The child is not born with an ego. Ego is being taught by the society, religion, culture. You must have watched little babies: they don’t say, “I am hungry.” If the baby’s name is Bob, he says, “Bob is hungry. Bob wants to go to the toilet.” He has no sense of “I.” He indicates himself also in the third person. Bob is something that people call him, so he also calls himself Bob. But a day will come…as he grows you will start teaching him that this is not right. “Bob is the name for others to call you; you have to stop calling yourself Bob. You are a separate personality, you have to learn to call yourself ‘I.’”
The day Bob becomes “I,” he loses the reality of being and falls into the dark abysmal pit of an hallucination. Once he calls himself “I” there is a totally different energy functioning. Now the “I” wants to grow, it wants to become big; it wants this, it wants that. It wants to rise higher and higher in the world of hierarchies. It wants a bigger territorial imperative.
If somebody has a bigger “I” than you, it creates an inferiority complex in you. You make every effort to be superior-than-thou, holier-than-thou, bigger-than-thou. Now your whole life is dedicated to one stupid thing – which does not exist in the first place. You are on a dream path. You will go on moving, making your “I” bigger, and bigger. And it creates almost all your problems.
Even Alexander the Great had immense problems. The “I” within him wanted to be the world conqueror, and he had almost conquered the world. I say almost for two reasons. In his time, half of the world was not known, America was not known. Secondly, he entered India, but he could not conquer India; he returned from the boundaries.
He was not very old, he was just thirty-three. But in these thirty-three years he had been simply fighting, fighting, fighting. He had become sick, bored with the fight, killing, murder, blood. He wanted to go back home and rest, and even that was not fulfilled. He could not reach his home in Athens. He died just one day before he was supposed to reach Athens; Athens was only twenty-four hours away.
But his whole life’s experience – growing richer, bigger, more and more powerful, and then also feeling an utter helplessness, not even capable of postponing his death for twenty-four hours…. And he had promised his mother that once he had conquered the world he would come and put the whole world at her feet as a gift. No son had done that for any mother before, so it was something absolutely unique that he was going to do.
But he felt helpless, surrounded by the best physicians. They all said, “You cannot survive. This twenty-four hour journey…you will die. It is better to rest here, perhaps there is a chance. But don’t move. We don’t see much chance even for resting – you are drowning. You are getting closer and closer, not to your home, but to your death; not to your home, but to your grave.
“And we cannot help. We can cure sicknesses, we cannot cure death. And this is not sickness. You are almost like a spent cartridge. In thirty-three years you have spent all your life energy in fighting this nation, that nation. You have wasted your life. It is not sickness, it is simply that your life energy is spent, and spent uselessly.”