I am needed, a master is needed, because your desire to be enlightened is not very strong, not very intense. You don’t feel the urgency, you don’t feel thirsty enough for it. It is not your first priority. Maybe it is somewhere on your shopping list – just at the end. If any money is left, if any time is left, and the market remains open, you will see, but it is not first. First comes the world, and then comes godliness. Of course, you never come to godliness, because the world is vast – one thing leads to another, and it goes on and on. It has to be your first priority. I am needed only to help you to put enlightenment on your list as the first priority, that’s all. If you can put it there yourself, then you can become enlightened anywhere.
I became enlightened without any master, so there cannot be any problem for you. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. The master is not a must. It has become a must because you are so lethargic, because you are so unwilling to move toward ecstasy, because you are so attached to the ways of sorrow and anguish.
You have become so attached to the prison, you don’t want to get out of it. Even if the door is left open, you don’t escape. You go on deceiving yourself; you don’t even look at the door. You go on deceiving yourself that the door is closed and the guard is there. And there is nobody! The door is open and the guard is not there – but you want to remain in the prison, you have become too attached. You have invested too much in the prison. In fact you have started looking at the prison as your home. The outside world looks strange and wild, and you feel afraid.
People are afraid of freedom, and people are afraid of knowing life too deeply. People are afraid to love, people are afraid to be. They have lived long in the dark; now they are afraid of light – afraid they will not be able to open their eyes, afraid they will be dazzled, their eyes may be destroyed, afraid because their life in the darkness has become a settled routine. It is secure. Why take any chance? Why go into the unknown and the uncharted?
The darkness has become too familiar; otherwise you can become enlightened anywhere. It is your treasure. You can claim it any moment. It is a surprise as to why you have not claimed it up to now.
And remember, nobody else can enlighten you against yourself. If you have decided to remain the way you are, then there is no possibility. All the Buddhas and all the Christs and all the Krishnas all put together, they cannot do anything! You will remain the same as you are, and it is good in a way that it should be so. If you can be enlightened by somebody else, against your wishes, then that enlightenment cannot be very valuable. It cannot be a freedom. If you can be forced to be enlightened, then that too is going to be a slavery, a bondage – a new bondage.
No, it is absolutely your choice! Choose it or leave it, but remember always, it is your responsibility.
There are many people who come to a master, and they surrender just so that they stop feeling responsible. That is a wrong type of surrender. Surrender means “I am ready to cooperate” – that’s all. It does not mean “Now you are responsible, and if I don’t become enlightened then you will be responsible for it.” Then, nothing is going to happen even through surrender, because the surrender happened in the first place for wrong reasons.