Mahavira had to be in loneliness for twelve years; Mohammed was in it for only thirty days. It depends on many things. I feel Mahavira had to wait for twelve years because he was the son of a great king. He must have been deeply rooted in a false ego – more than Mohammed – he was no ordinary man. His ego was greater than Mohammed’s. Mohammed was just a poor man with no developed ego; uneducated, really nobody. He was nobody. But Mahavira was somebody, he belonged to a great family. He had a great heritage, a very polished ego, well-educated, cultured. In every way he had a very crystallized ego. Twelve years were needed to dissolve it.
Jesus was in loneliness for only forty days. He was also a poor man with nothing to help his ego. The more civilization progresses, the more difficult it is – because every progressive civilization is bound to have a solidifying effect on the egos that constitute that civilization.
This passing through a chaos without any center, being a chaos, ultimately throws you down to the center, the real center, to the Self. There are many methods for how to go through this chaos and how to destroy this ego. But this is a foundational thing: to have the courage to be without a center for a certain period of time.
You can do it by surrender. You can surrender yourself to someone, to the teacher. If the surrendering is total, then you will be without ego. You can be a Self, but not an ego; that’s why surrender is so difficult. And the more egoistic an age, the more difficult surrender becomes. In surrender you give up your self, you become a shadow, you just follow the instructions. You don’t think about them – you are no more.
But whenever surrender is to be contemplated, one begins to think: “If I surrender, then I will not be an individual.”
This is absolutely incorrect. If you surrender, only then can you be an individual, because the ego is not your individuality. It is false, it is just a facade. If you surrender the false, then you are bound to explode into the real. This is the beauty of surrender. You cannot surrender the Self – mm? – that is impossible, you can only surrender the ego. You can give up only that which has been given to you. You cannot give up your Self, that is impossible. There is no possibility. How can you give up your Self? You can give up something which has been put into you, which is a social penetration. Really, you can give only that which doesn’t belong to you, which you are not.
This will look contradictory, paradoxical. You can give only that which you are not. That which you are, you cannot give. So in surrender you give up whatsoever you know yourself to be. Then only the Self remains, which you really are and you cannot give up. When the false is thrown, the real is encountered.
So there are two ways, two basic ways: one is surrender, mm? There are many methods of surrender, but the foundation is always to surrender to someone. It is not significant to whom. It is absolutely insignificant to whom you surrender. The real thing is surrendering. So sometimes it happens that the teacher himself may not be a real one – but if you surrender, you may come to the real Self.