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Chapter 3: The Gates of Heaven and Hell

To be total is a basic thing for any seeker, for anyone who is in search of silence and truth. When you are angry, be angry; don’t think of the consequences. Let the consequences be there, suffer them, but don’t deceive yourself. When entering hell, enter totally. Don’t leave half your mind outside; go into it, pass through it, suffer. Pain is going to be there but pain gives maturity; suffering is going to be there but you can transcend it if you understand. And only a total mind can understand. When anger disappears, you will become so silent, so meditative..

If you love, then love totally; if you hate, then hate totally. Don’t be fragmentary; suffer the consequences. Because of consequences you try to deceive - you are a peddler and you say you are a prostitute. Just because of the consequences you are never angry, never hateful; then you miss heaven also. One who is not capable of opening the door of hell completely will not be capable of opening completely the door of heaven. Go through hell. The path passes through there; heaven is achieved through hell. This is the meaning of the anecdote.

Hakuin first created hell for the warrior; hell must be created first. Hell is easy to create - you are always ready, always knocking at the door. You are afraid but always ready, not courageous but always ready, not daring but always ready. There is continuous turmoil inside. Hakuin could not have created heaven first; that is impossible, because no one is ready. Heaven is very far away; hell is nearby, just around the corner. You move and you are in it.

I also cannot create heaven for you. That is why all my meditative techniques are designed to create hell first. People come to me and say, “Make us silent. Why do you insist on us going mad?”

I cannot do anything - you cannot become silent. Be totally mad first. I create hell for you and you have to pass through it. It is the nearest thing you can easily do. Heaven is very far away, and one who has not traveled through hell cannot reach heaven. My insistence is a very considered one.

You can understand the story now. Hakuin said to the warrior, “You, a samurai? Your face looks like a beggar’s.”

A samurai cannot tolerate this, this is too much. A beggar? He will never beg even for his life. He can die but he cannot beg. Immediately he was touched to the very core. A beggar? Impossible! The sword came out.

I am touching you, hitting you, hammering you in all my meditation techniques just to bring your hell out. But you are such cowards that even if you bring out your hell it is not total. You play with it, you are not involved in it; you are fragmentary, you become only lukewarm. But lukewarmness won’t do. You have to be boiling, only then can you evaporate. The ego evaporates only at the hundred-degree boiling point, not before. You just become lukewarm. It is of no use, an unnecessary waste of heat. Again you will become cold; after the meditation you will be-come cold. Go to the extreme. In your catharsis open the door of hell, and I promise you, if you can open the gate of hell I will open the other gate immediately. It is always open; once you open the gate of hell, it is just near.

To say this much is enough: “Look, this is the gate of hell.” Then the gate closes, and the other gate opens.

Anything more?