The Sword and the Lotus 12

Twelth Discourse from the series of 24 discourses - The Sword and the Lotus by Osho.
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What are you doing and why? How is it different from what we are doing and why?
I am not doing anything at all. I am not interested in any goal, in any plan, in any future. I am simply living moment to moment, spontaneously.
Just as the flowers are there in the garden, doing nothing, just being there, or as the stars are in the sky, doing nothing, just being there, I am here. But there is no why and no what, simply because I don’t even think of the coming moment.
Whatever happens I allow it to happen.
You think I am speaking to you. As far as I am concerned, whatever comes to me I allow it to be spoken. I am just a mirror – a mirror does nothing.
In language it seems as if a mirror also is doing something – it reflects. Linguistically, reflection is an action – but the mirror is not doing anything.
When you are in front of the mirror, it reflects you. When you have moved, the reflection disappears. The mirror is simply there, whatever comes in front of it is reflected in it.
That’s why it is almost impossible for me to speak to you unless you ask a question – because I don’t have anything to say. Your question becomes a provocation to my consciousness. It is reflected, echoed, and goes back to you, but it is not my doing.
What you are doing and why you are doing – how can I manage to know? That is your business, your problem. I can say about myself, and perhaps this is the difference: I know about myself, and you don’t know about yourself. You are doing things and you don’t know why you are doing them, what you are doing….
You are living in darkness, in ignorance, in blindness. I know exactly that I am not doing anything. On my own I am just an empty mirror. If you want something to be echoed, you come in front of me, you ask a question. If some answer arises it is a simple happening – not a doing.
Just as water flows downwards, the sun rises, the birds start singing and the flowers start opening. The sun is not doing anything. It is not knocking on each bird’s nest – “Get up and start singing…” Just the presence of the sun – and something happens all over existence. Life starts awakening, responding.
I am simply a presence.
You can draw as much as you want.
It all depends on your questions, your quest, your inquiry. I have to drop a few of your questions just because I don’t want anybody to look silly asking a question which is stupid.
For example, one woman has been asking for three days continuously, “I love my ego, what should I do?” What is there to be done? If you love your ego, love is good, at least you love something. It is better than nothing! And you love your ego – then why are you worried about doing something? Is not love enough? Do you want to do something more? Certainly you are worried that loving your own ego is taking you into a dangerous stage – it is going to become your hell. You know it, otherwise the question of what to do would not have arisen.
Every day I have read the question, and every day it has reminded me of a story….

An old woman died. She was very much afraid – afraid because in her whole life she had done nothing that she could think of as ever getting her into paradise. But strangely enough, a carrot appeared. And the carrot said, “You have forgotten. I am your only act which was virtuous and good. You once gave me to a beggar. I was rotten, and you were going to throw me away, and by a coincidence the beggar came before you were going to throw me, and you gave me to him. But even that much giving is rewarded by existence. I have been sent by God – just hold onto me and I will take you upwards to paradise.”
The woman was thrilled, and holding the carrot she started rising. People had gathered, because they heard that she had died. And when they saw this carrot and the woman rising with the carrot…somebody jumped and took hold of the legs of the woman. And then it became a long line, so long that you could not see from one end to the other end…. But the woman was very angry: “So many people are going into paradise” – and the carrot was hers!
Just at the gate of paradise she shouted downwards to the long line that stretched towards earth, “You all get lost. It was my carrot!”
And in saying this, she forgot. Speaking to the people and gesturing that “this was my carrot” – the carrot was lost. The carrot entered into paradise and the whole line of people fell back. Falling from paradise to the earth, none of them remained alive….

