Chapter 22: You Are the Only Hope
This is something momentous and historical that is happening here, because never before have people gathered around an ordinary, simple man who has no extraordinary powers, who has no miracles to his credit, who does not walk on water.. Really, I find it difficult even to walk on earth. I am wobbly, almost a drunkard! Somehow I manage.
The day humanity is completely finished with these exploiters in the name of religion, this very earth can become a paradise. There is no need to wait for death. What has death to do with paradise? Paradise is the way you live. Paradise has something to do with life, not with death.
If you don’t listen to these people, just simple reasoning will show you that this much population on the earth is impossible - we have already crossed the borderline. Starvation is natural; nature is trying to keep the balance, and you don’t allow nature to keep the balance because you need more Catholics!
Why are people dying in poor countries? In the first place, why are those countries poor? - because poverty has been praised, poverty has been explained away by beautiful theologies.
Hindus say you are poor because in your past life you committed great sins. It seems to be a very delayed result. The cause was in some past life far away, and the effect comes now. You put your hand in the fire and wait for the next life for it to get burned! Cause and effect are connected; the cause is nothing but unmanifested effect. You cannot put them so far apart, and you cannot put death in between than. But Hindus have been doing that, Jainas have been doing that, Buddhists have been doing that.
You give beautiful explanations to the poor, you give them respectability. Mahatma Gandhi used to call the most poor people in India Harijanas, the people of God. If to be poor, to be condemned by the whole society.because Hindus don’t even touch them, they are called untouchables. You will be surprised, they don’t touch these people because there are so degraded; they don’t even allow their shadows to touch them. If an untouchable passes by and his shadow touches your body, you have to take a bath immediately to cleanse yourself - you have been polluted.
And Gandhi calls them the people of God! If poverty, humiliation, oppression, exploitation, make you people of God, then why should one try to become rich? Because in the kingdom of God, even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but not a rich man. Strange, camels are holier than a rich man. Only the poor can enter there.
If that is the truth, then let this whole world be poor, suffering, starving, dying. What is the need of serving the poor, giving them food, hospitals, schools? What is the need? You are destroying their license to heaven!