Ego is Misery

30th November is the birthday of the American writer extraordinaire Mark Twain. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are the most celebrated works of modern American literature. While these novels are often part of high school curriculum, Twain has irreverently remarked Don’t let schooling interfere with your education. A humourist, lecturer and publisher, Mark Twain’s wit and satire earned him adulation worldwide. A profound wisdom about life reflects from Mark Twain’s classic quotes –

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.

A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Twain was born in 1835, shortly after an appearance of Halley’s Comet. He predicted that he would “go out with it” as well. In a spooky coincidence, Mark Twain died the day after the comet made its closest approach to the Earth.

Osho often relates anecdotes of and stories by Mark Twain in His discourses. Mark Twain used to infuriate his wife with his habitual foul language. One day she hit on an idea: she would cure him with a taste of his own medicine. Bursting into his study, she said, “Why the hell do you have to leave your goddamn cigar butts all over the place?” There was a pause. Then Twain looked up from his writing and said, “My dear, you may have learned the words, but you will never get the tune!”

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…   

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…

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.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Gautam Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.

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 famous writers and philosophers like Albert Camus, Aristotle, Berkeley, Byron, Bukharin, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Fyodor Dostoevsky, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, Hegel, Huxley, John Milton, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Kant, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore, Schiller, Shakespeare, Socrates, Voltaire, Wittgenstein and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Come Come Yet Again Come
  2. Beyond Psychology
  3. The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha Vol.1,3,7,9,10,12
  4. The Transmission of The Lamp
  5. I am That
  6. The Perfect Master
  7. The Golden Future
  8. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
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1 Comment

  • राजेन्द्र कटारा
    राजेन्द्र कटारा
    Posted February 12, 2024 11:55 am 0Likes

    न कभी हुआ न कभी होगा ऐसा व्यक्तिव हमें सहज उपलब्ध हुआ
    परन्तु हमने – समझ ही नहीं पाये –
    सादर नमन . कोटि कोटि नमन आपको भी

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