How to sacrifice the ego?
It is impossible. The ego cannot be sacrificed because the ego exists not. The ego is just all idea: it has no substance in it. It is not something – it is just pure nothing. You give it reality by believing in it. You can withdraw belief and the reality disappears, evaporates.
The ego is a kind of absence. Because you don’t know yourself, hence the ego. The moment you know yourself, no ego is found. The ego is like darkness; darkness has no positive existence of its own; it is simply the absence of light. You cannot fight with darkness, or can you? You cannot throw darkness out of the room; you cannot take it out, you cannot take it in. You cannot do anything with darkness directly. If you want to do anything with darkness, you will have to do something with light. If you put the light on, there is no darkness; if you put the light off, there is darkness.
Darkness is only the absence of light, so is ego: absence of self-knowledge. You cannot sacrifice it.
It has been told to you again and again: “Sacrifice your ego” – and the statement is patently absurd, because something that does not exist cannot be sacrificed. And if you try to sacrifice it, something which is not there in the first place at all, you will be creating a new ego – the ego of the humble, the ego of the egoless, the ego of the person who thinks he has sacrificed his ego. It will be a new kind of darkness again.
No, I don’t say to you sacrifice the ego. On the contrary, I say try to see where the ego is. Look deep into it; try to locate it, where it exists, whether it exists at all or not. Before one can sacrifice anything one must be certain about its existence.
But don’t be against it from the very beginning. If you are against it, you cannot look deep into it. There is no need to be against anything. The ego is your experience – maybe it is just apparent, but it is still your experience. Your whole life moves around the phenomenon of the ego. It may be a dream, but to you it is so true.
There is no need to be against it. Dive deep into it, go into it. Going into it means bringing awareness into your house, bringing light into darkness. Be alert, watchful. Watch the ways of the ego, how it functions, how it manages at all. And you will be surprised: the deeper you go into it, the less it is found. And when you have penetrated to the very core of your being, you will find something totally different which is not ego, which is egolessness. It is self, supreme self – it is godliness. You have disappeared as a separate entity; you are no more an island. Now you are part of the whole.
I teach you to be authentic, integrated individuals with immense self-respect. The word self-respect may create doubts in your mind because self-respect seems to again mean the ego. It is not so. You have to understand both words, self and respect; both are significant.
Self is that which you are born with. Ego is that which you accumulate; ego is your achievement.
Self is a gift of existence to you. You have not done anything to earn it, you have not achieved it; hence nobody can take it away from you. That is impossible because it is your nature, your very being.
Ego is all that you go on accumulating through education, manners, civilization, culture, schools, colleges, universities… You go accumulating it. It is your effort, you have made it, and you have made it so big that you have completely forgotten your real self
To know the real self is enough: the ego falls flat on the ground without any effort to surrender it. Unless the ego falls on its own, without your effort, it is not going to leave you. If you make effort to drop it, and that is what surrender is… All the religions teach surrender, hence I say they don’t understand even the very basics of psychology. Ego has not to be surrendered, it has to be seen. It has to be understood through and through.
That is the meaning of respect. It is one of the most beautiful words in the English language. It does not mean what it has come to mean: honor. No – respect simply means re-spect, to look again. That’s the literal meaning of the word; there is no place for honor. Just look again, look back, look deep. Spect means to see, look; re means again. Once, you had known it.
Before you entered and became part of a society, a culture, a civilization, you knew it. It is not a coincidence that people go on thinking that their childhood was the most beautiful part of their life. It is a long-forgotten memory, because there have been days in your life, the earliest days, which you cannot remember exactly; only a vague feeling, a kind of fragrance, a kind of shadow is there.
If you re-spect, if you look again and go deep into your existence, you are going to find the place from where you started losing yourself and gaining the ego.
That moment is a moment of illumination because once you have seen what the ego is, the game is finished.
So I cannot say to you, drop the ego, because that means I accept the reality of your ego. And how are you going to drop it – you are it. Right now, you are it. The self you have lost far away back in the past. There is a great distance between you and your self. Right now you are existing at the periphery of your self. That periphery is pretending to be your self. That pretender is the ego. Now telling the ego, “Drop! Surrender! Be humble!” is simply idiotic.
