Ego is a social phenomenon–it is society, it is not you. But it gives you a function in the society, a place in the hierarchy of the society. And if you remain satisfied with it, you will miss the whole opportunity of finding the real self.
Have you ever noticed that all types of miseries enter through the ego? It cannot make you blissful; it can only make you miserable. Ego is hell. Whenever you suffer, just try to watch and analyze, and you will find, somewhere the ego is the cause of it.
Two Buddhist monks are returning to their monastery; they come to a ford. The current is very powerful, it is a hilly place. A young, beautiful girl is waiting there, waiting for somebody to help her to cross. She is afraid to enter alone.
One monk, who is the older one of course… because he is older, he walks ahead–all games of the ego. If you are older, you have to walk ahead; younger monks have to walk a little back. The older monk comes first. The young girl asks him, “Would you help me; just hold my hand? I am afraid, the current is so strong and perhaps it may be deep.”
The old man closes his eyes–that’s what Buddha had said to the monks, that if you see a woman, particularly if she is beautiful, close your eyes. But I am surprised: you have already seen her, then you close your eyes; otherwise how can you determine she is a woman, and beautiful? You are already affected, and now you close your eyes! So he closes his eyes and enters the ford without answering the woman.
Then the second, younger monk comes. The girl is afraid, but there is nothing else to do–the sun is setting, soon it will be night. So she asks the young monk, “Will you please hold my hand? The ford seems to be deep and the current strong… and I am afraid.”
The monk says, “It is deep, I know, and just holding hands won’t do; you sit on my shoulders and I will carry you to the other side.”
When they reach the monastery the older monk says to the young one, “You, fellow, you have committed a sin and I am going to report that not only you touched a woman, not only you talked with her, you carried her on your shoulders! You should be expelled from the community; you are not worthy of being a monk.”
The young man simply laughs and says, “It seems although I have dropped that girl three miles back, you are still carrying her on your shoulders. Three miles have passed, and you are still bothered by it?”
Now, what is happening to this old monk? The girl was beautiful; he has missed a chance. He is angry, he is jealous. He is full of sexuality, he is really in a mess. The younger one is completely clean. He took the girl across and left her on the other shore, and that’s that, the thing is finished.
Never fight with greed, ego, anger, jealousy, hatred –you cannot kill them, you cannot crush them, you cannot fight with them. All that you can do is just be aware of them–and the moment you are aware, they are gone. In the light, the darkness simply disappears.