One reaches to knowledge only through suffering. You cannot throw anything just by logical argument. You can throw something only when it has become so painful that it cannot be carried any further. Your ego has not become that painful yet – hence you carry it. It is natural. I cannot persuade you to drop it. Even if you feel persuaded you will hide it, that’s all.
Nothing unripe can be thrown. Unripe fruit clings to the tree and the tree clings to the unripe fruit. If you force it to separate, a wound is left behind. And that scar will continue, the wound will always remain green and you will always feel hurt. Remember, everything has a time to grow, to be ripe, to fall down into the earth and dissolve. Your ego also has a time. It needs maturity.
So don’t be afraid of being egoists. You are, otherwise you would have disappeared long ago – you could not exist. This is the mechanism of life: you have to be egoists, you have to fight your way, you have to fight with so many millions of desires around you, you have to struggle, you have to survive.
Ego is a survival measure. If a child is born without the ego he will die. He cannot survive, it is impossible, because if he feels hunger he will not feel: I am hungry. He will feel there is hunger, but not related to him. The moment hunger is felt, the child feels: I am hungry. He starts crying and making efforts to be fed. The child grows through the growth of his ego.
So to me, ego is part of natural growth. But that doesn’t mean that you have to remain with it forever. It is a natural growth, and then there is a second step when it has to be dropped. That too is natural. But the second step can be taken only when the first has come to its crescendo, its climax, when the first has reached its peak.
So I teach both: I teach ego-ness and I teach egolessness.
First be egoists, perfect egoists, absolute egoists, as if the whole of existence exists for you and you are the center; all the stars revolve around you and the sun rises for you; everything exists for you, just to help you to be here. Be the center, and don’t be afraid, because if you are afraid then you will never be ripe. Accept it. It is part of growth. Enjoy it and bring it to a peak.
When it comes to a peak, suddenly you will become aware that you are not the center. This has been a fallacy, this has been a childish attitude. But you were a child, so nothing is wrong in it. Now you have become mature, and now you see that you are not the center.
Really, when you see that you are not the center, you also see there is no center in existence – or everywhere is the center. Either there is no center and existence exists as a totality, a wholeness without any center as a control point, or every single atom is a center.
Jacob Bohme has said that the whole world is filled with centers, every atom is a center, and there is no circumference – centers everywhere and circumference nowhere. These are the two possibilities. Both mean the same, only the wording is different and contradictory. But first become a center.