Chapter 7: I’m a Dream-Breaker
When we have a fever and the body is running a temperature, we don’t try to get rid of the fever by bringing down the temperature. We try to reduce the fever and this brings the temperature down. Temperature is only a symptom of the fever, not a disease in itself. It is only an indication, it is not an enemy. What would you call those who begin to battle with temperature itself?
This same kind of nonsense goes on concerning religious life, moral life. Outward indications are mistaken for the enemy, the symptoms are taken for the disease, and we begin to fight with them. This does not help to eliminate the disease, on the contrary it is the patient who will surely be eliminated.
Ego, untruth, violence, lust, anger, greed, infatuation are all indications, symptoms. They are the temperature, not the disease. They are not to be fought against directly; through them we need only to know there is an enemy within. Ignorance of the self is this enemy. It is this ignorance of the self that is expressed in a variety of ways, like ego, untruth, violence, lust, fear and anger. Hence, destroying these cannot destroy the ignorance of the self, because that is the root and these are merely its expressions.
Anyway, these symptoms cannot be destroyed directly. At the most you end up putting plastic flowers of truth over untruth, of non-violence over violence and of fearlessness over fear. You may have decorated yourselves with such flowers, and they may have deceived others, but I hope you are not deceived by them yourself.
The question is not that of getting rid of untruth, violence and fear, but of getting rid of the ignorance of the self. That alone is the problem. They are all there because of this ignorance. Without it they have no existence. If there is no ignorance of the self, all these disappear automatically and in their place arise truth, non-ego, desirelessness, non-anger, non-violence, non-possessiveness. They too are symptoms. They are the symptoms of self-realization.