Some reflections by Osho. I extend the word ‘God’ to include any ego ideal. It brings this piece closer to home.
“Man has always been thinking of himself as the most superior creation in existence. Man has thought of himself only as next to God and feels very happy. That, too, we say just to be polite; deep down you know that God is next to you.
“Even when you are a great worshipper … every moment you are trying to manipulate God according to you. ‘Do my will!’ That’s all your prayer means. That’s all your prayer means. ‘Do according to me. Listen to me’. Your whole effort is to convert God into your servant. You call him ‘Lord’. ‘Master’, but those are just briberies; you are trying to manipulate him. You say, ‘I am nobody, you are all’ – but deep down you know who is who. In fact even when you fight for your God, it is your God. Even when you sacrifice yourself on some pedestal, some altar, it is to your God that you sacrifice. When you bow down to an image of God in a temple, a mosque, in a church, it is to your image that you have created, to your God. You are bowing down to your own creation. You are bowing down as if before a mirror.
“Remember we are fuelling our egos in every way possible – gross or subtle, direct or indirect. And a really religious person is one who knows this, becomes aware of this, and in that awareness the ego disappears. A really religious person has no idea who is superior. A religious person cannot say, ‘I am superior to the tree, I am superior to the animal, I am superior to the bird.’ A religious person cannot say, ‘I am superior’. A religious person has come to know that ‘I am not’ and in that experience of ‘I am not’ joy flows in; the rock has been removed.”
Osho (1990) Tao: the pathless path New York: St. Martin’s Griffin