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Chapter 7: The Pathless Path

You can cultivate a bad habit; you can cultivate a good habit. Somebody can cultivate smoking, somebody can cultivate non-smoking; somebody can cultivate nonvegetarian styles of food, somebody can cultivate vegetarian styles, but both are cultivating, and in the final judgment both are the same because both live through habits.

This point has to be pondered very deeply because it is very easy to cultivate a good habit and it is very difficult to become good. And the substitute of a good habit is cheap; it can be done very easily.

Now, particularly in Russia, they are developing a therapy: conditioned reflex therapy. They say people cannot leave their habits. Somebody has been smoking for twenty years - how can you expect him to leave it? You may try to explain to him that it is bad, the doctors may say he may even be in a dangerous situation, cancer may be developing, but twenty years of a long habit - now it is engrained, now it has moved into the deepest core of his body, now it is in his metabolism. Even if he wants, even if he desires, even if he sincerely desires, it is difficult, because it is not a question of sincere desire. Twenty years of continuous practice; it is almost impossible. So what to do?

In Russia they say there is no need to do anything, and no need to explain to him. They have developed a therapy: the man starts smoking and they give him an electric shock. The shock, the pain of it and the smoking become joined together, become associated. For seven days he is hospitalized and whenever he starts smoking, immediately, automatically, he gets an electric shock. After seven days the habit is broken. Even if you persuade him to smoke he will be trembling. The moment he takes a cigarette in his hand his whole body will tremble, because of the idea of the shock.

They say now he will never smoke; they have broken the habit by a very sharp shock treatment. But he will not now become a buddha just because, through shock treatment, he does not have his old habit. All habits can be changed through shock treatment. Will he become a buddha, enlightened, because he has no bad habits anymore? No, now he will not even be a human being - he will be a mechanism. He will be afraid of things, he will not be able to do them because you have given him new habits of fear.

That is the whole meaning of hell; all the religions have used it as a shock treatment. Hell is nowhere, nor is there any heaven. Both are tricks, old psychotherapeutic concepts. They have painted hell so horrible that a child can become afraid from the very childhood. The mention of the name of hell and fear arises and he trembles. This is just a trick to prevent bad habits. And heaven is also a trick to help good habits: so much pleasure, happiness, beauty, eternal life is promised in heaven if you follow good patterns. Whatsoever the society says is good you have to follow. Heaven is to help you towards positivity and hell is to prevent you from going in the negative direction.

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