But just the idea of my carrot is enough to take you back from the very gates of paradise.
You are not at the gates of paradise, you are in love with the ego. So love it as deeply as possible so that soon it creates a hell for you. Only that hell will open your eyes – not my answer.
I was dropping that question every day, because I don’t want anybody to look stupid before so many people. It is insulting, and I don’t want to insult anybody.
Just today another person has asked, “Do enlightened people overeat?” I wonder sometimes what goes on in people’s minds – how they can manage such questions. How many enlightened people have you seen? Yes, there are people who overeat, but they are not the people who are enlightened – they are addicted to food, they cannot stop eating.
I was in America…
There are thirty million people dying of starvation, and exactly thirty million people are dying of overeating – and man thinks he is a conscious being, intelligent, alert…Now this is a simple thing. Those thirty million people should not overeat because they are killing themselves. And whatever is saved from them will save the thirty million people who are dying because they have nothing to eat. Sixty million people can be saved without doing anything, just a little understanding.
The enlightened person never goes to the extreme in any way. Neither does he fast and torture his body, nor does he overeat and torture his body in another way. Both are ways of torturing your body. You can torture it by not eating; you can torture it by overeating.
The enlightened person follows the golden mean: he is always in the middle, never at the extreme.
In Gautam Buddha’s life there is a beautiful story….

He was passing through Shravasti – a very rich and famous city of those days – and the king of Shravasti was one of the most egoistic persons in every way. He was an extremist about everything. He lived in extreme luxury. The whole day he was sleeping, and the whole night was a night of dining and wining and dancing and gambling – his whole life was upside down.
He had a beautiful palace. Even on the steps he had not made a railing. On each step there were naked young women standing to function as a railing so he could go on putting his hand from one naked young woman to another.
This man heard of Buddha because so many people told him, “At least once you should listen to this man. There is some beauty, there is some truth, and there is some magnetic force in the man. What he says is not theoretical, what he says seems to be coming from the very innermost being, his own experience. He does not quote authorities, he is not a scholar. He says what he has known, and he says it with such authority that it is impossible not to be touched by it.”
So many said this to him, that finally he managed one day to get up early in the morning and go to listen to Gautam Buddha. Whatever the people had said was no exaggeration. In fact, the man was much more than the people had said about him. He had a certain gravitation that pulled you towards him.
Shron stood up – that was the name of the king of Shravasti – touched Buddha’s feet and said, “Please initiate me, I want to become a monk.”
It was a surprise. Nobody had ever thought that this man would become a monk. Even Gautam Buddha told him, “You have heard me only once, you should take some time to think it over; there is no hurry.”
But that was not the type of Shron’s personality. He said, “When I said, ‘I want to be a monk,’ I want to be a monk – and right now!”
He was an extremist. He became a monk. He renounced the kingdom.
Buddhist monks don’t live naked, but Shron started living naked. People reported to Buddha that he seemed to be really a great ascetic. Buddha said, “You have not understood the man. He is simply an extremist.”
Buddhist monks eat one time a day. Shron would eat only once every two days. He defeated all the monks. He defeated even Gautam Buddha. When they were traveling, every monk would travel on the road, but Shron would always go by the side of the road. In the thorns, the rough stones, his feet would be bleeding. And people started respecting him immensely. Even the other monks thought they were not so great in renunciation as Shron was. Even a few started thinking that they should be followers of Shron rather than Buddha.
After six months, Shron became black – he had been a beautiful man – because he was always standing naked in the hot sun. He destroyed his body by not eating, he destroyed his feet by walking over rough stones, thorns, bushes when there was a road available.
Within six months he was badly sick, and Gautam Buddha himself went to see him. It was a rare occasion because it was not reported that Gautam Buddha had ever gone to see any other sick monk before or after.
The news went like wildfire amongst all the monks that certainly Shron was a great ascetic, otherwise Buddha would not have gone to see him just because he was sick.
But Buddha had gone for some other purpose. He did not ask Shron about his sickness. He said to him, “I have heard that when you were a king you used to play the sitar and you were a master artist. There was not anyone else in the whole country comparable to you – is that right?”
Shron said, “Yes. I love to play the sitar, and I had devoted my whole life to the sitar. I had come to such a mastery that there was no competitor to me.”
Buddha said, “I have come to ask a few questions. One: when the wires of the sitar are too tight, will it give birth to great music?”
Shron said, “To great music? It will not give birth to any music. Too tight wires will simply break.”
Buddha said, “And if the wires are too loose, will it give great music?”
Shron said, “You are asking strange questions. When the wires are too loose they don’t have tension enough to create music.”
Then Buddha said, “What is the position in which the wires should be so that great music can be produced?”
And Shron said, “They have to be in exactly the middle position where you can say they are not loose and they are not tight. And it is one of the secrets of the art to adjust the wires to the exact middle.”
Buddha said, “I don’t have anything more to ask you. I have just come to remind you that life is also like playing on the sitar: if you are too loose you are lost, if you are too tight you are lost. Each extreme is a death, and to find the exact middle is the whole art. You were too loose living in utter luxury. Now you are too tight living in an unnecessarily ascetic way. Come into the middle, listen to me, for the wise have always followed the middle path, they are never at the extremes. Only fools are at the extremes.”

