How can one know that the spiritual search in which one is involved is not an ego-trip, but is an authentic religions search?
If you don’t know, if you are confused, then know well that this is an ego-trip. If you are not confused, if you know well that this is authentic, if there is no confusion at all, then it is authentic. And it is not a question of deceiving someone else. It is a question of deceiving or not deceiving oneself. If you are confused, in doubt, it is an ego-trip, because the moment the authentic search is there, there is no doubt. Faith happens.
Let me put it in some other way. Whenever you phrase such problems, the very confusion exactly shows that you are on the wrong path. Someone comes to me and he says, “Tell me. I don’t know whether my meditation is going deep or not.”
So I say, “If it is going deep, there is no need to come and ask me. The depth is such an experience, you will know it. And if you cannot know your depth, who is going to know about it? You have come to ask me only because you are not feeling the depth. Now you want someone else to certify you. If I say, ‘Yes, your meditation is going very deep’, you will feel very good – this is an ego-trip.”
When you are ill, you know that you are ill. It may sometimes happen that illness may be very, very hidden. You may not be aware of it. But the reverse never happens: when you are perfectly healthy, you know it. It is never hidden. When you are healthy, you know it. It may be that for your illness you may not be so aware, but for health – if health is there – you are aware of it, because the very phenomenon of health is a phenomenon of well-being. If you cannot feel your health, who is going to feel it? For your ill-health there may be experts to tell you what type of disease you have; there is no expert to tell you about your health. There is no need. But if you ask whether you are healthy or not, you are unhealthy; that much is certain. This very confusion shows it.
So when you are on a spiritual search, you can know whether it is an ego-trip or an authentic search. And the very confusion shows that this is not an authentic search; this is a sort of ego-trip. What is the ego-trip? You are less concerned with the real phenomenon; you are more concerned with possessing it.
People come to me and they say, “You know, and you can know about us. Tell us whether our kundalini has arisen or not.” They are not concerned with kundalini, not concerned really; they need a certificate. And sometimes I play and I say, ‘Yes, your kundalini has arisen,’ and immediately they are so happy. The person came very, very gloomy and sad, and when I say, “Yes, your kundalini is awakened,” he is happy like a child.
He goes away happy, and when he is just going out of my room, I call him back and I say, “I was just playing. It is not real. Nothing has happened to you.” He is again sad. He is not really concerned with any awakening; he is simply concerned with feeling good: now his kundalini has awakened, now he can feel superior to others.
And this is how many so-called gurus go on exploiting, because you are for your ego. They can give you certificates, they can tell you, “Yes, you are already awakened. You have become a Buddha.” And you are not going to deny. If I say this to ten persons, out of ten, nine are not going to deny it.
They will just feel happy. They were in search of such a guru who would say that they are awakened. False gurus exist because of your need, because no authentic guru is going to say this to you, or give you any certificate – because any certificate is a demand from the ego. No certificate is needed. If you are experiencing it, you are experiencing it. If the whole world denies it, let them deny. It makes no difference. If the real experience is there, what does it matter who says that you have achieved and who says you have not achieved? It is irrelevant. But it is not irrelevant, because your basic search is the ego. You want to believe that you have achieved all.
And this happens many times: when you become a failure in the world, when you are in misery in the world, when you cannot succeed there and when you feel that your ambition remains unfulfilled and life is passing, you turn to spirituality. The same ambition now asks to be fulfilled here. And it is easy to be fulfilled here – easy, because in spirituality you can deceive yourself easily. In the real world, in the world of the matter, you cannot deceive so easily.
If you are poor, how can you pretend that you are rich? And if you pretend, no one is deceived. And if you go on insisting that you are rich, then the whole society, the whole crowd around you, will think you have gone mad.
I once knew a man who started thinking that he was Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. His family, his friends, everyone tried to persuade him, “Don’t talk such nonsense, otherwise you will be thought to be mad.”
But he said, “I am not talking nonsense. I am Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru.”
He started signing ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’. He would send telegrams to circuit houses, to officials, to collectors, to commissioners saying that, “I am coming – Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru.” He had to be caught and chained in his house. I went to meet him. He lived in my village. He said, ‘You are a man of understanding. You can understand. These fools, no one understands me – I am Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru.’
So I said, “Yes, that’s why I have come to meet you. And don’t be afraid of these fools, because great men like you have always suffered.”
He said, “Right.” He was so happy. He said, “You are the only man who can understand me. Great men have to suffer.”
In the outer world, if you try to deceive yourself you will be thought mad, but in spirituality it is very easy. You can say that your kundalini has arisen. Just because you have a certain pain in your back, your kundalini has arisen. Because your brain is feeling a little unbalanced, you think centers are opening. Because you have a headache constantly, you think the third eye is opening. You can deceive and no one can say anything, and no one is interested. But there are false teachers who will say, “Yes, this is the method.” And you will feel very happy.
An ego-trip means that you are not interested in really transforming yourself; you are only interested in claiming. And the claim is easy, you can purchase it cheaply. And it is a mutual thing. When a guru, a so-called guru, says that you are an awakened man, of course he has made you awakened, so you have to pay respect to this guru. This is a mutual thing. You pay respect to him. And now you cannot leave that guru, because the moment you leave that guru what will happen to your awakening, your kundalini? You cannot leave. That guru depends on you because you give respect and honor to him, and then you will depend on him because no one else is going to believe that you are awakened. You cannot leave. This is a mutual bluff.
