Chapter 4: Earth and Sky Apart
But if you look at the rose, if you feel the rose, if you become rosy with the rose, if you allow the fragrance to move into your innermost core, if you feel the wetness of the flower, the dewdrops on it, the sunrise dancing, if you see the utter joy of the flower, the incomparable beauty of it - in that very vision of the rose the thorns start receding. They may be on the bush but they don’t exist for you. They can’t exist for you; your eyes are full of the rose. And when your eyes are really full of the rose - not only your eyes but your heart too - then you will be surprised to find that the thorns don’t matter. Even if there are ten thousand thorns for one rose, only the rose matters, the thorns don’t matter. Your whole outlook has changed and you will look at thorns with a new vision. You will see the thorns not as enemies of the rose but as bodyguards of the rose. They are guarding it; they are friends; they protect - otherwise it will not be possible for the rose to survive. Those thorns are a must.
Once you have started seeing the beauty of life, ugliness starts disappearing. It becomes at the most a shadow. If you start looking at life with joy, sadness starts disappearing. You cannot have both heaven and hell together, you can have only one. It is your choice. And you can have it any moment. If you want hell, you can have it right now. If you want the heaven, you can have that too. It is absolutely your responsibility; it is your choice.
It depends how you interpret.
I would like to tell you a few anecdotes..
Thirty nuns arrived in purgatory. “Now girls,” said the angel in charge. “I want every one of you who was ever sexually involved in any kind of relationship on the earth to stand up - and remember, no fibbing. I have ways of checking up on you.”
Sheepishly twenty-nine of the nuns stood up, but the thirtieth remained seated.
The angel nodded and put in a phone call to the devil. “Satan,” he said, “I’m sending down thirty nuns to you - and I advise you to be particularly careful of one. She’s stone deaf!”
Now this is your interpretation. This shows more about the mind of the angel than anything about the woman who has kept silent and has not stood up.
The Pearly Gates. St. Peter interviewing a new arrival.
St. Peter: “Name?”
New Arrival: “Melvin.”
St. Peter: “Did you ever gamble, drink, or smoke when you were on earth?”
St. Peter: “Did you ever steal, lie, cheat, or swear?”
St. Peter: “Were you promiscuous?”
St. Peter: “Tell me what kept you there so long?”
This shows the mind of St. Peter, nothing about Melvin.
The third.. “Rabbi Jacobs, I need fifty dollars to get out of debt,” sobbed Gottlieb. “I keep praying to God to help, but he has not sent it!”
“Don’t lose faith,” said the rabbi. “Keep praying.”