So whatever the situation, the enlightened person will always be found exactly balanced in the middle.
That’s why it is difficult even to recognize the enlightened man. You can see the extremist very easily: he is fasting, he is standing naked in the hot sun, in the cold…you can recognize him. He is standing on his head, or he is standing on his feet for years and he does not sit down, does not lie down. And naturally you will recognize him because he is doing something which is unnatural.
The enlightened person will be absolutely natural – but this is to be understood that he will be very much unrecognizable. You will need immense insight and understanding. You will need some taste of meditation to experience the enlightened man, otherwise you will not understand him.
For example, Hindus denied Gautam Buddha while he was alive…they did not recognize that he was enlightened because their incarnations of God – Rama, Parasuram, Krishna, Shiva – none of them had renounced the world, none of them had renounced anything. They lived in immense luxury. They lived in marble palaces, moved in golden chariots…That seemed to be fitting for a god. But Gautam Buddha with a begging bowl, barefooted, moving on the street, not even using a vehicle – Hindus could not conceive what kind of a god he was, what kind of enlightenment he had attained. Krishna never did this, Rama never did this. They had no comparison in their own history. Naturally, they denied him.
Jainas also denied that Gautam Buddha was enlightened for the simple reason that Jainas are on the other extreme. Mahavira lived naked. He was a contemporary of Gautam Buddha; he lived naked. He did not carry even a begging bowl – that is also a possession.
Gautam Buddha had three pieces of clothing and one begging bowl – at least four things. For Mahavira that was too much possessiveness – he had nothing. He would beg with his hands. He would make his hands the begging bowl. And the Jainas had a long history of twenty-four tirthankaras…the same ascetic ways, the same way of fasting for months at a time. In twelve years, Mahavira ate for only one year – not solidly for one year, but two months he would fast, two or three days he would eat, a few months he would fast, a week he would eat…In twelve years he ate only on three hundred and sixty-five days. He was fasting for eleven years.
Now Jainas cannot accept Gautam Buddha as enlightened, because he was eating every day. One meal every day – it was too much luxury.
I want you to understand that to understand the enlightened man is one of the most difficult things in the world, for the simple reason that he is in the middle. He is absolutely normal. The extremist is recognizable.
The person who has asked the question may have seen Hindu monks with big bellies…I have seen monks like Nityananda. It is difficult to say that Nityananda had a belly, it is better to say that the belly had Nityananda. The belly was bigger than Nityananda. The belly was all. The head and legs were joined to it, but they seemed to be secondary, not important. When he lay down the belly looked like Gourishankar – even Edmund Hillary would find it difficult to climb!
But this happens to Hindu monks for the simple reason that for centuries it had been thought a great virtue to serve the monks, to feed the monks, to bring as much delicious food as possible. So people would bring food, fruits, sweets – all kinds of things – and the monk…
This is to be understood – it is one of the secrets of human life that if you are repressing sex you will start eating more. If you have completely denied yourself love, then food will become your only love affair.
And the reason is that the child, when he is born, comes in contact with the mother’s breast. Simultaneously he feels the love of the mother and the mother’s milk – the food. Food and love become associated from the first day.
That’s why every businessman knows to give a good dinner to the party when you are doing business. Then the business can be done easily; negotiations can be made easily and will be more favorable. First feed the person, then he is in a loving mood, unconsciously. This is the psychology: with food, love is joined.
Take love away from the man and you will immediately see that he starts eating more, because he substitutes food for love.
It happens that unmarried girls are never so fat, but when they become married, settled in life, a husband…Now there is no question of any competition, particularly in this part of the world, and they start becoming fat. They quarrel with the husband, they fight with the husband, they nag the husband. And you will be surprised that they nag the husband exactly when he is eating – unconsciously. That is the most vulnerable time because that is the time he wants love and that is the time he is given hate. You can’t torture in a better way.
And the same man every day, and the same quarrel, the same fight…slowly, slowly you forget what love is. Then people start eating more and more. Women are more fat than men in the East, because women cannot move freely in the society and have love affairs, but men can have love affairs outside marriage.
In the West it is equal, but in the East women are more fat than men. It shows that the men have a freedom which the woman has not. But with food she is free and the whole day she is in the kitchen.
I am reminded of an anecdote….

