If suddenly one day in the mirror you see that this is not the face you have always been accustomed to seeing, you will go mad – the balloon is missing. The face is constantly changing, but the change is so slow that you never recognize it. Just go back home and look at the album of your childhood. You know that it is you, which is why you don’t see much difference, but just ponder over it, how much you have changed. The face is not you, because deep down something has remained permanent in you. And your name can be changed; I do it every day. I go on changing your names just to give you the feeling that the name is just a balloon fastened to you, it can be changed, so that you get disidentified with the name.
The ego is nothing but a false substitute for the self. So when you know who you are, there is no possibility of the ego arising again.
You ask me, “Can the thought of enlightenment create an ego?” The thought can create it if it is only a thought. Then in fact it is not good to say that it can create it: the ego is already there, the thought is already thought by the ego. If the ego has disappeared and you have really become enlightened – and that is the meaning of enlightenment: the shift from the ego to the self, the shift from the unreal to the real, the shift from the mind to no mind, the shift from the body to the embodied – once you know who you are, I cannot see that somebody can persuade you to tie a balloon to your feet to remember yourself. It is impossible.
An enlightened person cannot be egoistic, whatsoever he says. Their assertions may look very egoistic to you. Krishna says in the Gita to Arjuna, to his disciple, “Leave everything and come to my feet. I am the very God who has created this world.” Very egoistic… Can you find a more egoistic person? Listen to what Jesus says: “My father in heaven and I are both one.” He is saying, “I am God.” Very egoistic… Mansoor declared, “I am truth, the very truth, the ultimate truth” – “ana'l haq.” Mohammedans were very much annoyed; they killed him. Jews killed Jesus. Very egoistic assertions? The Upanishads say, “Aham brahmasmi” – “I am the whole, the total.”
But they are not egoistic; you misunderstand them. Whatsoever they are saying is true.
I have heard about one man who was worried very much about his inferiority complex, so he went to an Adlerian psychoanalyst. And he said to the psychoanalyst, “I am suffering very much from an inferiority complex. Can you help me?”
The psychologist looked at him and said, “But you are inferior. It is not a question of inferiority complex; you are inferior, so what can I do?”
When Krishna says, “I am God,” he is – he is not being egoistic. What he can do? If he says, “I am not,” that will be untrue. If he behaves politely, as the so-called mahatmas do – that I am just dust underneath your feet – he will be untrue, he will be false. He will be hiding the fact. When Mansoor says, “I am the truth,” he is.
But the problem is not with Mansoor, Krishna, or Jesus; the problem is with you. You cannot understand the language of no ego. You go on interpreting it in your own ways.
Let me tell you one anecdote: