Chapter 30: Surrender: The Ego Upside Down
I used to go at least three or four times a year to Mount Abu in India. Mount Abu has one of the most artistic temples in the whole world. They are Jaina temples, Delwara temples. The carving in the marble is incomparable. When for the first time I went to Mount Abu, the priest of the Delwara temple came to invite me. I went with him to his office. The Delwara temple is a very precious temple, very ancient, and yet as fresh as if it had just been finished, just created.
Marble has that quality of freshness: for thousands of years it remains young, fresh, innocent. And Delwara temples are just marble and marble. The Taj Mahal is nothing compared to Delwara temples. The Taj Mahal is a simple structure, but Delwara temples are the artwork of thousands of artists, perhaps over hundreds of years. Each inch is carved.
In his office - and he had a beautiful office, because governors, governor - generals, and even George the fifth, the king, had come to visit the Delwara temples. If you miss the Delwara temples you miss much of India, the India that was. Delwara has something of the past beauty and glory. So he had a beautiful office because he was continually receiving guests from foreign countries, prime ministers, presidents, kings, queens.
I went into his office. And in his office there was carved on the marble wall, a beautiful sentence, a statement from Mahavira. The statement is such that nobody could object to it, and nobody had ever objected. The priest was almost seventy years old and the priest’s forefathers, and their forefathers from generation to generation, had served the temple. The statement was simple. The statement was: “The humble man is respected universally. Be humble.”
But the reason you are given for being humble is that you will be honored universally. The whole statement of Mahavira is: “The king is honored in his own country, but the humble man is honored universally” - there are no boundaries to his honor. A king’s honor has boundaries - within his own kingdom. Beyond those boundaries he is nobody. But the humble person has no boundaries to his kingdom, the whole universe is his kingdom; he is universally honored.
But to whom is this idea going to appeal? The ego will immediately catch hold of it. That’s what the ego wants: to be honored universally! And if humbleness is the way, then okay, the ego is ready to be humble. If surrender is the way, the ego is ready to surrender
People used to come to me and they would say, “We want to surrender to you.”
I would say, “But what will you surrender to me?”
And they would say, “It is such a simple thing - we want to surrender our ego.”
And I would say, “That is okay, but what will I do with all these egos? You are tortured by one, I will be tortured by the thousands of egos you surrender to me. It is as if somebody comes and says, “I surrender my cancer to you.” Great surrender! You are obliging me? And how can you surrender your ego? Have you ever met it? Have you even seen it? Have you seen its subtle ways of movement, its workings? Do you know it? You don’t know it”