If you are really in search it is not so easy. And you don’t need any witness. It is difficult and arduous; it may take even lives. And it is painful, it is a long suffering, because much has to be destroyed, much has to be transcended, long-established chains have to be broken. It is not easy. It is not a child’s play. It is arduous, and suffering is bound to be there because whenever you start changing your pattern, all that is old has to be dropped. And all your investments are in the old. You will have to suffer.
When you start looking inwards for your ego and you don’t find it, what will happen to your image that you have lived with? You have always thought you were a very good man, moral, this and that – what will happen to that? When you find that you are nowhere to be found, where is that good man? Your ego implies all that you have thought about yourself. Everything is implied in it. It is not something that you can throw easily. It is you, your whole past. When you drop it you become like a zero, as if you never existed before. For the first time you are born; no experience, no knowledge, no past – just like an innocent child. Daring is needed, courage is needed.
Authentic search is arduous. Ego-trip is very easy. And it can be fulfilled very easily, because nothing is really fulfilled. You start believing; you start believing that something has happened to you. You are simply wasting time and energy and life. So if you are really with a master, he will constantly pull you back from your trip. He will have to watch that you don’t become mad, that you don’t start thinking in dreams. He will have to pull you back.
And it is a very, very difficult thing, because whenever you are pulled back you take revenge on the master. “I was going so high, and was just on the verge of exploding, and he says, ‘Nothing is happening. You are just imagining.”’ You are pulled back to the earth.
With a real master it is difficult to be a disciple. And disciples almost always go against their masters, because they are on their ego-trips and the master is trying to bring them out of that. And these disciples create false masters. They have a need, such a great need, that anyone who fulfills their need will become their master. And it is easy to help your ego grow, because you are for it. It is very difficult to help your ego to disappear.
Remember well, and check every day and every moment that your search is not an ego-trip. Go on checking it. It is subtle, and the ways of the ego are very, very, very cunning. They are not on the surface. The ego manipulates you from within; deep down from the unconscious. But if you are alert, the ego cannot deceive you. If you are alert, you will come to know its language, you will come to know its feeling, because it is always going after experience. This is the key word.
The ego is always looking for the experience – sexual or spiritual, it makes no difference. The ego is greedy to experience this and to experience that: to experience kundalini and to experience the seventh body. The ego is always after experiences. The real search is not a greed for any experience, because any experience is going to frustrate you, is bound to frustrate you – because any experience is going to be repetitive. Then you will get fed up with it; then you will again demand some new experience.
The search for the new will remain with the ego. You will meditate, and if you are only meditating just to get a new thrill, because your life has become boring – you are fed up with your ordinary routine life, so you want to get some thrill…. You may get it, because man gets whatsoever he tries to find. That is the misery – whatsoever you desire, you will find. And then you will repent. You will get the thrill. Then what? Then you get fed up with it also. Then you want to take LSD or something else.
Then you go on moving from this master to that, from this ashram to that, just in search of a new thrill.
The ego is a greed for new experiences. And every new experience will become old, because whatsoever is new will become old – then again…. Spirituality is not a search for experience really.
Spirituality is a search for one’s being. Not for any experience – not even for bliss, not even for ecstasy – because experience is an outer thing; howsoever inner, it is outer.
Spirituality is the search for the real being that is inside you: I must know what my reality is. And with that knowing, all greed for experiencing ceases. And with that knowing, there is no urge – no urge to move for any new experience. With the knowing of the inner true reality, the authentic being, all search ceases.
So don’t move for an experience. All experiences are just tricks of the mind, all experiences are just escapes. Meditation is not an experience; rather, it is a stopping of all experience. Because of this, those who have really tried to express the inner happening – for example, Buddha – they say, “Don’t ask what happens there.” Of, if you insist, they will say, “Nothing happens there.”
If I say to you that nothing will happen in meditation, what will you do? You will stop meditating. If nothing is going to happen there, what is the use? – that shows you are on an ego-trip. If I say nothing happens there, and you will say, “Okay, I have known many happenings and I have known many experiences, and every experience proved to be frustrating….” You pass through it and then you know it was nothing. And then an urge to repeat, and then repetition also becomes a boredom. Then you move to something else…. This is how you have been moving for lives and lives; for thousands and thousands of lives you have been moving for experience. You say, “I have known experience. Now I don’t want any new experience. I want to know the experiencer.” The whole emphasis changes.
Experience is something outside you. The experiencer is your being. And this is the distinction between true spirituality and false: if you are for experiences, the spirituality is false; if you are for the experiencer, then it is true. But then you are not concerned about kundalini, not concerned about chakras, not concerned about all these things. They will happen, but you are not concerned, you are not interested, and you will not move on these by-paths. You will go on moving towards the inner center where nothing remains except you in your total aloneness. Only the consciousness remains, without content.
Content is the experience. Whatsoever you experience is the content. I experience misery – then the misery is the content of my consciousness. Then I experience pleasure – then pleasure is the content. Then I experience boredom – then boredom is the content. And then you can experience silence – then silence is the content. And then you can experience bliss – then bliss is the content.
So you go on changing the content. You can go on changing ad infinitum, but this is not the real thing.
The real is the one to whom these experiences happen – to whom boredom happens, to whom bliss happens. The spiritual search is not what happens, but to whom it happens. Then there is no possibility for the ego to arise.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #56, Q4
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