The story of Bahubali
> If removal of the ego is part and parcel of
> "enlightenment"... why do people
> want to be "enlightened"? Isn't
> the pursuit of enlightenment in itself ego
The pursuit of enlightenment is most often ego driven. But until and unless you lose your ego - you wont get enlightenment.
I'll tell you a story. There was a person named Bahubali. He was the 2nd eldest son of Rishabh Dev (the first Jain tirthankar). He had a few other brothers and sisters.
2 of his brothers became monks before Bahubali. And due to deep meditation, they became enlightened.
Now Jainism says that you should respect the people who are enlightened - because they are superior to you - as in - they conquered all enemies.
But Bahubali was elder than his brothers. In India, at that time, youngsters had to show respect to their elders. So Bahubali thought that he would go to a jungle, meditate so that even he became enlightened. Then he would meet his brothers. So that he wouldn't have to show respect to them.
He went to a jungle and meditated for 6 months in standing position. He didn't sit down for 6 months. He didn't eat or drink for 6 months (maybe this is an exaguration). There were plants growing around his body.
But he didn't receive enlightenment. Lord Rishabdev came to know about this. He told Bahubalis sister to tell him "brother, get off the elephant. You can't receive complete knowledge sitting on an elephant"
Hearing this, Bahubali thought - he has been standing since 6 months, why are his sisters telling him to get off the elephant? And then he realized - he is sitting on the elephant of ego. He realized he should go and give respect to his younger brothers. Then only he would have given up his pride and ego completely.
As soon as he realized this, and took just one step, he received enlightenment.