Can you repress it? People have done that too. It has not helped. If you repress the ego, it goes deeper into your being. Rather than getting rid of it, you become more and more poisoned by it, because what will you do when you repress? You will force it into the unconscious; it will start going underground. But the unconscious is far more powerful than the conscious. Ego in the conscious has not much power. Once it enters into the unconscious it becomes nine times more powerful than it was before. Rather than getting rid of it, you will be more and more in its control. And one thing more: once the ego has become unconscious, you don’t know anything about it. It has gone behind you. Now you cannot even watch it. Now you are completely a victim. Now you cannot protect yourself against it. Now you cannot make any arrangements to save yourself from it. It is there pulling your strings from behind. You will become a puppet, and you will be in the hands of the ego. And you were thinking that you had repressed it. Fight does not help, repression does not help.
The third thing that has been tried down the ages is sublimation. Sublimate it – let it be identified with higher goals. Then it becomes very decorated, it becomes enthroned. And naturally it again becomes very powerful. Identify it with your church, identify it with your country, identify it with your color, identify it with ideology – socialism, communism, fascism, Christianity, Hinduism. Identify it with some high value, some utopian value, or you can even identify it with God. Then it rules suprememost. Then it rules in the name of God. God is just an excuse. The real sovereign becomes the ego. And these are the three available ways: either fight or repress or sublimate. And nothing helps. Nothing can help because by its very nature the ego is such that solutions are not possible.
I have heard…
A mother is standing in a toy shop, and she says “Isn’t this a rather complicated toy for a small child?”
The toy salesman says “This, Madam, is an educational toy, specially designed to adjust a child to live in the world of today: no matter which way he puts it together, it’s always wrong.”
And that’s how the ego is. No way will ever bring you out of it. There is no remedy. To see it is to be on the right path. To see the complexity, the riddling nature of the ego, the puzzling nature of the ego, to comprehend it in its totality, is the beginning of wisdom. Otherwise it will come, and it will come in more subtle forms, and you will be deceived far more deeply.
The religious, the so-called religious person is deceived by it, because it comes hiding behind religious curtains. Sometimes it becomes humbleness, sometimes it becomes humility. Sometimes it can even pretend egolessness: it can say “I am absolutely egoless.” And it is there, and now it has protected itself perfectly. You will not even suspect its existence. Watch the so-called religious people, and you will see a great game of the ego. The ego is there. It has become pious. But when the ego becomes pious it becomes more poisonous. It is pious poison. It corrupts you deeply.
The ordinary gross ego is not such a big problem. You can see it, it is there. Even the person who is its victim knows it is there – the disease is known. But when it becomes pious, takes religious garb, then even the victim is unaware. He lives in its imprisonment and thinks that he is free.
Start finding a remedy and you will be in more and more trouble. Why? – because most remedies are imposed. Why most? All remedies are imposed. You find them from somewhere outside, you find the clues from somebody else.