Osho on Ego and Real Self

Question – Beloved Master, What is the Ego? It seems a complementary question to “Who am I?” and as much a Koan.

Osho – The ego is just the opposite of your real self. The ego is not you. The ego is the deception created by the society so that you can continue playing with the toy and never ask about the real thing. That’s why my insistence that unless you drop the ego, you will never come to know yourself.

When you were born you had your authentic self. Then they started creating a false self: you are Christian, you are Catholic, you are white, you are German and you are the chosen race of God, you are supposed to rule over the world, and so on and so forth. They create a false idea who you are. They give you a name and around the name they create ambitions, conditionings.

And by and by — because it takes almost one-third of your life — they work on your ego through the school, through the church, college, university…. By the time you come back home from the university you have forgotten completely your innocent being. You are now a very big ego with a gold medal, first class, topping the university. Now you are ready to go into the world.

This ego has all the desires, ambitions, wants to be always on the top of everything. You are exploited by this ego. And this never allows you even a glimpse of your real authentic self, and your life is there, in your authenticity. Hence, this ego only produces misery, suffering, fighting, frustration, madness, suicide, murder — all kinds of crime.

A seeker of truth has to begin from this very point: that whatever you have been told by the society you are, discard it. Certainly you are not it, because nobody can know who you are except yourself — neither your parents, nor your teachers, nor your priests. Except yourself, nobody can enter into the privacy of your being. So nobody knows about you; whatever they have said about you is all wrong.

Put it aside. Dismantle the whole ego! In destroying the ego, you will discover your being. And that discovery is the greatest discovery possible, because it starts a totally new pilgrimage towards ultimate bliss, towards eternal life. You can choose: either frustration, suffering, misery — then go on holding the ego, nourishing it. Or peace, silence, bliss — but then you have to recover your innocence.

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