One man’s wife was getting so fat that it was becoming embarrassing for the husband to take her anywhere. Wherever he would go with the wife, she would immediately become the target of everybody’s comment: “What kind of woman is this?” And particularly in the West, slim is thought to be beautiful. A fat woman may do in the East, but in the West – impossible!
In the East monks are fasting; in the West women are fasting. Everybody is on a diet. Why? – because the thinner you are, the younger you look, the better you look.
The man asked the psychologist, “What to do? The wife does not listen.”
The psychologist said, “You do one thing.” He gave him a naked picture of a very beautiful woman with a very proportionate body and told him, “Hang it inside the refrigerator so whenever your wife opens it, suddenly she will recognize what she is doing to herself. She should be like this woman. Perhaps it will help – continuous remembrance again and again. Anything that she goes to the refrigerator for, she will see the naked woman, so beautiful…”
After six months the psychologist met the man. He could not recognize him. What had happened? The man had become so fat. The psychologist asked, “What happened? You were talking about your wife that she is so fat – that something has to done. And within six months you have managed a feat which people could not manage in six years.”
The husband said, “It is all your doing, because of this beautiful picture.”
The psychologist said, “I don’t understand.”
And the man said, “It is so simple to understand: it did not work on my wife, it worked on me. I started to go to the fridge to see the picture. And when one is so close to ice cream and this and that, one naturally takes something. My wife is the same, now I am her equal. But this is your doing – that stupid picture! I thought you were a psychologist.”

An enlightened man is so full of love, is so full of compassion, that it is impossible for him to overeat.
And he is not only compassionate to you, he is compassionate to his own body too. He cannot torture it by fasting, he cannot torture it by overeating. He will always remain in the middle.
And in the middle is all the wisdom, all the truth, all the beauty of existence.

Can a journey motivated by desire end in desireless witnessing?
The question is: Can a journey motivated by desire end up in a desireless awareness?
Yes, because every desire is going to give you anxiety, anguish, misery, suffering. So any journey motivated by desire is a journey towards hell. And how long can you continue it? How long can one suffer, be miserable? There is a limit to endurance, and everybody comes to the limit. And the moment you come to the limit you can see it clearly that the suffering, the misery, the hell, is created by your desire.
You cannot avoid misery and suffering and hell, and save your desire. The moment you see the connection, immediately the desire and the misery and the suffering drop from your hands. You need not drop them. The very understanding that desire is creating all this hell that has become intolerable, all this nightmare…that each moment has become just pain and it is caused by the desire even though the desire had promised you a paradise….
Every desire promises you a paradise and every desire leads you into hell.
Every desire gives you great promises of pleasure, but every desire ends up in utter pain.
Seeing it, understanding it, nobody in the world is so stupid not to drop the desire and the whole journey with it. And this dropping of the desire and the journey brings you to the point of awareness. Why don’t people drop their desires? The reason is they don’t follow their desires fully, so they never come to see the connection.
Everybody has many desires, is running in many directions simultaneously, so he never reaches very far in any direction. That’s the reason millions of people go on living in misery and cannot see that their own desires are causing it. They go on finding some other excuse why they are miserable. Perhaps others are causing it, perhaps fate is against them; perhaps the lines of their hand are not favorable; perhaps the astrological chart is not correct…they go on shifting to something which is all nonsense.
The lines of your hand have nothing to do with your life, and the stars in the sky have nothing to do with your life. Nor has the time of your birth anything to do with your life.
You have to take the responsibility totally, that it is you who decides either to be in misery or to be in blessing.
If you want misery, have more desires. If you want a blissfulness, then learn the art – even for few moments – of being desireless, and you will be surprised. Even for a few moments, if you are desireless, all anguish, all anxiety disappears. And you are so contented, so fulfilled, that you cannot ask for more. Your blessing is so much that you can only say that you bless the whole existence. Still it will be there. It is so much; it is overflowing.
And once you have experienced – just for a moment – you have known the secret, you have found the key. Then it is up to you.
If you want your twenty-four hours to be blissful, a song of ecstasy, just drop the desires. They have never given anything to anybody. They only make you beggars.

