Ego is Misery

Osho on Ego

Man is miserable because man has learned the tricks to be miserable. Ego is the base of it. Man is miserable because bliss, happiness, is so obviously available – that creates the trouble… That which is obvious, that which is available, is not attractive. That’s why we miss god. God is available, god is your very surrounding. He is the very atmosphere we breathe in and out. He is our very life. He is the ocean in which we live, are born, and will dissolve. But he is so close, no distance. How to feel him?

Watch it in your own life. Whatsoever you have, loses interest for you. You have a beautiful house. It is beautiful only for your neighbours, not for you. You have a beautiful car. It is beautiful only for others who don’t have cars, it is not beautiful for you. You have a beautiful woman or a beautiful man – it does not make any appeal. You have it, that’s enough. People are attracted only to that which they don’t have. The non-existential attracts.

So, an egoist remains miserable, because to be happy one has to be happy with that which one has. You cannot be happy with that which you don’t have; you can only be unhappy with that. You can be happy only with that which you have. How can you be happy with that which you don’t have? And ego is always interested only in that which you don’t have. You have ten thousand rupees – ego is no more interested in it. It is interested in twenty thousand. By the time you have twenty thousand, it is no more interested in it. It is interested only in thirty thousand. And so on, so forth… it goes on.

The ego only gives you goals, but whenever those goals arrive, it does not allow you to celebrate. One becomes more and more miserable! As life passes, we go on gathering misery, we go on piling up misery. And it is very difficult to realize this — that you are causing your own misery; that is against the ego. So you throw the responsibility on others.

If you are miserable you think the society is such, your parents were wrong. If you listen to Freudians, they will say it is because of your parents, your parental conditionings. If you listen to Marxians, they will say it is because of the social structure, the society. If you listen to the politicians, they say because it is the wrong type of government. If you listen to the educationist, they say because some other type of education is needed. Nobody says that you are responsible – the responsibility is thrown on others. Then it is impossible to be happy, because if others are making you miserable, then it is beyond you to be happy — unless the whole world is changed according to you. Now it is difficult to choose your parents. It has already happened. What to do?

Somebody asked Mark Twain, ‘What does one person need to be really happy?’

He said, ‘The first thing is that one should choose his parents rightly.’

Now that is impossible, it has already happened. You cannot choose your parents now. One should choose a right society. But you are always in a society. You don’t choose it. You are always in the middle of it. And if you want to create it to your heart’s desire, your whole life will be wasted. And it will never be changed because it is such a big phenomenon, and you are so tiny.

The only hope of any transformation is that you can change yourself. That is the only hope, there is no other hope. But the ego does not want to take the responsibility. It goes on throwing the responsibility on others. In throwing responsibility on others, you are throwing your freedom also, remember. To be responsible is to be free. To give the responsibility to somebody else is to be a prisoner. That is the religious standpoint. The religion says you are responsible. That’s why Marx was so much against religion. His reasoning is clear cut. He knew it perfectly well — that either religion can exist in the world or communism. Both cannot exist together. And he is right: both cannot exist together. I also agree with him.

Our choices are different. I would like religion to exist, he would like communism to exist, but we agree that both cannot exist together. Because the whole standpoint of communism is that others are responsible for your misery. And the religious standpoint is that except you, nobody else is responsible. The communist says a social revolution is needed for a happy world. The religious person says a personal revolution is needed to be a happy person.

The world is never going to be happy, it has never been so, and it is never going to be so. The world is bound to remain unhappy, only individuals can be happy. It is something personal.

It needs consciousness to be happy. It needs intensity to be happy. It needs awareness to be happy. The world can never be happy because it has no awareness. Society has no soul, only man has it. But it is very difficult for the ego to accept this.

It happened:

Mulla Nasrudin made life very difficult for his associates because he believed he was infallible. Finally one of his workers spoke up. ‘Nasrudin,’ he said, ‘you surely have not been right all the time?’

‘There was one time I was wrong,’ admitted the Mulla.

‘When was that?’ asked the surprised worker. He could not believe that Nasrudin would ever admit that he was ever wrong, even one time. He could not believe his own ears. He said, ‘When was that?’

‘The one time,’ recalled Mulla Nasrudin, ‘when I thought I was wrong, but I was really not.’

Ego is tremendously defensive. Ego is never wrong, hence you are in misery. Ego is always infallible; hence you are in misery. Start looking in the loopholes. Make your ego fallible – and it will fall and disappear. Don’t go on supporting it, otherwise you are supporting your own misery.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse series: The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2 Chapter #8

Chapter title: A distant star

7 September 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘ego and related topics’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  2. The Divine Melody
  3. The Empty Boat
  4. From Personality to Individuality
  5. The Transmission of the Lamp
  6. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  7. Tantra: The Supreme Understanding
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 2
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1
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