The first question:
You appear to devote your life to helping other people; but people around you appear only interested in helping themselves. If their aim is to lose their egos, is not a better method to lose oneself in helping others?
This is from a new seeker. Because she is new, she cannot understand what is happening here.
The first thing to remember: you can help others only when you have helped yourself, not before it. You can help others only when you have disappeared, not before it. You cannot lose your ego by helping others. You can lose your ego, and then you can help others. In fact, if you have the ego already there and you help others, you will attain to a very cultivated, subtle, pious ego – that’s all. Egolessness won’t come through it. The ego will become religious, and when a poison becomes religious, it becomes more dangerous.
I am helping you because I am not. You are here to help yourself in the first place. When you disappear, then in fact there is no need to help others; it happens of its own accord.
Let me tell you an anecdote: A woman always attended church, and after each sermon would remark, “My, they certainly did need the message this morning.” One snowy Sunday morning, she was the only one in the congregation. The minister delivered his message anyway. He walked with her to the door, where she said, “My, they certainly would have needed it if they had been here.” The message is for you. Don’t play tricks with yourself; don’t start a new ego-trip. It is not for them, it is for you. I am talking to each individual directly; I am not talking to a crowd. When I say something, I am saying it exactly to you, not to the neighbors.
And the only way you can be of any help to the world is that you disappear, become an emptiness. Out of that emptiness arises the flame of love and compassion. Out of that emptiness arises a fragrance of divineness. And then you help millions, but you never come to know that you are helping them. You become a vehicle of God, you become an incarnation. Before that you can become a missionary, which is a dirty word. Before that you can become a do-gooder, which is very dangerous. Before that you can become a very pious egoist: helping others one feels oneself on top of them. “Holier than thou” becomes your attitude. In your very look there is condemnation and you cannot help anybody through condemnation, only through compassion.