Alexander the Great was coming to India…
He was bent upon conquering the whole world. That was his one single desire: that he wanted to be the first man who has conquered the whole world.
On the way he heard that one of the most strange men in Greece, Diogenes, lived nearby the side of a river. Alexander had heard many stories about this man. Each story is enchanting.
In the West there has never been another Diogenes. In the East we had many, but the West is poor in that way. And just because Diogenes was the only one person there with the qualities of a buddha, he was misunderstood – he is still misunderstood. But he was famous for his life-style, and small stories about it spread around.
Alexander said, “He is so close. It won’t take much time; I would like to visit him.”
He went to see Diogenes early in the morning. The sun was rising, and he had a beautiful place by the side of the river. He was lying down naked taking a sunbath. Alexander looked at Diogenes. He had never seen such a beautiful man – and so calm and so quiet, without anything. But even Alexander felt deeply that he was poorer than this man: “He has something inside him which makes him richer than me.” And Alexander said to him, “I would like to present something to you, Diogenes. What can I…? I can do anything, you just say it.”
Diogenes said, “But I am utterly fulfilled. All that you can do – and it will be a great mercy – is just stand a little to the side. You are blocking the sun…that’s all. And I will remain grateful to you my whole life.”
Alexander could not believe that a man who was a beggar was not asking for something, when even the greatest conqueror of the world was ready to give him anything. Even if he had asked for the whole kingdom, he had promised to give it to him. He simply said, “Just move a little to the side, you are blocking my sun. And remember, never block anybody’s sun. I don’t need anything, but I would like to ask you where you are going. I have heard you are going to conquer the world, but have you ever thought that there is only one world?”
Alexander could not understand in the beginning what he meant. Diogenes said, “I mean that when you have conquered the whole world, what will you do? There is not another world to conquer. You will feel utterly frustrated. The world is conquered – then what? Commit suicide? Nothing is left for you to do; you have wasted your whole life in conquering the world. And remember, the greatest king and the poorest beggar both have to die. Death is a great equalizer. Death does not make any distinction.”
Alexander said, “I understand, but now only a small part of the world is left. I would also like to be as peaceful and as happy as you are, but first I have to conquer this remaining part.”
Diogenes said, “This is absolutely strange. You can see a man in front of you who is totally blissful without conquering anything, and are you certain that you will be able to return? The world is big, and life is short. If you listen to my advice, this is a big space here – the whole river is available; nobody comes here. You can also lie down. You can have a beautiful rest just as I am resting. Forget all about the world. I can teach you how to conquer yourself, and that is the real victory.”
Alexander was immensely impressed but said, “I am sorry. I am convinced what you are saying is right, but right now I cannot stop in the middle. I have to fulfill my desire first.”
And you will be surprised to know he could not come back to Greece. He died when he was coming back, on the way.
Strangely enough, on the same day Diogenes died – and the story became prevalent all over Greece that when they were reaching close to the other world…According to Greek mythology you have to pass a river which divides this world from the other world. Alexander was ahead – he had died a few minutes earlier – and just behind was Diogenes. And seeing Alexander naked, Diogenes laughed loudly.
Alexander looked back and said, “Diogenes! My God, I never thought that we would meet again. What a coincidence! An emperor, a world conqueror is meeting the greatest and the most famous beggar of the world.”
Diogenes said, “You are right, but you don’t understand who is the conqueror and who is the beggar. The beggar is ahead of me and the conqueror is here. You have come here losing everything, and I am coming here fulfilled, utterly contented. The world has been a tremendous experience and I have learned the lesson. You have come without learning anything. You wasted the whole time in conquering the world. And now look – you are also naked, I am also naked, but you are ashamed of your nakedness. I am not, because death has not taken even clothes from me – I had given them up before death. Death has not been able to take anything from me, and it has taken everything that you had conquered. You are entering the other world as a beggar. At least now try to understand.”

