But with the other-worldly desires there is far greater danger because they are other-worldly, and to see them and to experience them you will have to wait till death. They will happen only after death so you cannot be free of them in life, while you are alive. And a man who has lived unconsciously his whole life, his death is going to be the culmination of unconsciousness; he will die in unconsciousness. In death also he will not be able to disillusion himself. And the person who dies in unconsciousness is born again in unconsciousness. It is a vicious circle; it goes on and on. And the person who is born in unconsciousness will repeat the same stupidities that he has been repeating for millions of lives.
Unless you become alert and aware in life, unless you change the quality of your living, you will not die consciously. And only a conscious death can bring you to a conscious birth; and then a far more conscious life opens its doors.
Changing worldly desires into other-worldly desires is the last strategy of the mind to keep you captive, to keep you a prisoner, to keep you in bondage.
So the first path is not really a path but a deception – but a very alluring deception. In the first place, it is self-cultivation. It is not against the ego; it is rooted in the refinement of the ego. Refine your ego of all grossness, then you become a self. The ego is like a raw diamond: you go on cutting it and polishing it and then it becomes a Kohinoor, very precious. That is your idea of “self,” but it is nothing but ego with a beautiful name, with a spiritual flavor thrown in. It is the same old illusory ego.
The very idea that “I am” is wrong. The whole is, God is – I am not. Either I can exist or God can exist; we cannot both exist together – because if I exist, then I am a separate entity. Then I have my own existence independent of God. But God simply means the total, the whole. How can I be independent of it? How can I be separate from it? If I exist, I destroy the very idea of totality.
The people who deny God are the most egoistic people. It is not an accident that Friedrich Nietzsche declared God dead. He was one of the most egoistic persons possible. It was his ego that made him insane finally. Ego is insanity, the basic insanity, the most fundamental, out of which all other insanities arise. He said: “God is dead and man is free.” That sentence is significant. In one sentence he has said the whole thing: Man can be free only if God is dead; if God is alive, then man cannot be free, in fact man cannot exist.
The very idea that “I am” is unspiritual. The idea of the self is unspiritual.
And what is self-cultivation? It is an effort to polish; it is an effort to create a beautiful character, to drop all that is unrespectable and to create all that is respectable. That’s why in different countries different things are cultivated by the spiritual people – the so-called spiritual. It depends on the society; what the society respects, that will be cultivated.