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Chapter 4: Some Other Ganges

You are full of fear; and where there is fear there can be no connection with God. All your prayers and worship are because you are afraid - not out of love for God. You visit the holy places, bathe in the holy rivers, perform sacred rites and worship - all out of fear. Your religion is the medicine of your fear; it is not a celebration of joy. You do all this to protect yourself. These are the precautions you take for your well-being. Just as you amass wealth, build a house, have a bank balance, take out an insurance policy, in the same manner God is also your insurance policy.

And who has ever arrived through fear? Fear is a way of separating; love is a way of integrating. Fear creates distance; love brings closeness. Fear and love never meet. When fear is completely gone, only then does love arise. As long as fear prevails you can only hate. Though you may cover and decorate your hatred you cannot love.

How can you love one whom you fear? You fight the one you fear; you can never surrender to him. And even if you surrender, it will only be a new device for battle; futilely you hope to be rid of fear this way.

If I have succeeded in attaining His pleasure, I have bathed in all the holy rivers.
And if I fail to please Him, why should I bathe and adorn myself?

People go to holy places and bathe in the holy waters, not as an act of joy but in the desire to be rid of sins. It is believed that by bathing in the Ganges all sins are carried away by the waters of the river. Now why should the Ganges wash your sins? How is it involved in your evil deeds? Besides, your sins come not from the body but from the mind. How can the Ganges wash your mind? At most it can clean your body and remove its dust and dirt; it cannot cleanse the dirt of your mind.

The Ganges is all right for washing your body, but not as a means of washing your soul. You will have to look for some other Ganges. There is an old story which says: One Ganges flows on earth, one flows in heaven. You will have to find the Ganges of heaven. The earthly Ganges can only touch the body, which is also of the earth. The Ganges of heaven will touch your soul and wash it. How is one to find the heavenly Ganges? Where is one to look for it?

These sutras direct you to the Ganges of heaven:

If I have succeeded in attaining His pleasure, I have bathed in all the holy rivers.

That he should be pleased with you is as good as bathing in the heavenly Ganges. Attaining His pleasure is a very deep and profound saying. Try to understand it. You will gain his pleasure only when you do not stand against him. You will gain his pleasure only when you have completely dissolved yourself in him, when your sense of being the doer is completely annihilated. He is the doer, you are only a means; and that is enough to please him!

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