This must be a story, because who knows what happens after death? But it is beautiful, meaningful, very significant to understand.
If you have desires, try to look – are those desires the cause of your misery? Nobody wants misery, but nobody is willing to drop the desires – and they are together, they cannot be separated.
This is one of the greatest insights that has come from all the enlightened people in the world – that desire is the root of all misery, and desirelessness is the cause of all that is beautiful and blissful.

I am a little confused. Is there a contradiction between living life totally, and at the same time witnessing it from outside?
I have seen the question. It was too long, so I told someone to summarize it, but in the summary it has lost its basic quest.
The question was that I am teaching witnessing but I also teach you to do it totally. And the problem to the questioner is that if we do it totally, then who will witness it? And if we witness it, at least a part of our consciousness will not be in the action, it will not be total. So he is asking whether we can totally be in the act, or we have to divide ourselves into a witness and into a doer.
The question has arisen because you have only thought about it. You have not done anything to experience what I am saying.
First, witnessing is not a doing.
When the mirror reflects you, do you think it does something? It is simply its nature to reflect. There is no action on its part. Even when you are not there it is reflecting. It may be reflecting simply the walls of the room, it may be reflecting anything that is in front of it.
Reflection is not an activity. So it is with witnessing – witnessing is not an activity.
If you think logically, the contradiction will arise. But if you do what I am saying, you can be totally into an act – your body will be in it, your mind will be in it, your heart will be in it, and that is your totality. But there is something beyond these three which is not counted as you, which is not you, which is part of the universal consciousness, which is the divine in you – and that is the mirror.
So when you are witnessing, your mirror is reflecting. You are totally in the act – your body, your mind, your heart – everything is in the act. But there is something more than these three things.
In the East we have called it simply by number. We have not given it a name for a certain reason. We have called it the fourth, turiya. It is a number, it is not a name. We have not given it a name because any name will create some meaning in your mind, some ideas in your mind; a number cannot do that.
You consist of three elements: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth is just a silent presence in you – it is not you. Don’t include it within the boundaries of you; it is beyond you. It is capable of reflecting you as totally in the act. And the action will not divide because it is not an action; it is witnessing, it is simply reflecting.
It is one thing to think about it; then immediately the logic, the reason will say that you are doing two things – you are walking and you are witnessing. That divides. But this is only logical reasoning.
Just try to walk silently, joyously – put everything into a morning walk. Your body is relishing the morning sun, the air; your mind is full of the rising life all around you; your heart is throbbing with excitement; the birds are singing and the sky is so colorful…You be just the walk. And you will be surprised that there is someone witnessing which cannot say “I” – which is not your ego, which is the universal self.
Your body is different from mine, your mind is different from everybody else’s, your heart is different from everybody else’s. But in consciousness we are one continent – nobody is an island. That universal consciousness is always there. Either you are aware of it, then it makes your life a rejoicing, or you are unaware of it, then your life becomes just a dragging somehow towards death.
So there is no contradiction at all. But remember, there are many experiences. If you think about them you will find contradictions. If you experience them you will not find any contradiction.
When you ask a question try to experience it not just out of thinking. Ask out of your experience, and then it will be a totally different thing. Everything is not logical, and it is good that everything is not logical. That’s why there is some mystery. That’s why there is some unknowable surrounding you. There is a possibility to discover it, and that discovery is the greatest ecstasy.
I have not found any contradiction in my experience, but in thinking, I agree with you there is contradiction.
But I am not telling you to think about it, I am telling you to live it.

