We will have a few questions from Yoga Sutra 37.


THE first thing to be understood is: what is ego. The ego is not very substantial. In fact it is not. It is just an idea, a substitute without which it will be difficult for you to live. Because you don’t know who you are, you have to create a certain idea about yourself; otherwise you will simply go mad. You have to fix some indicators so that you can know, “Yes, this is me.”

I have heard, once a fool came to a big city. He stayed in a dharmasala. There were many people there; he had never slept before with so many people. He was a little worried and scared. The fear was that when he would fall asleep, in the morning when he would be awake again, how he would recognize that he is really himself. So many people. He had always slept in his room, alone, so there was no problem because there was no possibility. Of course, he was always himself, but here with so many people sleeping around, a crowd, he may get lost. It’s okay while you are awake, you can continue remembering yourself, but while asleep you may miss; you may forget. By the morning you may get confused; you may be lost in the crowd.

Seeing him so worried and sitting in his bed, somebody asked, “What is the matter with you? Why don’t you go to sleep?” He explained his problem. The man laughed; he told him, “This is very simple. Look in that comer; some child has left his balloon. Bring it and tie it to your feet so by the morning you will perfectly know that it is you if the balloon is there.”

The fool said, “That’s right.” And he had to sleep, he was so tired, so he fastened the balloon with a string to his feet and went to sleep.

The man played a joke. In the night, when the fool was snoring, he took the balloon off his feet and fastened it to his own feet. By the morning, when the fool looked around, he started crying and weeping. A crowd gathered, and they asked, “What is the matter?” He said, “Now I perfectly know that he is me, but who am I?” Now this is the problem.

The ego is because you don’t know who you are. So a name, an address, a certain face that you have seen reflected in the mirror, in the photographs, the album – these all help. They are balloons fastened to you.

If suddenly one day in the mirror you see that this is not the face you have always been accustomed to seeing, you will go mad – the balloon is missing. The face is constantly changing, but the change is so slow that you never recognize it. Just go back home and see the album of your childhood. You know that it is you, that’s why you don’t see much difference, but just ponder over it. How much you have changed. The face is not you; because deep down something has remained permanent in you. And your name can be changed; I do it every day. I go on changing your names just to give you a feeling that the name is just a balloon fastened to you, it can be changed, so that you get disidentified with the name.

The ego is nothing but a false substitute for the self. So when you know who you are, there is no possibility of ego arising again.

You ask me, “Can the thought of enlightenment create an ego?” The thought can be created if it is only a thought. Then in fact it is not good to say that it can create: the ego is already there. The thought is already thought by the ego. If the ego has disappeared and you have really become enlightened….

And that is the meaning of enlightenment: the shift from the ego to the self, the shift from the unreal to the real, the shift from the mind to no mind, the shift from the body to the embodied. Once you know who you are, I cannot see that somebody can persuade you to tie a balloon to your feet to remember yourself. It is impossible.

An enlightened person cannot be egoistic. Whatsoever he says…. Their assertions may look very egoistic to you. Krishna says in the Geeta to Arjuna, to his disciple, “Leave everything and come to my feet. I am the very God who has created this world.” Very egoistic. Can you find a more egoistic person? Listen to what Jesus says: “My father in heaven and I both are one.” He is saying, “I am God.” Very egoistic. Mansoor declared, “I am truth, the very truth, the ultimate truth” – “ANA’LHAQ.”

Mohammedans were very much annoyed; they killed him. Jews killed Jesus. Very egoistic assertions? The Upanishads say, “Aham brahmasmi” – “I am the whole, the total.” But they are not egoistic; you misunderstand them. Whatsoever they are saying is true.

I have heard about one man who was worried very much about his inferiority complex, so he went to an Adlerian psychoanalyst. And he said to the psychoanalyst, “I am suffering very much from an inferiority complex. Can you help me?” The psychologist looked at him and said, “But you are inferior. It is not a question of inferiority complex. You are inferior, so what can I do?”

When Krishna says, “I am God,” he is. He is not being egoistic. What can he do? If he says, “I am not,” that will be untrue. If he behaves politely, as the so-called mahatmas do – that I am just dust underneath your feet – he will be untrue; he will be false. He will be hiding the fact. When Mansoor says, “I am the truth,” he is.

But the problem is not with Mansoor, Krishna, or Jesus; the problem is with you. You cannot understand the language of nonego. You go on interpreting it in your own ways.

Let me tell you one anecdote: A grocer had a beautiful parrot who kept him company, amused his customers, and in his absence took care of the shop.

One day when he stepped out for ablutions and the parrot was watching the shop from a top shelf, the grocer’s cat jumped on a mouse without any warning. The parrot was so frightened that he flew across the shop and knocked down a jar of almond oil.

When the grocer returned, he saw the scene and was seized with anger. He took a stick and hit the parrot on the head repeatedly until the poor bird’s skull was stripped of all its feathers.

