Chapter 2: Innocence: Lost and Found Again
The first question:
Do you think that you will go to heaven when you die?
Pramod, there is no heaven anywhere, it is here. It is always here, it is never there. It is always now, it is never then. The very idea of heaven somewhere else - there, then - is a strategy of the mind to deceive you, to keep you ignorant of the heaven that surrounds you every moment.
Existence knows no past, no future. The only time existence knows is now, and the meditator has to enter this “nowness” of things. This is heaven. This very moment we are in it. You are not aware, I am aware of it. That’s the only difference: you are sleep, I am awake. But we exist in the same space. There is nowhere to go.
The biblical story says God became angry with Adam and Eve and threw them out of the Garden of Eden. That is impossible - yes, even for God it is impossible. They say God is omnipotent, but there are limits to omnipotence too. For example, he cannot make two plus two equal five. He cannot throw anybody out of paradise because only paradise exists; it is synonymous with existence itself.
So what must have happened is, after eating the fruit of knowledge Adam and Eve became minds. When you eat the fruit of knowledge you become a mind, you lose your innocence, you become knowledgeable. And knowledge drives you out of the now to “then,” to “there.” Mind is always somewhere else.
Adam and Eve must have fallen asleep. Metaphysically to fall asleep means to become a mind. And to become a Buddha, awakened, to become a Christ, is to come out of the mind, to come out of knowledge and become innocent again. That’s the whole alchemy of meditation.
I am not identified with the mind anymore, so there is no question of any heaven anywhere else. Religious scriptures are full of heaven. They even give you maps - where it is, how far away, how to reach there, what path to travel, which guide to listen to: Christ, Mohammed, Buddha. And they also make you very afraid that if you don’t reach heaven you will fall into hell.
Neither heaven exists, nor hell exists - they are just in your psychology. When you are psychically attuned with existence, when you are silent, you are in heaven. When you are disturbed, when you lose your silence, you are distracted and there are ripples and ripples in the lake of your consciousness, and all the mirror-like quality of the consciousness is lost, you are in hell.
Hell simply means disharmony within you - within you, and with existence too. The moment you are harmonious within yourself and with existence - and they are two sides of the same coin - you are immediately in heaven. Heaven and hell are not geographical.