There is a Sufi story: It happened in the life of Omar, a great Mohammedan Caliph. He was fighting with an enemy for thirty years. The enemy was very strong and the fight continued – a lifetime of war. In the end, it happened one day that the opportunity came. The enemy fell off his horse and Omar jumped on him with his spear. In just one second the spear would have pierced the heart of the man and everything would have been finished. But in that small gap the enemy did one thing: he spat on Omar’s face – and the spear stopped. Omar touched his face, got up and told the enemy, ‘Tomorrow we start again.’ The enemy was puzzled. He said, ‘What is the matter? I have been waiting for this for thirty years, and you have been waiting for this for thirty years.
I have been waiting, hoping that someday or other I would be on your chest with my spear and the thing would be finished. That opportunity never came to me, but it came your way. You could have finished me in a single moment. What is the matter with you?’
Said Omar, ‘This has not been an ordinary war. I have taken a vow, a Sufi vow, that I will fight without anger. For thirty years I was fighting without anger. But just for a moment anger came. When you spat, just for a moment I felt angry and it became personal. I wanted to kill you – the ego came in. Up to now for thirty years that was not a problem at all, we were fighting for a cause. You were not my enemy, it was not personal in any way. I was not in any way interested in killing you; I just wanted the cause to win. But just now, for a moment, I forgot about the cause. You were my enemy and I wanted to kill you. That is why I cannot kill you. So, tomorrow we start again.’ But the war never started again because the enemy became a friend. He said, ‘Now teach me. Be my master and let me be your disciple. I would also like to fight without anger.’ The whole secret is to fight without the ego, and if you can fight without the ego then you will be capable of doing everything without the ego. Because fight is the climax of the ego: if you can do that then you can do everything. Right now you cannot even love without ego.