In the past we created the idea of God: that he determines, that everything is preordained, predetermined, that a child is born absolutely determined. God determines what man is going to be; he is not free, he has no freedom. If there is no freedom, there can be no responsibility; if there is freedom, then there is responsibility. They come together, they are inseparable. Man was ready to gain his freedom, but he was very afraid to accept the responsibility. Even at the cost of losing freedom he wanted to be absolutely without responsibility. At least he could say, “It is not my will that I am suffering. What can I do? I am helpless! God has preordained it.” Or fate, kismet…
The religions which don’t believe in God and don’t believe in fate either had to find some other explanation, but it is the same thing. They have found the theory of reincarnation, the theory of karma: your past lives determine your present life. Again you are helpless! Nothing can be done now about your past lives; there is no possibility of changing them. You cannot undo them, so one has to simply accept whatsoever is the case. If you are miserable, you are miserable – accept it.
It is because of this acceptance that the East has remained poor, starved, ill. If you accept that whatsoever is happening, is happening because of your past karmas, then it has to happen, there is no way to avoid it. Even utterly stupid ideas arose out of it, and they look very logical if you accept the basic premise.
In India there is a Jaina sect, Terapanth; Acharya Tulsi is its head. This Jaina sect says that if somebody falls in a well, don’t help him to get out. You will be surprised – how can one say this? You are standing there, the man is crying, shouting for help, but this sect says, “Don’t help him because he is suffering for his past karma. Don’t interfere. If you interfere and pull him out he will have to fall in again, so you will not really have been a help. On the contrary, you will have delayed the process which would have been completed by now. And by interfering in his life and his karma you are creating a certain karma for yourself, because to interfere in somebody’s life, to disturb his process, his growth, is a sin.”
Hence the followers of this sect don’t help anybody in any way. To help is a sin, to serve is a sin. It looks very absurd, but if you accept their premise then it is not absurd; premise accepted, it looks the very logical conclusion of it.
Absurd philosophies have arisen, just for one single reason: how to avoid responsibility? Throw it on somebody else’s shoulders! It may be God, fate, the theory of karma, or, if you are not religious, if you are a materialistic person, then you can throw it on history, as Hegel did – history is responsible. It is again the same game, just the name changes, the label changes. It is no longer the past, now it is called history – not individual karma, but the karma of society is decisive; the individual is helpless. In fact, according to Hegel the individual is a fiction, only the society exists and history is the determining factor.
And millions and millions of years have passed. How can you fight with it? What can you do about it? You are utterly helpless! All that can be done is, accept it, be part of it. Whatsoever is the case – misery or bliss – you are not responsible. How can you be responsible for the whole history from the very beginning, if there was any beginning?