(image by me)
The ego is like the rose and also like the thorns which surround the rose. It takes the place of the thorns when it is not
cultivated, and it becomes a rose when it is refined.
When the ego remains in the condition of a thorn, more thorns come; and more and more, till it increases its thorns to such an
extent that everyone who touches that person is dissatisfied. We all have friends to whom we should be most grateful if they
would keep away from us. We love them, we like them, but we would be very glad if they would keep away. What is it? It is
the thorns that hurt.
In what way do these thorns manifest? They manifest in the form of words, of actions, of desires, in the form of manner. Why
does one feel annoyed with certain people in life, even before they have uttered one word? Because the thorn is pricking.
Perhaps that person will say, ‘But I have not said anything, I have not done anything,’ but he does not know that he has thorns;
there are perhaps so many that even before he utters one word, before he moves, his presence pricks us. It is a natural
outcome of the ego. Either the ego develops thorns, or it develops into a rose; and when it develops into a rose, then everyone
is attracted to it because of its beautiful petals, its delicacy, its fragrance, its color, its softness, its structure. Everything about it
is attractive, appealing, and healing.
For every soul there are four stages to pass through in order to come to the culmination of the ego, which means to reach the
stage of the rose.
The first stage is that a person is rough, thoughtless and inconsiderate. He is interested in what he wants and
in what he likes; as such he is naturally blind to the needs and wants of others.
In the second stage a man is decent and good as
long as his interests are concerned. As long as he can get his wish fulfilled he is pleasant and kind and good and harmonious;
but if he cannot get his wish and cannot have his way, then he becomes rough and crude and changes completely.
And there is
a third stage, when someone is more concerned with another person’s wish and desire, and less with himself; when his whole
heart is seeking for what he can do for another.
In his thought the other person comes first and he comes afterwards. That is
the beginning of turning into the rose. It is only a rosebud, but then in the fourth stage this rosebud blooms in the person who
entirely forgets himself in doing kind deeds for others.