Ego and freedomSuppose you have a shop and in the shop you are employing quite a few workers. You pay your workers a salary, but one of them wants more money, so he revolts. This is what happens in the ordinary world. In the spiritual world it is also like that, but in a different sense. God is utilising us and the freedom he gives us is our salary. Here we get no money or cash; we get our freedom. He has given to each one limited freedom. Now, what do we do? We do not create within us the capacity to increase that freedom. No, we fight to get more freedom by hook or by crook, by adopting foul means. God has given us limited freedom and one day God will give us infinite freedom. But for that we have to prepare ourselves. We have to go deep within; we have to pray, we have to meditate. Freedom here means freedom from ignorance, freedom from bondage, from limitation, from imperfection, and from death.
But we don’t exercise our freedom in that way. We use the limited freedom God has given us to strike someone, to punish someone. It is just like a knife someone has given us. With that knife we can cut fruit and share it with others; again, we can use that knife to stab someone. We can misuse our freedom; and each time we misuse our freedom, ego comes in.
Now, limited freedom is not bad. But we are never satisfied with what we have. From one possession we go to two, from two we go to three, and so on. We are always trying by hook or by crook to get more. We have thousands of desires. We exercise our power of freedom in a destructive manner, not in a creative manner. But although desire wants to be rich overnight, let us say, still desire is afraid. The desire-thief in us wants to be as vast as the ocean, but when somebody carries him or drags him in front of the ocean and tells him to jump into the ocean, he becomes frightened to death. Desire wants vastness and, at the same time, it is frightened to death when others come and tell it, “Become vast.”
But if we aspire, at that time nobody will ever have to bring us in front of the sea. We ourselves will come and jump into the sea and start swimming. First ego came and made us want to become something vast. But inner courage we did not have. When we have aspiration, at that time we have inner courage. We know that we will not drown, but on the contrary, we will be illumined.
Desire comes from our self-imposed, self-styled authority. We can do this; we can say this. But the moment we say, “No, we are only instruments; we are not the doers,” then ego vanishes. When we say, “God is the Doer; I am just His instrument,” then ego disappears. But if we feel that we are the doers, ego comes into existence. Since we are spiritual seekers, we have to feel all the time that there is a higher reality that is acting in and through us. Then there can be no ego.
Once one realises the soul, he will not have the so-called human ego. He will say, “I am God’s son. How can I do anything wrong? You are God’s son. How can you do anything wrong?” He is saying that it is beneath his dignity and others’ dignity to make friends with ignorance. Here his ego is not speaking. It is his divine personality, not his human personality. It is his divine awareness, his universal oneness that is coming forward. When he says “you”, at that time he feels that it is his own life that he is speaking of; and when he speaks of his own life, he feels it is your life that he is speaking of.
After a person has realised the soul, at that time he becomes one with his friends, his relatives, his brothers and sisters. At that time, there is no ego. It is all oneness. When he says, “How can you do this? I don’t do this kind of thing,” it is not his superior feeling. It is only an injection of inspiration and encouragement. He is only trying to convince you that you are something really divine, something really great, something immortal.
The Christ said, “I and my Father are one.” Ignorant people will say, “Oh, look what kind of ego he had.” But he became one with his Almighty Father; that is why he said this. When we realise our soul, at that time it is only our oneness with others that is speaking. There is no ego there. It is only the song of oneness in infinite forms and shapes.