This Identification is Ego – Osho

The Self or soul is both God and Living Being.

But the body, which is not the soul,

gets infected with a sense of ego,

and that is what is called living being’s bondage.

The cessation of this ego is what is called freedom.

That which gives rise to the ego is called avidya (false learning).

And that which leads to the cessation of the ego is called vidya (right learning). 

-Sarvasar Upanishad 

One is to analyze a thing, to divide it into its parts, but parts are not the whole. They constitute the whole, but they are not equivalent to the whole. The whole cannot be created without the parts. But still the whole is something plus, something more than all the parts combined. That something plus is the mystery.

Science divides, and the knowledge achieved is through analysis. Religion is quite the opposite dimension. Religion believes, not in division, but in synthesis. Religion goes on adding, totaling. And when everything is totaled – nothing remains outside, everything is included; and this whole, taken as a whole, is looked at – the divine appears. That’s why science can never say that there is a god – that is impossible. So no one should hope that any day science can say there is a god, because the very process of scientific analysis cannot lead to the total. The very process leads to the part, the minutest part – never to the whole – because it depends on division.

Science can never come to any divineness in the universe, in existence, because divineness is something like a perfume that comes out of the whole. It is not mathematical; it is organic. It is not mechanical; it is alive. You can divide me into parts; then put back all those parts, but I will not be found there. You have put everything again in its place; but I am not a mechanical device, I am not just parts accumulated and arranged. Something more is there, more than all the parts – that something is lost.

Life can never be known by analysis.

Analysis can only know the material, never the spiritual. These are the two dimensions of knowing. So if someone concludes that there is nothing except matter, that only means that he has used the analytical method – nothing else. When someone says there is no matter, but only consciousness, it only shows that he has used the method of synthesis – not analysis.

Freud used analysis as a methodology; then he couldn’t conceive that there is any soul, any divine element in man. But another psychologist, Assagioli, is now using synthesis as a method, and he says: There is no body, only the spirit, only the consciousness. Whenever someone asserts matter or consciousness, it means a particular method for the search has been used.

Logic is analysis – love is synthesis.

That’s why religion has always been illogical, and science always loveless.

To be identified with something which you are not, is the formation of the ego. Ego means to be identified with something you are not.

Whatsoever one is needs no identification.

You need not be identified with it: You are already it.

So whenever there is any identification, it means with something else – that you are not. One can be identified with the body, with the mind. But the moment one is identified, one is lost to oneself. This is what ego means. This is how ego is formed and becomes crystallized.

Whenever you assert “I,” there is identification with something – with some name, with some form, with some body, with some past; with mind, with thoughts, with memories. There is some deep identification: only then you can assert “I.” If you are not identified with anything else and can remain with yourself, then you cannot say “I”; the “I” just drops.

“I” means identity.

Identity is the basis of all slavery:

Be identified and you will be in a prison.

The very identity will become your prison. Be non-identified, remain totally yourself, and then there is freedom. So this is what bondage is: Ego is the bondage, and egolessness is freedom. And this ego is nothing but to be identified with something that you are not. For example, everyone is identified with his name; and everyone is born without any name. Then the name becomes so significant that one can die for his name’s sake.

What is a name? But the moment you are identified, it becomes very meaningful. And everyone is born without any name – nameless. Or, you take form; everyone is identified with one’s own form. Every day you are standing before your mirror. What are you seeing? – Yourself? No. No mirror can mirror you, just the form you are identified with. But such is the stupidity of the human mind that every day the form is changing constantly, but you are never disillusioned.

When you were a child, what was your form? When you were in your mother’s womb, what was your form? When you were in your parents’ seed, what was your form? Can you recognize – if a picture is produced for you – the egg in your mother’s womb? Will you be able to recognize and say, “this is ‘I’”? No, but you must have been identified with this egg somewhere back…. You were born – and if the first scream can be reproduced for you, will you be able to recognize it and say, “this is my scream”? No, but it was yours, and you must have been identified with that.

If an album can be produced before a dying man…. A constant changing form – there is a continuity but still every moment a change…. The body is changing every seven years, completely, totally; nothing remains the same, not a single cell. Still, still we think, “this is my form, this is me.” And consciousness is formless. The form is just something outside that goes on changing and changing and changing – just like clothes.

This identification is ego. If you are not identified with anything – with name or with form or anything – then where is the ego? Then you are, and still you are not. Then you are in your absolute purity, but with no ego. That’s why Buddha called the self, no-self; he called it anatta, anatma. He said, “There is no ego, so you cannot call yourself atma even. You cannot call yourself ‘I’; there is no ‘I.’ There is pure existence.” This pure existence is freedom.

This term avidya really cannot be translated. It is not synonymous with ignorance; it is not ignorance… because ignorance is just negative. You don’t know something, you are ignorant. But this avidya is not something negative, it is very positive. It is not that you don’t know something; it is rather, on the contrary, that you know something which is not. This avidya is, rather, a positive projection of something which is not.

The “I” is not – the ego is the most non-existential thing in the world.

It looks very substantial, and is absolutely empty.

Avidya means the projective source in you of this ego, of this identified image of yourself. Avidya is a projective force within you. It is not just ignorance, it is not that you don’t know something; it is that you can create something which is not. You can dream something which is not, you can project something which is not.

When the mind is projecting something which is not, it is avidya .When this mind destroys all projections, all identifications, remains without any projective activity, then this method of destroying all projections, all that is not, but appears to be – is called vidya. Vidya is not knowledge; again, vidya is a positive force to destroy all that which avidya creates. Vidya is untranslatable. Vidya means a positive force in you which can destroy ego formation. Both are positive: avidya creates that which is not, and vidya destroys that which is not. So vidya means yoga, vidya mean the science of religion.


From That Art Thou, Chapter Three

That Art Thou

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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