The ego is man-made, manufactured by us. And because it is manufactured by the society, society has power over it. Because it is manufactured by the state and the church, and those who are in power, they can destroy it any moment; it depends on them. You have to be constantly in fear, and you have to be constantly obeying them, conforming to them, so that your ego remains intact. The society gives you respect if you are not an individual. The society honors you if you are not a Jesus, not a Socrates, not a Buddha. It respects you only if you are a sheep, not a man.
The West has completely forgotten how to meditate – and Christianity has been the reason. Christianity has created a very false religion, which knows nothing of meditation. Christianity is very formal; it is a ritual. It is part of the society and the political structure of the society. Karl Marx is perfectly right about it, that it is the opium of the people. Because of Christianity, the West has lost track of its own being. And one cannot live without some idea of one’s self – and if you cannot discover, then create something. It will be false, but something is better than nothing.
What you have been told is utter nonsense. It does not matter who has been telling it – the universities, the politicians, the priests. Certainly, you will be feeling confused, because I am telling you just the opposite: I am telling you to get rid of the ego, because if you get rid of the ego, you get rid of the rock that is preventing the flow of your consciousness.
Your consciousness is there, just behind the rock; it has not to be brought from somewhere else. Remove the rock – real religion consists only of removing that which is unnecessary, and then the necessary starts flowing. That which is unessential has to be removed. And the essential is already there, is already the case! You remove the rock and you will be surprised: you need not create the real self – it reveals itself to you.
And the real has beauty, and the real is deathless. Because it is deathless it has no fear. The unreal is constantly trembling. The ego is always in danger – anybody can destroy it. Because it has been given to you by others, they can take it back. Today they respect you, tomorrow they may not respect you. If you don’t follow their idea of life, if you don’t confirm their style of being, they will withdraw their respect. And you will be flat on the ground…and you will not know who you are.
“I dreamt that I was awakening from another dream – full of cataclysms and turmoil – and that I was waking up in a room which I did not recognize. Dawn was breaking: a faint diffused light outlined the foot of the iron bedstead, the table. I thought fearfully ‘Where am I?’ and realized that I did not know. I thought ‘Who am I?’ and I could not recognize myself. Fear grew within me. I thought, ‘This distressing awakening is already hell, this awakening without a future will be my eternity.’ Then I really awoke, trembling.”