Bertrand Russell is right when he says, “If all the crimes that I have committed, and all the crimes that I have dreamed about in my whole life are both to be punished, then the cruelest court cannot send me behind bars for more than four years. And Christianity says that you will suffer eternal hell.” Now, any idiot can understand that the punishment is too much.
It seems as if God enjoys punishing people, torturing people; otherwise, what crimes are you committing? Can you commit a crime which deserves eternal hell? Can you think of a crime that deserves eternal hell? However big the crime may be – you may be Adolf Hitler, you may be Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong – then too there should be a limit. Even if Adolf Hitler committed millions of crimes, so what! – eternal hell would not be fair.
And what about ordinary people? You may have lied sometimes; you may have done something that your religion prohibits. You may have dreamed something which your society will not approve of You may have escaped, in your dream, with somebody’s wife – only in your dream. But Jainism says your dreams will be punished too because it makes no difference whether you escape with somebody’s wife or you dreamed it – in the East life itself is nothing but a dream. Both are dreams – the difference is only of duration.
In the night when you escaped with somebody’s wife the duration was short, perhaps a few minutes, but the intensity was great. The duration was short but the intensity was great. Those few seconds you enjoyed, you really enjoyed. And because it was your dream the woman could not be bitchy to you – unless you love bitchy women; that’s another matter. It is your dream, it will reflect you. If you dream about bitchy women that simply means that’s what you want, and then naturally that’s what you deserve.
Jainism says the outer life, of open eyes, is also a dream. It lasts longer, the duration, but its intensity is not so deep. Its length may be years but it is not deep. So if you put your dream with closed eyes on one side of a scale, and your other dream with open eyes on the other side of the scale, it is possible they may weigh exactly the same, because one’s length is long but the surface is thin; the other’s duration is short but the intensity is tremendous. In any case both are dreams, and you will have to suffer punishment for both.
From your very childhood every religion is creating fear in you. And the other side of the fear is greed. They are both created simultaneously, they are not two things. On one hand fear is created: if you do a certain thing you will be punished, and the punishment is made as exaggerated as possible.
If you look at the ideas of all the religions about hell, you will be surprised. These scriptures were written by great saints, and I have always wondered whether these people were saints or some kind of sadists, because even to imagine all these tortures you need the mind of a sadist. And you must be somehow enjoying the imagination.