Chapter 9: A God Is a Despot
We are almost like the waves of the ocean - just on the surface, and the ocean may be miles deep. The Pacific Ocean is five miles deep. But a small wave on the top will never know the depth - her own depth, because she is not separate from the ocean. She will cling to her small entity, be afraid about death, be afraid of losing herself in the vastness, the oceanic infinity. But the truth is, the death of the wave is not a death, but the beginning of an eternal life.
God has been invented. It was people’s need; people needed a protector. In the immensity of the universe, a man feels so alone, so small. The vastness creates trembling in him. What is your existence?
I am reminded of a story by Bertrand Russell. The archbishop of England sees in a dream that he has reached the pearly gates of paradise. On one hand he is immensely pleased, and on the other hand he is very much troubled, because the pearly gates are so vast, in both directions, that he cannot see the whole gate. It is so high that it is beyond the capacity of his eyes to see. And he himself seems to be just like a small ant, compared to this great gate. He is a little bit afraid. He is no ordinary man, he is the archbishop of England. He feels humiliated just by the gate, and the fear arises, “If this is the situation at the gate, what is the situation going to be inside?”
With fearful hands he knocks on the door, but in the immensity of that space only he can hear his knock. It takes days for him, but he goes on knocking harder and harder. Finally a small window opens in the gate and Saint Peter looks out with one thousand eyes, trying to figure out who has been making a noise. Those one thousand eyes are so shiny, like stars, that the archbishop feels even more reduced - almost to a nonentity.
And Saint Peter asks, “Please, whoever you are, wherever you are, come in front of me.”
The archbishop declares himself. He says to Saint Peter, “Perhaps you don’t know me. You can check with Jesus Christ, I am the archbishop of England.” Saint Peter says, “Never heard of any such thing as England.”
The archbishop says, “Perhaps you may not have heard about England, but you must have heard about our beautiful planet, Earth.”
Saint Peter says, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but unless you give me the index number of your Earth, I cannot figure out what you are talking about. I will have to go to the library and look - if you give me the index number - to which solar system you belong, because there are millions of solar systems and each solar system has many planets.”
But the archbishop has never thought that the earth has any index number. He says, “I don’t know any index number, but I am the archbishop. You just go and tell Jesus Christ.”
He says, “You are giving me puzzle after puzzle. Who is this fellow Jesus Christ?”
The archbishop is very much shocked. He says, “You don’t know Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God?”