How does one achieve self mastery and complete control of ones life?

They are contraries. Mastery over the self has no self in it; it is utterly selfless. Mastery is there, but there is no self to master; there is nothing to master or to be mastered, there is only pure consciousness. In that purity you are part of existence; in that purity you are the lord of existence itself. But there is no self.

When we say "self-mastery" we are using the wrong language. But nothing can be done because all language is wrong at those heights; in those moments of plenitude no word is adequate. In control, there is self. In control there is more self than ever. The uncontrolled person has not that much self, that much ego how can he have? He knows his weaknesses.

That's why you will come across a very strange phenomenon: your so-called saints are more egoistic than the sinners. The sinners are more human, more humble; the saints are almost inhuman because of their control - they think they are supra-human. Because they can control their instincts, they can go on long fasts, they can remain sexually starved for years or for their whole life, they can remain awake for days together, not a single moment's sleep - because they can have such control over the body, over the mind, it naturally gives them a great ego. It feeds their idea that, "l am somebody special." It nourishes their disease.

The sinner is more humble. He has to be; he knows he cannot control anything. When anger comes he becomes angry. When love comes he becomes love. When sadness comes he becomes sad. He has no control over his emotions. When he is hungry he is ready to do anything to get food; even if he has to steal he will do it. He will find every possible way.

Self-control gives you the subtlest ego. Self-control has more self in it than anything else. But self-mastery is a totally different phenomenon; it has no self in it. Control is cultivated, practiced; with great effort you have to manage it It is a long struggle, then you arrive at it.

Mastery is not a cultivated thing, it is not to be practiced. Mastery is nothing but understanding. It is not control at all.

For example, you can control anger, you can repress it, you can sit on top of it. Nobody will ever know what you have done, and you will always be praised by people: that in such a situation where anybody would have become angry, you remained so calm and collected and cool. But you know that all that calmness and coolness was on the surface: deep down you were boiling, deep down there was fire, but you repressed it in the unconscious, you forced it deep down into your unconscious and you sat upon it like a volcano, and you are still sitting on it.

The man of control is the man of repression. He goes on repressing. Because he goes on repressing, he goes on accumulating all that is wrong. His whole life becomes a junkyard. Sooner or later, and it is going to be sooner than later, the volcano explodes - because there is only a certain limit you can contain. You repress anger, you repress sex, you repress all kinds of desires, longings - how long can you go on repressing? You can contain only so much, then one day it is more than you can control: it explodes.

Your so-called saints, men of self-control, can be provoked very easily. Just scratch a little, just scratch, and you will be surprised: the animal comes up immediately. Their saintliness is not even skin-deep; they are carrying many demons in them, they are somehow managing. And their life is a life of misery, because it is a life of constant struggle. They are neurotic people and they are on the verge of insanity, always on the verge. Any small thing can just prove the last straw on the camel. They are not religious in my vision of life.

The religious man controls nothing, the religious man represses nothing. The religious man understands, tries to understand, not to control. He becomes more meditative: he watches his anger, his sex, his greed, his jealousy, his possessiveness. He watches all these poisonous things that surround you. He simply watches, tries to understand what anger is, and in that very understanding he transcends. He becomes a witness, and in his witnessing the anger melts as if the sun has risen and the snow has started melting.

Understanding brings a certain warmth; it is a sunrise inside you and the ice starts melting around you. It is like a flame inside you and darkness starts disappearing. The man of understanding, meditation, is not a man of control - just the opposite He is a watcher. And if you want to watch, you have to be absolutely non judgmental. The man who controls is judgmental, continuously condemning, "This is wrong"; continuously praising, "This is good, this is evil, this will lead to hell, this will lead to heaven." He is constantly judging, condemning, praising, choosing. The man of control lives in choice, and the man of understanding lives in choicelessness.

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