Remember, there are three layers of your being: the body, the mind. and the self. And beyond the three is your no-self. And so there are three possibilities for the ego to assert itself. Either it asserts itself on the layer of body – a beautiful body, a strong body, “I have the most handsome body, the most powerful body.” Somebody is a beauty queen, a Miss Universe, and somebody is Mohammed Ali, the greatest man, Mr. Universe. On the layer of the body the ego can assert itself. If the ego asserts itself on the layer of the body one becomes animalistic. All your wrestlers, great wrestlers, are nothing but too attached to their animal part, so that when you see the body of a Mr.Universe you can feel it; he looks more like an animal than like a human being. Certainly he is very strong physically. His ego is asserting itself on that path. He will be very aggressive, brutal, violent. He will be very sexual, indulgent, unconscious. He will move like a robot, like a machine. He will not have any consciousness whatsoever. His whole life will be: Eat, drink and be merry. He will live on the very superficial layer of his life. Civilizations are against it, cultures are against it. They say “This is not good. Drop this ego.” They go on teaching to every child who is born on this earth “Drop this ego. Become non-aggressive, become non-violent. Don’t be brutal, have kindness, sympathy.” Then ego starts asserting itself on another level, the level of the mind.
At the mind level it becomes knowledge, knowledgeability, money. Money is a higher thing than sexuality, so those people who become interested in money forget all about sex; they are no more interested in sex. Their whole sexuality becomes money-oriented…or power, politics, ambition. Those people who become politicians, become ambitious for power; they can also sacrifice sex, indulgence – everything they can sacrifice.
On the first layer they can sacrifice, because on the second layer they need all the energy available. So they repress on the first layer and the ego asserts itself on the second layer. All cultures depend on this. In fact, all cultures use it as a technique: Repress the child’s ego on the first layer and he will become egoistic on the second layer. Then he will start hankering for gold medals in the university, to become more knowledgeable, to come first in the university. He will start becoming more aggressive mentally than physically.
You can see it in the universities. All the students who are in sports are very poor as far as their mind development is concerned, and all the students whose minds are very clever and cunning are poor physically. The sportsman lives on the first layer and the scholar on the second layer. The scholar will have a delicate body, will wear glasses from the very beginning; he will be old even while he is young. On the physical level his ego has disappeared. He cannot fight, but he can argue. His fight now asserts itself as argument. He can discuss and debate; he has found a finer instrument to conquer and be aggressive with. He will not become a wrestler, he will become a lawyer. He will live through argument, through his knowledge – say anything against his knowledge and he is ready to fight. Of course his fight will be of words, verbal. If you fight with the body he will call it brutal, animalistic, primitive; if you fight on the level of words and language and logic he will say that this is “civilized fight”…but the same ego is asserting itself on the second layer.
Religions depend on repressing this second layer of ego. Civilization depends on the first repression: repress the ego on the body level so that it asserts itself on the mind level. Religions depend on repressing on the second level so that the ego starts asserting itself on the third level, the level of the self. So religions say: Knowledge is nothing, politics is nothing, money is nothing, to become a great artist is nothing, to become a great novelist, writer, is nothing. Then what is real power? Real power is siddhi. If you can do miracles, if you touch a man and he is healed when he was ill, and if you touch a dead body and the dead body is resurrected, then you have something. If you can produce things out of nothing, if you become a miracle man, then you have something. So religions repress the ego on the second layer, then the ego asserts itself on the third layer.