Chapter 2: The Brash Student
Deep down, depth psychologists say that people accumulate followers just to convince themselves that they know. Without followers, how will you convince yourself? There is no way - you are alone! And it is difficult to deceive oneself directly, it is easy to deceive oneself via others. When you talk to someone and you see the light in his eyes, you are convinced that you must have something, otherwise, “Why did this light come to his eyes, his face? He was impressed.” That’s why we hanker so much to impress people. The mind wants to impress people so that it can be impressed via them, and can then believe in its borrowed knowledge as if it is a revelation. Beware of this. This is one of the trickiest traps. Once you fall into it, it will be difficult for you to come out.
A sinner can reach the truth more easily than a scholar, because a sinner feels deep down that he is guilty, he can repent, and he feels he has done something wrong. You cannot find a sinner who is basically happy. He feels the guilt; he has done something wrong and he repents in the unconscious; he wants to undo whatsoever he has done to bring about the balance in his life, and some day or other he will bring the balance. But if you are a scholar, a man of words, theories and philosophies, a great pundit, then it is difficult, because you never feel guilt about your scholarship, you feel happy and egoistic about it.
Remember one thing: whatsoever gives you a feeling of ego is a barrier; whatsoever gives you a feeling of egolessness is the way.
If you are a sinner and you feel guilty, that means your ego is shaken. Through sin you cannot accumulate ego. It has happened many times that a sinner has taken the jump in a moment and has become a saint. It happened to Valmiki, an Indian saint, the first to tell the story of Rama. Valmiki was a robber and a murderer, and in a single moment the transformation happened. It has never happened like that to any pundit ever - and India is a great country of pundits: the brahmins, the scholars. You cannot compete with Indian scholars - they have a long heritage of thousands of years, and they have lived on words and words and words. But it has never happened that a scholar in a single moment took a jump, exploded, was broken from the past and became totally new. It has never happened that way. But it has happened many times with sinners, in a single moment, because deep down they were never able to make arrangements in their ego with whatsoever they were doing. Whatsoever they were doing was ego-shattering - and ego is the wall, the stone wall.
If you feel you are a moralist, a puritan, you will create a subtle ego. If you think you are a knower, you will create a subtle ego. Remember, there is no sin except the ego, so don’t accumulate it; and it is always accumulated through false things, because real things always shatter it. If you really know, the ego disappears; if you don’t know, it accumulates and becomes bigger and bigger and stronger. If you are really a pure man, a religious man, ego disappears; but if you are a puritan, a moralist, then ego is strengthened. This should always be the criterion to judge whether whatsoever you are doing is good or wrong: judge it by the ego. If ego is strengthened, then it is wrong: drop it as soon as you can, drop it immediately! If ego is not strengthened, it is good.