Chapter 2: Innocence: The Price You Pay for the Failure of Success
And in that moment you will understand that all that you possessed was not yours; the very idea of possession was wrong. And because of that possession you were corrupted.
To increase that possession - to have more money, to have more power, to conquer more lands - you were doing things which even you cannot say were right. You were lying, you were dishonest. You were having hundreds of faces. You were not true even for a single moment to anybody or to yourself; you could not be.
You had to be false, phony, pretending, because these are things that help you to succeed in the world. Authenticity is not going to help you. Honesty is not going to help you. Truthfulness is not going to help you.
Without possessions, success, fame; who are you?
You don’t know.
You are your name, you are your fame, you are your prestige, your power. But other than these, who are you?
So this whole possessiveness becomes your identity. It gives you a false sense of being.
That’s the ego.
Ego is not something mysterious, it is a very simple phenomenon. You don’t know who you are, and to live without knowing who you are is impossible. If I don’t know who I am, then what am I doing here? Then whatsoever I am doing becomes meaningless. The first and the foremost thing is to know who I am. Perhaps then I can do something that fulfills my nature, makes me contented, brings me home.
But if I don’t know who I am, and I go on doing things, how can I manage to reach where my nature was supposed to reach, to lead? I have been running hither and thither but there is not going to be any point that I can say, “Now I have arrived, this was the place I was searching for.”
You don’t know who you are, so some false identity is needed as a substitute. Your possessions give you that false identity.
When Alexander the Great was coming back from India he remembered that his master, Aristotle, had asked him to bring a sannyasin from India. Aristotle had heard about sannyasins. Rumors from business people, travelers, adventurers, were reaching him that a strange kind of man exists in India: the sannyasin. It was absolutely unbelievable because a sannyasin is possible only when a certain civilization reaches its very peak, not before that. A primitive society cannot have sannyasins.
Only a very superior culture, rich, can become fed up with richness, fed up with culture, fed up with civilization. You cannot be fed up with something which you don’t have. To be fed up with something, you need to have it so much that it loses all meaning.