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Chapter 3: The Gates of Heaven and Hell

If you suddenly awake in the middle of anger, you will feel a peace you have never felt before. Energy was moving and suddenly it stops. You will have silence, immediate silence. You will fall into your inner being, and the fall will be so sudden, you will become aware. It is not a slow fall, it is so sudden that you cannot remain unaware. You can remain unaware only with routine things, with gradual things; you move so slowly that you don’t feel the movement. Sudden movement - from activity to no-activity, from thought to no-thought, from mind to no-mind, this warrior realized. As the sword was going back into its sheath, the warrior realized. And Hakuin said, “Here open the doors of heaven.”

Silence is the door.

Inner peace is the door.

Nonviolence is the door.

Love, compassion, is the door.

Heaven and hell are not geographical, they are psychological, they are your psychology. And this is not a question to be decided on the last day of judgment. Human mind is so clever in avoiding, in escaping. Christians, Mohammedans and Jews have created a concept of the last day when everybody is to be judged - you will be taken out of your grave and judged. Those who have followed Jesus, who have been good, who have behaved, will go to heaven; those who have misbehaved, who have not followed Jesus, those who have not been in the church, should be thrown into hell. And this hell is going to be eternal.

Christian hell is one of the most ridiculous things. It is eternal, there is no end to it. This seems to be injustice, sheer injustice; whatsoever sin you have committed, no punishment which is eternal can be just. Bertrand Russell somewhere has joked, “If I calculate all my sins, sins that I have committed and sins that I have not committed, only brooded over - if they are also included - then the hardest judge can’t send me to jail for more than four years. And Christianity sends you to hell forever.” Bertrand Russell has written a book, Why I am not a Christian. this is one of his arguments. It is a beautiful argument because the whole thing seems to be ridiculous. And Christians believe only in one life..

If, as Hindus say, you have committed millions of sins in millions of lives, it may look logical to send a person to hell for eternity. But Christians believe in only one life, a life of seventy years. How can you commit so much sin that you deserve eternal hell? If you commit sin continuously every moment for seventy years, then too, even then eternal hell doesn’t look just. The whole thing seems to be revengeful. So God is not throwing you into hell because of your sins, but just because you were disobedient, just because you were rebellious, just because you didn’t listen to him. This seems to be revenge. But revenge can be unjust. Is it punishment? It seems ridiculous.

Human mind has created a last judgment day. Why? Why wait for the last judgment day? Mind always postpones, pushes things ahead: the problem is not right here and now, it is a question of the last judgment day. We will see. The problem is not urgent, we will see what happens. There are ways and means.. In the last moment you can follow Jesus, in the last moment you can surrender and say to God, “I was a sinner.” Confess and be forgiven. And God is infinite compassion, God is love; he is going to forgive you.

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