And the punishment was going to be great. God had said to Adam and Eve, “If you eat from the tree of knowledge, if you eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, you will become mortal. Right now you are immortal.” Death was going to be the punishment. What more punishment can there be? Death is the ultimate in punishment.
Buddha would have appreciated them. If Adam and Eve had not rebelled, had not eaten from the tree of knowledge, there would have been no humanity – and there would have been no Christ, no Buddha, no Zarathustra, no Lao Tzu. Adam and Eve would be still roaming naked like animals in the Garden of Eden. There would have been nothing like humanity. This consciousness, this awareness, this inquiry – nothing would have been there. The whole credit goes to Adam and Eve.
And the serpent would not have been the devil. In Buddha’s story, the serpent must have been an ancient buddha provoking Adam and Eve, “Go without fear and eat the fruit and don’t be afraid, don’t be cowards!” In the East the serpent has always represented wisdom. Jesus also says: Be ye as wise as serpents. The serpent in the East represents the inherent power, the seed power of your ultimate flowering; it is your potential. Hence kundalini is called serpent power.
Kundalini means the serpent lying there fast asleep; it has to be awakened. Once it wakes up it starts rising upwards. When it reaches to the ultimate center of your being – sahasrar – the last center, the last rung of the ladder, you have arrived home. The serpent is not a representative, a disguised form, of the devil. Buddha would have written the whole story in a totally different way.
But Christianity, Judaism, both are fear-oriented; so is Islam, so is Hinduism. Only two religions in the world, Buddhism and Jainism, are not; otherwise all other religions are fear-oriented. Only these two religions are rooted in fearlessness, and I cannot see how a religion can be fear-oriented. In all the languages of the world we have words like God-fearing for religious people; that is utter nonsense. A religious person is not God-fearing, he is God-loving – and love and fear don’t exist together. If you love somebody you are not afraid; if you are afraid you cannot love.
Love does not exist in the world for the simple reason that we have been trying to create love through fear. The father, the mother, the priest, the politician, they all are trying to create fear in you. The mother says, “Listen to me, otherwise you will suffer!” The father says, “I am powerful.” In a thousand and one ways he proves his power over the helpless child and then says to the child, “Love me – I am your father!” Of course the child has to pretend, because he is dependent, he is helpless. He loves the mother out of fear; his love is pseudo. He loves the father out of fear; it is only a pretension, it is hypocrisy. He loves God out of fear – the fear of hell, the fear of being punished, the fear of being tortured.