All the ascetic nonsense was born because of this: the body will not listen. The body is nature, the body is a part of the cosmic whole, the body has its own laws. Those laws are unconscious; it functions according to them. The mind tries to create its own laws over and above the body. Then a conflict is created. Then the mind starts fighting the body. Then the mind will starve the body; it will try in every way to kill it.
That is what has happened in the past: so-called religious people have been really mad against their bodies. And whatsoever they were doing was less for God and more against the body. Really, to be in search of God became synonymous with being against the body. Religious persons took the attitude, “Kill the body, destroy the body. The body is the enemy.” And really, this is not a religious attitude, but one of the most irreligious attitudes, because it is the most egoistical. This is the ego, the ego feels offended.
You decide not to be angry again, and then anger comes: your ego feels defeated. Your decision is thrown overboard, and the anger comes. And when the anger comes you feel this is coming from the body. You decide against sex and sex comes: you feel offended, so you try to punish the body. Asceticism is nothing but punishment – punishing your own body in order to force it to behave according to the ego.
This mind, this process of thinking, this ego, is just a fragment of your whole total being, and this fragment is trying to be the sovereign. This is not possible, the fragment cannot be the sovereign. It is going to fail; that is why there is so much frustration in life. You can never succeed – you are trying the impossible. The fragment cannot be the sovereign. The whole is bigger and the whole is more powerful.
It is just as if a branch of a tree tries to control the whole tree, even the roots. How can a branch control the whole tree, and how can it force the roots to follow it? That is impossible. Whatsoever it thinks, it is mad; the branch has gone mad. It may go on thinking and dreaming, conceiving of some future where the tree will be following it, but it is not possible; it will have to follow the tree. It is alive only because of the tree and the roots. And the roots were there before it was. The roots are the source of it also.
Your mind is just a fragment of your body; it cannot control it. The very effort to control the body will create frustration and failure. And the whole humanity has been a failure because of this. Everyone is suffering, in conflict, in anguish, in anxiety, trembling, because the impossible is being tried. But the ego always likes to try the impossible. The possible has no challenge for it; the impossible is a challenge. And if the impossible can be done, then the ego will feel very good – because this cannot be done. You can try to do it, but you will waste your life trying that which cannot be done.
Because of this inner effort to become the master, you are identified with the mind. Who would like to be identified with a slave? Who would like to be identified with the unconscious? It is useless. The unconscious is negated because it cannot be grasped. And with the unconscious there is no ego; you cannot feel “I.”