There was nothing from the very beginning. You created the whole thing. You got into an idea and the idea became a reality. Now you cannot fight with this ghost, you only have to see whether the ghost is or is not. You only have to understand. You have to see the mechanism – how the idea of the ghost is manipulating you. It is just an idea – and your idea.
The case with the ego is exactly the same. The ego is a ghost. It is unreal, it is utterly unreal. But it has been deeply rooted in you, for certain reasons. First, the society needs it. Without creating a kind of ego in you, you will be dangerous. Through the ego you can be manipulated. Just think – if you don’t have any ego nobody can frighten you – impossible; because you don’t have any death. You can only be frightened through death.
That is why Jesus was not frightened, why Mansoor was not frightened. Many Sufis have been killed. When Mansoor was being crucified, one hundred thousand people had gathered to see. Somebody asked – because he was laughing, laughing like crazy – somebody asked, “Mansoor, have you gone mad? You are being crucified, why are you laughing? This is death. Are you not aware of the fact?”
Mansoor said, “That’s why I am laughing. They are killing somebody who is not. That is the whole ridiculousness of it, that’s why I am laughing!”
It is as if somebody is killing a wave. Maybe the wave disappears, but how can you kill a wave? It will be there in the ocean, it will still be there, it will be absolutely as it was before. Only the form is not there, but form does not matter. Mansoor says, “They are trying to kill somebody who is not there in the first place, that’s why I am laughing.”
Many Sufis have been killed and they accepted death with such joy. From where do that joy and that courage come?
It is not the courage of a soldier. No, not at all. It is the courage of a man who has come to realize that there is no ego, that “I am not, so how can you kill me?” The courage of the soldier is different from the courage of a saint. The courage of the soldier is a well-maintained courage; deep down he is afraid, deep down he is trembling like a small child. But he has been trained to be brave for years. In the army he has been trained to be brave – bravery is a trained attitude. It is his habit to be brave. But deep down is the suspicion, deep down is the fear. Even the greatest soldiers feel fear. It is natural.
The difference between the brave soldier and the cowardly soldier is not one of fear; the difference is only that the brave soldier goes into the war, into the front, into death, into fire, in spite of the fear. The coward cannot go, he escapes. But the fear is there in both. The brave man just has an idea of bravery; he has been conditioned. His ego has been strengthened in such a way that he has to remain brave. It is against his ego to escape; it is against his ego to run away – that’s all. Otherwise, he is shaking like a leaf in a strong wind, trembling.