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Chapter 14: Nirvana: Your Inner Space

Mind, any kind of mind - Catholic or communist, Jew or Jaina - is the same. Mind is a disease, and every mind creates a prison around you. There are different kinds of prisons; their architecture is different, they are made of different material. Some are made of stones, some are made of bricks, some are made of wood, and so on and so forth, but it does not matter. The material is not important - you are imprisoned. A Catholic mind has different concepts, a Hindu mind is rooted in a different ideology, but every mind needs an ideology. Even the atheist lives in a prison although he does not believe in God. He thinks he is a disbeliever - he is not. His disbelief is his belief. He fanatically disbelieves, in the same fanatical way that believers believe, sometimes even more fanatically because the people who believe in God remember God only once in a while, maybe on Sundays - it is a Sunday religion - but the atheist continuously argues against God. He remembers God continuously.

There is a very beautiful story in Indian scriptures:

When Narda, a devotee, a great devotee, was dying God appeared to him. Such things used to happen in the past. They don’t happen anymore. And God asked him what he would like, if he had any desire to be fulfilled in the next life.

He said, “Yes, I want to be born an atheist.”

Even God was puzzled. Remember, such things used to happen in the past. Now they no longer happen. God said, “What? You want to be an atheist? Such a great devotee, such a believer, such a religious man who has been singing and singing my name?”

Narda said, “Yes, because although I am a devotee, I continuously go on forgetting you, but I have seen atheists who never forget you. That’s why I want to be an atheist next time, so that I can remember you continuously. I don’t want to forget you even for a single moment. Now you are only one of the items of my mind, but for the atheist you seem to be his whole heart - although he denies you, he remembers you. So just give me one blessing, that I should be born an atheist so that I can talk about you continuously.”

This story is beautiful. It says in a very symbolic way that the atheist and the theist are not in different boats.

The communist goes on arguing against God. Now he has no business with God, nothing to do with God. How was Karl Marx concerned with God? God does not come into it as far as economics is concerned, he is not an economic theory or anything. But Marx was obsessed, continuously obsessed. Again and again he came to deny God, as if God were haunting him.

These are all fanatics. Believers, nonbelievers, Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians - all are fanatics. And the fanatic never looks at the facts, that’s why he is a fanatic. The creed of the fanatic is: ‘We are right and don’t be distracted by the facts - whatsoever the facts say they are bound to be wrong.” The fanatic’s creed is: “We have already concluded what is true. Now the facts have to fit with our creed, not vice versa.”

And all these so-called ideologies have created very crippled people. Of course the Catholic mind is one of the most crippled and paralyzed minds in the world, because it is repressive - and whenever you repress something you grow ugly. Whatsoever is repressed remains there. Not only does it remain there, it becomes every day more and more powerful. It accumulates energy. If you express it, it evaporates.

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