But there are fake religions all over the world which are telling you that you are miserable because in the past life you committed evil acts. All nonsense – because why should existence wait for one life to punish you? There seems to be no need – in nature things happen immediately. You put your hand in the fire in this life and in the next life you will be burned? Strange! You will be burned immediately, herenow. Cause and effect are connected, there cannot be any distance.
But these fake religions go on consoling people: “Don’t be worried. Just do good acts, worship more. Go to the temple or the church, and in the next life you will not be miserable.” Nothing seems to be cash; everything is in the next life. And nobody comes back from the next life and says, “These people are telling absolute lies.” Religion is cash; it is not even a check.
Different religions have found different strategies, but the reason is the same. Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, religions born outside India say to people, “You are suffering because Adam and Eve committed a sin.” The first couple, thousands of years back…and not a great sin – you are committing it every day. They simply ate apples, and God has forbidden them to eat apples.
The question is not the apples, the question is that they disobeyed. Thousands of years back somebody disobeyed God and he was punished, he was thrown out of the Garden of Eden, thrown out of God’s paradise. Why are we suffering? – because they were our forefathers. But strange, nobody asked these idiots – these Christians, Mohammedans, Jews, their great rabbis, popes and imams – “If that is the reason for our miseries, then why are our miseries different? Because the sin was one and single and the same, our miseries should be the same. But every man is suffering differently. His anxiety is different, his anguish is different, his problems are different – how come this variety of miseries?”
Nobody has raised the question, and they don’t have any answer if somebody asks it. If the whole of humanity were suffering the same misery there would be some logical grounds to believe that there must be a singular cause, but it is not so.
The religions that were born in India have all taken another excuse: that you are suffering because of your past lives. I used to meet Jaina monks, Buddhist monks, and ask them, “I can understand that I am suffering because of my past life, but what about the first life? There must have been a first life, in the very beginning. Why did people suffer then? They had no past life. And if they did not suffer, then the first generation of humanity lived in blissfulness; it is impossible that their children should suffer. Their children should have learned the blissfulness of their parents – children imitate. Then how did misery enter in?”
And they always said, “You, whenever you come you bring some embarrassing question. We don’t know…first life? Nobody knows what happened, when it happened.”