But in a Christian conditioning – Kahlil Gibran is a converted Christian, his forefathers changed their religion from Mohammedanism to Christianity. All the religions born outside of India believe that you have only one life – and then sit on trees, blessed, dead, or stand, as you wish, and watch for eternity until the last day comes, the Day of Judgment.
Jesus was asked again and again, “When is the Day of Judgment coming?” Because his apostles were greedy, they wanted to enter paradise as soon as possible. And Jesus lied to them, or perhaps he himself was living in an illusion.
He said, “Very soon. In your very life you will see the gates of paradise flung open. I will be standing with my father, God, indicating who has followed me – he will be allowed in. And those who have not followed me will fall into the eternal darkness of hell.”
This small statement made Bertrand Russell, who was born a Christian, very irritated and annoyed. He dropped out of Christianity and wrote a book, Why I Am Not A Christian. Of all the reasons that he has given, this is the most important: that the whole religion is just without any sense of justice.
In one life, how many sins can you commit? If you go on committing sins every moment – without eating, without drinking, without sleeping, for seventy years non-stop – even then you cannot commit enough sins in seventy years to deserve eternal hellfire. Eternal! There should be some justice.
Bertrand Russell himself said, “I have committed many things which can be condemned by Christians as sin and I have dreamed many things which can be also condemned as sin. My actions and my dreams both could be joined together, and the hardest judge could not send me to jail for more than four or five years.”
Eternal condemnation to hellfire with no exit, no way of coming out, is sheer stupidity, nonsense, unreasonable. But a man like Kahlil Gibran is still burdened with the idea.
[A man in the audience, a visitor, rises to leave the hall.]
Look at this man… Where are you going? And if you were going to leave this place, why have you come? These are the dead people! Look at his face, and the woman I indicated – they should not be allowed in. This is a congregation, this is not a film show!
But all the religions that have been born in India are more rational in this sense. They do not believe in one life but in reincarnation. You go on being reborn again and again. The whole eternity is given to your life, without any beginning and without any end.
So I have been watching in the morning – I don’t see any dead soul watching from the trees. Just a few dead souls enter out of curiosity, or perhaps they are in plainclothes, just police dogs. But I will not tolerate anybody who is here out of curiosity, who is here as an observer, who is here as a detective, who is here as an informer. And you all have to be aware. Whenever you see somebody not participating, this is the last time he has entered this temple of godliness.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep…