But when I say it is a fiction I don’t mean it is unnecessary. It is a necessary fiction, it is useful; otherwise how are you going to address people? If you want to write a letter to somebody, to whom are you going to write?
A small child once wrote a letter to God. His mother was ill and his father had died and they had no money, so he asked God for fifty rupees.
When the letter reached the post office they were at a loss – what to do with it? Where to send it? It was simply addressed to God. So they opened it. They felt very sorry for the little boy and they decided to collect some money and send it to the boy. They collected some money; he had asked for fifty rupees but they could collect only forty.
The next letter came, again addressed to God, and the boy had written, “Dear Sir, please next time when you send the money, send it directly to me, don’t send it through the post office. They have taken their commission – ten rupees!”
It will be difficult if nobody has a name. Although nobody has a name in reality, still it is a beautiful fiction, helpful. And nobody knows it more than I do, because I don’t think anybody in the whole history of humanity has given as many names as I have given. You can count on me!
Names are needed for others to call you, “I” is needed for you to call yourself, but it is just a fiction. If you go deep into yourself you will find the name has disappeared, the idea of “I” has disappeared; there is left only a pure am-ness, isness, existence, being.
And that being is not separate, it is not yours and mine; that being is the being of all. Rocks, rivers, mountains, trees, all are included. It is all-inclusive, it excludes nothing. The whole past, the whole future, this immense universe, everything is included in it. The deeper you go into yourself, the more and more you will find that persons don’t exist, that individuals don’t exist. Then what exists is a pure universalness. On the circumference we have names, egos, identities. When we jump from the circumference towards the center, all those identities disappear.
The ego is just a useful fiction. Use it, but don’t be deceived by it.
You also ask, “Remaining unenlightened, are we always functioning through the ego or are there moments when we are free of it?” Because it is a fiction, there are moments when you are free of it. Because it is a fiction, it can remain there only if you go on maintaining it. A fiction needs great maintenance. Truth needs no maintenance, that is the beauty of truth. But a fiction? You have constantly to paint it, give it a prop here and there – and it is constantly collapsing. By the time you have managed to prop up one side, the other side starts collapsing.