For a long time I thought that I wanted to drop my ego, but I've found that I just want to drop the pain that comes with having an ego, and I still want to keep that pleasure or romance and excitement of having an ego. So it seems that my only motivation for dropping is a kind of negative one, to avoid the pain. I'm wondering if there is any possible positive motivation that could mean beyond ego?
It is not only your question, it is almost everybody’s question. It is very significant to understand it.
Everybody wants to drop the misery, the pain, that comes from the ego. But from the ego also comes some pleasure, some excitement, so one does not want to drop the ego. Even if one wants to drop the ego, one wants to keep the pleasure part.
The question is that the motivation to drop the ego is negative – he wants to drop the misery, the pain, the negative part, and he is asking if there is some positive motivation which can help to drop the ego.
There is no positive motivation, because the ego can exist with both – the negative motivation or positive motivation. Any motivation will do for the ego’s existence.
The ego disappears only when you understand that all motivation fulfills the ego. The ways of the ego are very subtle. You can find it…I will give you a few instances to understand….

A man lived for thirty years in the Himalayas. He renounced the world, he renounced all pleasures – for thirty years he had no experience of the ego. And naturally, he thought that his renunciation had killed the ego. There was going to be a great fair in the plains, and a few people who had become accustomed to this sannyasin in the Himalayas asked him, “A great man like you should come to the plains. Millions of people will be gathering, and they will be nourished by your presence.”
He thought, “There is no harm,” and he came back down to the plains. As he reached to the fair there was such a big crowd and nobody knew about him.
Somebody stepped on his feet, and suddenly, thirty years of renunciation disappeared! He grabbed the man and was going to kill him saying, “Are you blind or something? Can’t you see? You have crushed my feet!”
But at the same time he became aware: “My God, the anger is there, the ego is there, the violence is there. Those thirty years have gone in a single moment. So what was the gain of all that renunciation?”

Obviously, when he was alone there was nobody – no conflict with anybody, no competition with anybody – and he could not feel the ego. The ego needs others. The ego needs people around you. The people around you, and the world around you are immensely helpful to make you aware of where you are.
Going to the mountains alone is dangerous, because the silence of the mountains and no people can create a hallucination for you. You can take the silence of the mountains as yours, and because there is no conflict, no competition, nobody abusing you, nobody stepping on your feet, naturally there is no anger, no hate, no ego – but they are all dormant. Come back to the world and they will all be alive; they don’t die.
People have been given positive motives to drop the ego by other religions. This is a negative motive: that it is misery, that it is a constant headache, and you don’t want misery, you don’t want a headache, so you are even ready to drop the ego. But the trouble is, the same ego gives you little moments of pleasure. When you win in an election or when you become the president of a country, for a moment the same ego gives you great pleasure; you don’t want to drop that pleasure. So he is asking if there is some positive motive.
All the religions have been providing positive motives. For example, they are saying that in the “future life,” in the “other life,” if you drop the ego you will be given immense sources of pleasure. You will have beautiful women, you will have all kinds of comforts and luxuries eternally available. There will be no death; you will have become immortal gods.
These are positive motives, but these are not going to destroy your ego.
It happened….

