There is no criterion. Surrender, if it is total – which is very difficult, almost impossible; only a very innocent man can do it – will help you, not the master. The master may not be a master at all. But surrender simply means you have dropped your ego completely. But why call it surrender? Surrender always means to someone.
I am a straightforward, simple person. I will tell you to drop the ego; I will not tell you to surrender to me. That is a roundabout way of dropping the ego, and dangerous because you may be surrendering yourself to somebody who is not right; you may be following someone who himself is lost.
There is a beautiful story by Kahlil Gibran….
A man became a very famous master, and he went from one place to another teaching his doctrine which was very simple: “Come follow me.”
Of course people have so many things to do they cannot just come and follow you. And they always think, “Next time when you come, perhaps I will be ready; my children are small, my girl has to be married, my wife is sick. What you are saying is right, but the time is not right. I am ready, but the situation does not allow it.”
He went on telling the people, “Whoever follows me, within days, he will attain to the ultimate illumination.”
In one village, one young man stood up and said, “I am ready.”
There was great silence for a moment because this had never happened. The master was a little hesitant. Now where to take him…what to do? He had no knowledge of what it means when you attain to self-illumination, but in front of the crowd he pretended. He said, “Okay, you come with me.”
He took him into the hills, into rough places…made the journey as terrible as possible. But the young man was also very stubborn – he continued to follow him. Many times the master said, “You must be tired; it is better you go back.”
That young man said, “I will never go back. First I will attain self-illumination whatever the cost; only then can I go back.”
But trying to put the young man into hardships, the old master was himself also trying to do the same. He was also terribly tired. Finally, he had a nervous breakdown.
The young man said, “What is the matter?”
The old man said, “To be honest with you – I have to be honest, otherwise you will kill me – you are young and I am old. You can go through all this suffering and I cannot.”
But the young man said, “I have not told you to go through all this suffering. I was simply following you; you were not following me.”
The old man said, “To be honest, I don’t know what self-illumination is. My profession was going so well…my whole life. Because nobody ever followed, no problem ever arose. You are such a rascal that you really followed, and you are still bent upon following me – that means you will kill me.”
The young man said, “But what about self-illumination?”