It will appear very paradoxical, but this is true – before you can lose your ego, you must attain it. Only a ripe fruit falls to the ground. Ripeness is all. An unripe ego cannot be thrown, cannot be destroyed. And if you struggle with an unripe ego to destroy and dissolve it, the whole effort is going to be a failure. Rather than destroying it, you will find it more strengthened, in new and subtle ways.
This is something basic to be understood – the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity – only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem.
In the East all the religions preach egolessness. So in the East everybody is against the ego from the very beginning. Because of this anti attitude, ego never becomes strong, never comes to a point of integration from where it can be thrown. It is never ripe. So in the East it is very difficult to dissolve the ego, almost impossible.
In the West the whole Western tradition of religion and psychology propounds, preaches, persuades people to have strong egos – because unless you have a strong ego, how can you survive? Life is a struggle; if you are egoless you will be destroyed. Then who will resist? Who will fight? Who will compete? And life is a continuous competition. Western psychology says: Attain to the ego, be strong in it.
But in the West it is very easy to dissolve the ego. So whenever a Western seeker reaches an understanding that ego is the problem he can easily dissolve it, more easily than any Eastern seeker. This is the paradox – in the West ego is taught, in the East egolessness is taught. But in the West it is easy to dissolve the ego, in the East it is very difficult.
This is going to be a hard task for you, first to attain and then to lose – because you can lose only something which you possess. If you don’t possess it, how can you lose it?
What can we do from our side to surrender the ego, when this wanting to surrender it is, in itself, an intrinsic part?
The ego is a puzzle. It is something like darkness – which you can see, which you can feel, which can obstruct your way but which does not exist. It has no positivity. It is simply an absence, an absence of light. The ego does not exist – how can you surrender it? The ego is only an absence of awareness.
The room is full of darkness; you want the darkness to leave the room. You can do everything in your power – push it out, beat it out – but you are not going to succeed. Strangely enough, you will be defeated by something which does not exist. Exhausted, your mind will say the darkness is so powerful that it is not within your capacity to dispel it, to expel it. But that conclusion is not right; it is German, but it is not right.
Just a small candle has to be brought in. You don’t have to expel the darkness. You don’t have to fight with it – that is sheer stupidity. Just bring in a small candle, and the darkness is not found anymore. Not that it goes out – it cannot go out, because in the first place it does not exist. Neither was it in, nor does it go out.
The light comes in, the light goes out; it has positive existence. You can light a candle and there is no darkness; you can blow out the candle and there is darkness. To do anything with darkness, you will have to do something with light – very strange, very illogical, but what can you do? Such is the nature of things.
You cannot surrender ego, because it does not exist. You can bring a little awareness, a little consciousness, a little light. Forget completely about the ego; concentrate totally on bringing alertness into your being. And the moment your consciousness has become a flame, concentrated, you will not be able to find the ego.
So you cannot surrender when you are unaware and you cannot surrender when you are aware. The ignorant cannot surrender. And the wise man cannot even think of surrendering it, because it does not exist.
Ego is a mirage – it only appears to be. And when you are fast asleep spiritually, it is tremendously strong; naturally it creates problems for you. Your whole misery is created by it, your tensions, your anxieties. Your ego brings the whole hell into your life. Naturally you want to surrender it. And there are religious priests, teachers all over the world telling you how to surrender it.
Anybody who tells you how to surrender the ego is an idiot. He does not know anything about the nature of the ego, but he will look rational to you; he will be convincing. He will be appealing because he is speaking your own thinking aloud. He is your spokesman – this is what your mind says. He is more articulate than you are, and he brings all kinds of supportive arguments and proofs and quotations from scriptures, and they all say, “Unless you drop the ego you cannot attain to self-realization.” Naturally, nobody objects to such people.
But I say unto you that the reality is just vice versa: it is not that you surrender the ego and the self-realization happens, no. The self-realization happens first, and then you cannot find the ego.
That is its surrender.