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Chapter 7: Awareness: The Fire That Burns the Past

You may be a beggar and you can live a rich life. You can be a beggar. Sometimes beggars are richer than rich people. They live freely. They don’t worry about what is going to happen. They have nothing to lose, so whatsoever they have, they enjoy it. It cannot be less than what it is, so they enjoy. A poor man can live a rich life if he carries the seeds of a rich life, and those seeds will always find possibilities, opportunities to be fulfilled. Wherever you are, it will not make much difference. You will have to live through your past.

Virtue brings pleasure; vice brings pain.

If you have done virtuous karmas, good actions, then you will have much pleasure around you. Even with nothing around you, you will have a pleasant attitude towards life, a pleasant outlook. You will be able to see the bright lining in dark clouds. You will enjoy simple things, small things, but you will enjoy them so much that they will be rich, richer than rich things. You can walk like an emperor in a beggar’s robe. If you have done virtuous karmas, pleasure follows. If you have done vice, bad karmas - violent, aggressive, harming to others, then pain follows. It is just an outcome, a natural outcome, remember.

Christians, Jews, Mohammedans think that God punishes you because you do bad. You do good and God appreciates you, gives you gifts, presents of pleasant things. Hindus are more scientific: they don’t bring God in. They simply say, “This is a law” - just like a law of gravitation, if you walk balanced, you don’t fall, you enjoy the walk; if you walk unbalanced like a drunkard, you fall and a bone is fractured. It is not that God is punishing you because you walked wrongly, it is just a simple law of gravitation. You eat well, good things, health follows; you eat wrongly, wrong things, disease follows. Not that somebody is punishing you. Nobody is there to punish you, just the law, just nature - Tao, rit.

This law of karma is simple. If you bring God in then things become complicated, very complicated. Sometimes a bad man is enjoying life, and sometimes we see a good man suffering, so the question arises about what God is doing. He seems to be unjust. If He is just, then the bad should suffer and the good should enjoy life more.

The problem is: if God is absolutely just, then you cannot make Him compassionate, because then where will compassion fit? If a God is just then He cannot be compassionate, because compassion means that if somebody has done wrong but goes on praying, you forgive him. Hence, prayer becomes very meaningful in the Christian, Jewish, and Mohammedan worlds - “Pray, because if you pray God will forgive you. He is compassion.” That means that He will be unjust. If a man has not prayed and he has been a sinner, he will be punished and thrown in hell. And a man who has prayed and has been a greater sinner will enter heaven. This seems to be unjust. Just because of prayer? And what is prayer? Is it a sort of bribery? What is a prayer? A sort of buttering? What do you do in prayer? - you “butter” God.