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Chapter 6: Joy Is the Criterion

But if you have the symbol of God then the whole thing is no longer disorderly. If you don’t have that symbol then you are simply surprised: you find persons praying in the synagogue and everybody asking for different weather, and it looks almost foolish. And they all are good people, religious people - how is God going to fulfill them? In fact, if you don’t have the symbol of God, those five prayers are chaotic, you cannot make any sense out of them. Once you have the symbol, that symbol crystallizes everything.

“See?” said the rabbi.

The last question:

It is an unimportant point in a very interesting inspiring discourse, but why do you say that the sun will be finished in four thousand years? My atlases of the earth and the universe give a figure for the next major change in the sun’s present output - to a red giant stage - to be about five billion years or so - which would annihilate life on earth. Are you trying to start a stampede? Or is this an “intentional imperfection” inserted into your discourse as in a Persian rug?

The questioner says: “It is an unimportant point in a very inspiring discourse.” - but nothing else has inspired the questioner to ask. So this must have been the most important thing.

There are people who are interested in nonessential things and they make much fuss about them. And they forget that because of that fuss much is being missed.

If it makes you happy, you can make it five billion years - or why five billion? Why not five hundred billion? If it makes you happy you can make as big a figure as you can.

I have heard one anecdote.

A scientist was speaking about the same truth and he said, “In five billion years the sun will cool down.”

A woman sitting in front of the audience started trembling, perspiring, was almost going to faint. So the scientist had to stop his talking. He said, “What is going on? Why are you becoming so afraid? You need not be afraid, it is five billion years.”

The woman said, “Thank god! I thought you said five million.”

What difference does it make? You will be dead within fifty years. Whether the earth continues or the sun continues for five billion or five million years makes no difference. These are irrelevant things.

My point was that if the sun becomes cold someday, we will not be able to live. I was trying to explain to you that you don’t end at your skin. I am not a scientist and I am very happy that I am not. I was simply saying that the skin is not your boundary. It is difficult to say where your boundary is because it is, in fact, nowhere.