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Chapter 24: No Heaven, No Hell, No Doubt

One of my friends was visiting the Soviet Union, and just out of curiosity - he was a professor in the University of Varanasi - he asked a little boy, the son of his host, while walking in the garden, “What is your idea about God, about heaven, about hell?”

The boy laughed. He said, “In the past, when people were ignorant, they used to believe in such things; now nobody even bothers about them. They are part of a dead history.” The boy is not doubting. He is absolutely clear.

Beliefs create doubt. You are trained from the very beginning to feel ashamed of this, ashamed of that; you are never accepted in your simple naturalness. That’s why shame exists, and with it the fear that you may do something wrong, you may go astray, you may miss the train - although there is no train and the question of missing it does not arise.

In India, all the trains run so late, and for twenty years I was continually traveling all over the country. I was surprised that one day in Allahabad the train came exactly at the right time. It was almost a wonder. I went to the driver to thank him: “This is something of a great feat,” but he looked very ashamed.

I said, “What is the matter? You have done a great job, bringing the train, exactly to the second, at the right time on the platform. In twenty years this is the first time that I have seen a train coming to the platform at the right time.”

He said, “Don’t make me more ashamed.”

I said, “You are a strange person. I have come to show my gratitude to you.”

He said, “Don’t show your gratitude, because this is yesterday’s train; I am twenty-four hours late. So just go away, don’t make me feel so ashamed.”

I said, “I was not trying to make you ashamed; I had not even imagined that it is yesterday’s train. But anyway I have got in it at the right time, who cares which day’s train it is!”

All the religions live on fear; they make every child fearful. And the fear becomes the psychological atmosphere of your being. So you are never total in doing anything, you are always hesitating - whether it is right: what you are doing, is it going to lead you towards reward or towards punishment; are you coming closer to God or going farther away? Each step is full of fear. And because of this, religions have been able to exploit you.

A man who has no fear cannot be exploited. He lives his life according to his own light. He has a lifestyle which is his, not borrowed, not given by somebody else.

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