The parrot, bald and dejected, sat on a corner shelf. For days he didn’t open his mouth. The grocer, who was now very remorseful of his act, tried every trick on his abused companion. He even sought his customers’ help.

But it was all in vain; the parrot didn’t talk.

One day, as the bird was sitting in his usual silence, a bald dervish came to the shop. Immediately the parrot landed down on the counter and said, “So you too knocked down a jar of almond oil!”

He understands that he has become bald because he knocked down an almond jar. Now there comes a dervish who is also bald; immediately the interpretation. We understand the language that we have lived up to now.

An enlightened person has no ego – has no humbleness either. Humbleness is a very polished ego.

When ego disappears, humbleness also disappears.

An enlightened person knows who he is, so there is no need to carry the false identity. It was needed before; otherwise you would have got lost in the crowd. It would have been impossible to live without it. The ego is a need while you are ignorant, but when you become enlightened, it simply drops on its own accord. It is as if a blind man gropes with his stick when he walks; he can ask, “When one’s eyes are cured, does he carry a stick to grope, or not?” What will we say? We will say, “When the eyes are cured, the stick is dropped. Who carries the stick? Why? And Why should one grope when the eyes are there?” The stick and the groping are a substitute – a very poor substitute at that – but it is needed when one is blind.

Now the question has to be understood: “Is it possible to be conscious of enlightenment, and be enlightened? Can the thought of being enlightened create ego in one?” If the ego is there, there is no need to create it – it is already there and the thought of enlightenment is created by it. If the ego has dropped and really the awareness, the consciousness, the self, has arisen out of darkness – the sunrise has happened – then nothing can create the idea of the ego – nothing whatsoever. You can declare you are God; even that will not create the egoistic old pattern – nothing can create it.

“Is it possible to be conscious of enlightenment…?” Enlightenment is consciousness. Again you use your language. I can understand it, but it is wrong. You cannot be conscious of consciousness; otherwise you will become a victim of infinite regression. Then you will be conscious of your consciousness of consciousness, and so on, so forth ad infinitum. Then there will be no end: one consciousness, you will be conscious of it; second consciousness, you will be conscious of it; third consciousness…. And you can go on. No, that is not needed; one consciousness is enough.

So when one is enlightened one is conscious, but one is not conscious of consciousness. One is perfectly conscious, but there is no object in it. One is simply conscious, as if a light goes on enlightening the emptiness around it. There is no object, there is nothing the light can fall upon. It is pure consciousness. The object has disappeared; your subject has flowered into totality. Now there is no object – and hence, there can be no subject. The object and subject both have disappeared.

You are simply conscious. Not conscious of anything, just conscious. You are,  consciousness.

Let me explain it to you from some other dimension which may be more easy to understand. When you love, if you have ever loved, you are not a lover: you become love. Not that you do something.

You are not a doer, so how can you call yourself a lover? The right expression will be “you are love.”

When people come to me and I see great promise in their eyes, I don’t say, “You are promising.” I say, “You are a promise.” And see the difference. When somebody says to somebody, “You are promising,” it is not much. But, “You are a promise.” it has tremendous value in it. When you say to somebody, “You are promising,” you mean that this man appears to have something that you would like or may be used for some ambition of yours. When a father says to the son, “You are promising,” he means, “I wanted to become very rich; I could not do that. You will be able to do it – you are promising.” It is the father’s ambition which he is seeing can be fulfilled through the son.

When I say to you, “You are a promise,” I have no ambition to fulfill through you. I simply make a statement about you; it has nothing to do with my ambition. I am fulfilled. I am not desiring any fulfillment through anybody. When I say, “You are a promisee,” I make a statement of fact about you.

It simply shows your potentiality, your possibility.

And look. If you are a musician, and your son is not going to be a musician, has no tendency, no desire, no talent; you will not call him promising. The same son may be promising to a father who is a mathematician, but he is not promising to you. If you are after money, and the son wants to renounce the world, he will not be promising to you; he will be just the opposite. When you call somebody promising, you relate him to your own desires.

When I say, “You are a promise,” I mean you have a tremendous potential to grow, to flower – whatsoever the direction, whatsoever direction you choose to move.

Whenever you are in love, you will not feel that you are a lover. You will feel you are love. That’s why Jesus says, “God is love.” He should have said, “God is very loving”; his language is not right. What do you mean by “God is love”? He is saying “God” and “love” are synonymous. In fact he is saying to say “God is love” is a tautology. It can be said that he is saying, “Love is love,” or “God is God.” Love is not an attribute of God; love is his very being. He is not loving; he is simply love.

The same happens when one becomes enlightened. He is not conscious about enlightenment; he is simply conscious. He lives in consciousness, he sleeps in consciousness, he moves in consciousness. He lives, he dies in consciousness. Consciousness becomes an eternal source in him, a non flickering flame, a non-wavering state of being. It is not an attribute, it is not accidental; it cannot be taken away. His whole being is conscious.


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