The lowest and the highest point of life are both natural. The murderer and the enlightened man, both are natural. The murderer is at the lowest point, the enlightened man is at the highest point. But as man they are part of the same nature, and being natural they are similar. This opens a new possibility: the murderer can become enlightened. We are not preventing him, we are not putting him in a separate category. He can become enlightened, because he is part of nature. Perhaps he was upside down, he just has to change his posture.
Nature is profound. It contains everything – the good, the bad, the evil, the divine – and I want them all to be part of nature, so transformation is not impossible. Old religions have created categories, and created such gaps that it is impossible….
For example, Christianity believes in eternal hell – which is absolutely absurd. You cannot commit so many sins in a small life of seventy years. One third of it is lost in sleep; much of it is lost in childhood, in sickness, in earning the bread, in quarreling with your husbands, with your wives, with your neighbors. You don’t have much time to commit sin. And even if you continuously commit sin, from your very birth to the last breath, without any coffee break – just sinning and sinning – then too eternal hell is not justified. Then at least seventy years in hell will do. But eternal hell, unending, forever and forever…Christianity does not leave any possibility for the sinner to change. It cuts all his future.
My approach is simple: the worst and the best are both part of the same nature. One may be at the lowest, one may be at the highest, but they belong to the same nature, and hence have the possibility of transformation. The lowest person can start climbing to the highest peak – and it has happened many times.
There is a Hindu story in India:
The oldest book on the life of Rama is written by Balmik. Balmik was a robber, thief, murderer – everything that you can conceive of he had done. That was his only profession. Uneducated but a tremendously powerful man, just on the highway he would be waiting for people, and anybody who was caught had to give everything; otherwise he was finished. Balmik’s family was living in luxury – he was bringing so much every day.
One day it happened that Narda, one beautiful saint who was always carrying his ektara, a simple musical instrument with only one string that had become his symbol…. Singing and playing on his ektara, he was passing and Balmik caught hold of him. But he was still singing and playing on his ektara.
Balmik said, “Are you mad or something? Can’t you see me, can’t you see my sword? Give me everything that you have!”
Narda said, “You have caught a beggar; I have only this ektara. And that too I am not going to give easily, because what will you do with this? But if you want it, I can give it to you. If you want my life I can give that too. But before I give you anything, I want to ask you one question.”
Balmik said, “Question? What question?”