Chapter 11: A Noah’s Ark of Consciousness
When you cannot find anything to be guilty about, to me you have become a religious man. To the so-called religions, unless you are guilty you are not religious; the more guilty you are, the more religious you are.
People are torturing themselves as punishment, as penance. People are fasting; people are beating their chests with their fists till blood oozes from their chests. These people, to me, are psychopaths; they are not religious. Their so-called religions have taught them that if you commit anything wrong, it is better to punish yourself than be punished by God on Judgment Day - because that punishment is to be thrown into the abysmal darkness of hell for eternity. There is no escape, no exit. Once you enter hell, you have entered.
The whole humanity has been made guilty in some measure or other. It has taken away the shine from your eyes, it has taken away the beauty from your face, it has taken away the grace of your being. It has reduced you to a criminal - unnecessarily.
Remember: man is frail and weak, and to err is human. And the people who invented the proverb, “To err is human,” have also invented the proverb, “To forgive is divine.” I don’t agree with the second part.
I say, “To err is human and to forgive is also human.” And to forgive oneself is one of the greatest virtues, because if you cannot forgive yourself, you cannot forgive anybody else in the world - it is impossible. You are so full of wounds, of guilt - how can you forgive anybody? Your so-called saints go on saying that you will be thrown into hell. The reality is, they are living in hell! They cannot allow even God to forgive you.
One great Sufi poet, Omar Khayyam, has written in his Rubaiyat, his world-famous collection of poetry: “I am going to drink, to dance, to love. I am going to commit every kind of sin because I trust God is compassionate - he will forgive. My sins are very small; his forgiveness is immense.”
When the priests came to know about his book - because in those days books were written by hand, there were no printing presses.. When the priests discovered that he was writing such sacrilegious things, that he was saying, “Don’t be worried, go on doing anything you want because God is nothing but pure compassion and love. How much sin can you commit in seventy years of life? - in comparison to his forgiveness, it is nothing.”
He was a famous mathematician too, renowned in his country. The priests approached him and said, “What kind of things are you writing? You will destroy people’s religiousness! Create fear in people, tell people that God is very just: - if you have committed a sin, you will be punished. There will be no compassion.”