One Jaina acharya, Acharya Tulsi, had convened a conference to discuss the urgent great problems humanity is facing. Some fifty thousand people were there, and there were twenty guests to discuss the problems. I was also invited.
Morarji Desai was finance minister of India in those days; he was also invited, and eighteen other people – prominent thinkers, professors, doctors, Nobel Prize winners. But as the discussion was to begin, a difficulty arose. Because it was Acharya Tulsi’s meeting – his sect, his seven hundred sannyasins, his fifty thousand followers – naturally, he was put on a high pedestal, and everybody else was sitting around in a circle on a lower platform.
Morarji Desai could not tolerate it. He was sitting just by my side. I had not even noticed it; I had simply accepted it. It was their meeting – we were just guests, so wherever they wanted us to sit, it was okay. If the host wanted to sit higher than the guests, what was the harm?
I had not even thought about it, but Morarji could not resist. He said, “Before any other question is being discussed I would like to raise two questions. One is: Why is Acharya Tulsi sitting higher than everybody else? And the second: When I did the namaskar with my folded hands he did not reply in the same way. He simply raised one hand of blessing. I am not his follower, I am not his disciple, I am his guest. He has invited me, and he has insulted me. So first this has to be discussed. Acharya Tulsi has to answer.”
The poor Acharya was in a real difficulty. And then you can see that a simple solution would have been enough – he could have stepped down and sat with us. But he could not do that. He was the head of the sect, he had renounced everything – all pains, all pleasures, the whole world – but he could not go down two feet from his platform and sit with the others.
There was no need to answer. He could have folded his hands – and the thing was finished. But he could not do that either, because a Jaina monk can only give blessing to a householder, he cannot behave in equality. He is higher, he is spiritual; you are lower. He can bless you, but he cannot simply be respectful to you as you are.
He was silent, embarrassed, and I thought the whole conference was going to finish in a mess. So I asked Acharya Tulsi, “If you allow me, and if Morarji Desai allows me – because he has asked you, he has not asked me, so I ask you both, if you will allow me I am ready to answer.”
He was very willing. He said, “Yes.”
Morarji was not so willing, but unwillingly he said, “Okay. I want the answer. Whoever gives it, it is okay.”
I said, “Morarjibhai, nineteen persons are sitting here – nobody has objected. Why did only you object? It must have hurt your ego. Acharya Tulsi has a certain ego, otherwise he would have come down – about that there is no doubt – but because you raised the question, you are also in the same boat. Why did it not occur to anybody else, why only to you?
“And you had done a respectful namaskar, a gesture of honor and respect. Nobody asked you to do it – it seems you have a condition, that if you do it then the other has also to do it. That is not very honorable. You did what you wanted to do and he did what he wanted to do. I don’t see any problem. You should have made it a condition before you did it: ‘I will namaskar to you only if you are going to give the answer in the same gesture.’ You have not asked it; it was not a contract. You simply did what you wanted to do. And he has not done any harm, he has simply blessed you.
“He is an egoist; you are an egoist. And because of those two egoists we are not going to disturb the whole conference. You both can retire and the conference can continue.”
Since that day Morarjibhai Desai has been so angry with me.

A positive motive will be a spiritual promise, but one that will not destroy the ego. It may make it refined, it may make it more subtle. Even if it is required to enter the pleasures of paradise, to become humble, the ego is capable of becoming humble, but deep down it will continue to say, “There is nobody more humble than me. I am the humblest man in the whole world.”
So there is no positive way against the negative. Both can help the ego in the same way. Both will feed the ego in the same way.
My suggestion is: motivation is not needed, understanding is needed. You have to understand that the ego certainly gives you a few moments of pleasure, but it gives you long nights of suffering. You have to understand, and you have to weigh it: if this pleasure is so valuable to you, then you have to choose the suffering with it, then don’t try to drop the suffering.
They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot drop one side. The coin will always have two sides whatever you do. But if you see that those moments of pleasure are so temporary, so fleeting, so superficial, and the nights of suffering are so dark and so deep and so long…those pleasure moments are not worth it. Those pleasure moments are just to keep you hanging around the ego; those pleasure moments are bribes from the ego so that you can swallow the poison of all the anguish, of all the misery.
The ego goes on promising you more pleasure, but that pleasure is so fleeting. It comes and goes, it does not stay with you – and the price is too much.
Once you see that you are paying too much and getting such small moments – that it is not worth it – this understanding will help you to drop the whole lot: the pleasures, the anguish, the ego, all. And when you have dropped them all, then for the first time you will see that there is a bliss which is higher than pleasure, deeper than pleasure.
There is a bliss which comes and never goes – which remains with you just as your heartbeat, just as your breathing.
So a positive motivation is not needed, but a clear understanding is needed that all motivations are egoistic and all motivations – positive or negative – are going to create a hell for you. They have created the hell for the whole world.
It is just a simple and clear understanding of the whole process of seeing how much pleasure, how much misery, what is the depth of pleasure and what is the depth of misery.
Just be a little mathematical, and you can drop the ego with the whole lot and you can say to it, “Good-bye.”
And the moment you are without ego you will taste for the first time what is really joy, bliss, ecstasy. It is through understanding, and only through understanding. And understanding is in your hands.
Everybody is intelligent enough to weigh his pleasures and his pains.

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