awareness of the child comes with his ego. He becomes aware of the “I”, not of the Self. Really, he becomes aware first of the “thou”. The child first becomes aware of his mother. Then, reflectively, he becomes aware of himself. First he becomes aware of objects around him. Then, by and by, he begins to feel that he is separate. This feeling of separation gives the feeling of ego, and because the child first becomes aware of the ego, ego becomes a covering on the Self. Then ego goes on growing, because the society needs you as an ego, not as a Self. The Self is irrelevant for the society; your periphery is meaningful. And there are many problems. The ego can be taught and the ego can be made docile and the ego can be forced to be obedient. The ego can be made to adjust, but not the Self. The Self cannot be taught, the Self cannot be forced. The Self is intrinsically rebellious, individual. It cannot be made a part of society. Everybody, even a religious man, has his own ego. Even while declaring, “I am just dust underneath your feet,” you are gathering ego. The ego and the personality have to be dropped, then you will find individuality arising…a feeling of uniqueness. Yes, you are unique. Everybody else is also unique. In this world only unique people exist, so comparison is just stupid because you alone are like yourself. There is nobody like you, so how to compare? There are only two states of consciousness that exist – the state of the ego and the state of love. The ego is the narrow state, the seed-form, the atomic stage; love is all-encompassing, love is God. The center of the ego is I; the ego exists for itself. The nectar of love is the universe. Love exists for all. The ego is exploitation; love is service. And the service that flows from love, freely and spontaneously, is non-violence.

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