Nobody has been to hell and back to tell us what is going on there. Yet we have been tormented by this place and what it is supposed to happen there. It is supposed to be a very painful place which no one wants to visit, leave alone live forever. Anyone who sins must be punished in hell, say the priests because most religious scriptures mention this place of endless suffering for sinners after death.
Most religions believe that after death, the soul goes to heaven or hell depending on the seriousness and the number of the sins committed during life. But no one is willing to declare that a person who has just died has gone to hell despite committing any number of sins. At the funeral, everyone says that this person has gone to heaven. In India, the common expression for a dead person is swargvasi, a resident of heaven. Does this mean that no one goes to hell and so it has no people at all?
If you have committed sins like lying, drinking, gambling, thieving, adultery, murder, violence, profiteering among others, you will be punished and tortured in hell. Different religions have different sins added to this list. For example, charging interest is a sin in one religion. In others, it is not. So what is a sin? And who decides what constitutes a sin? If all these activities are sins, then most famous authors, poets, dancers, artists, movie stars, showbiz celebrities, journalists, rulers or politicians, officers, bankers, businessmen, professionals, in fact, almost everybody, would go to hell.
So does hell have lots of suffering people, ear piercing screams, darkness with some shafts of light, hot and steaming air, people in various stages of torture and trauma? Doesn’t this look like a huge nightclub complete with ear shattering music, wild dancers, screaming musicians, and heavy drinkers? And of course, all the sinners – ooops, the celebrities - in their outlandish fashions are drinking, dancing, gambling, flirting and living it up as if there is no tomorrow? Obviously, the difference between hell and ‘the good life’ has vanished today.
And what about heaven? It is a silent, calm, serene, tranquil, and peaceful space where virtuous saints and virgin angels are flying around. Anything you may wish comes to you instantly. How miraculous! And how boring! No scandal, no sex, no sensation.
In fact, there is no hell and no heaven. These concepts have been created by the religious custodians to keep humans in a tight harness. “It is out of fear that the priests have created hell, just to exploit your fear instinct. And there is no heaven either. Hell and heaven are psychological states, not geographical situations. Forget all about that childish nonsense. You can be in hell right now or in heaven right now. And the only way to be in heaven is to be without the mind, and the only way to be in hell is to be only the mind and nothing else,” says Osho.
Hell and heaven are psychological states, not geographical locations. Just meditate and celebrate and to hell with all this nonsense!
1. Why is Osho capable of capturing the attention of so many people, especially the young people?
What Osho says is timeless. More than that, he speaks on all of life’s issues, on so many masters and traditions, on people’s problems in life, on relationships, on politics and power, on love, awareness and consciousness. Anybody listening to Him or reading even one discourse will necessarily hear at least one phrase that resonates within. And from there to a deeper understanding and meditation is merely one more step.
Young people today are not much different compared to young people of the previous generation (think of hippies, flower power) but surely are subjected to much more titillating media impact, have so many more gadgets to play with, so many more drugs to choose from, compared to us ‘elders’ who were young in the sixties and seventies. I feel they think they are really cool universal citizens with massive global internet access, and hooked into so many Facebook – Twitter – Whatnot – sites. But what is so cool about their exchanges and chats? What is so important that they feel they have to share with hundreds of so-called friends, many of whom they have never met personally? It appears they have an urge to make statements, showing as many people as possible, “Look, this is who I am (or at least, think I am).”
Any intelligent young person will tire of all this at some point and may ask her/himself what now? And this is the first step towards the journey within.
2. Why do the number of people who follow his ideas and teachings increase every day?
The word ‘following’ is anathema to me. I absolutely encourage people NOT to follow Osho’s ideas and teachings. It would make mere sheep out of them, a crime which all the religions already imposed onto a large part of humanity. I wish for people to become inspired by what Osho has to say and to discover for themselves the path to get in touch with their inner being, their consciousness.
3. Why does he continue to capture so much interest, even twenty years after he left his body?
Osho has left so many tools, devices and solutions for humanity that even to this day we are surprised to find out about incredible statements and visions that are on record but haven’t been really heard or understood.
Even though there is a legacy of bad media coverage that remains forever stored in the archives and is being pulled out by any third class reporter who happens to write a story about Osho and sannyas, people nowadays are developing an understanding that what the media says is not necessarily the truth. Hence, when the same old statements are being regurgitated, people start thinking and are curious to look deeper. At the same time, there are many insightful books and articles about Osho already available, and many more to come; all His discourses are easily available. Osho’s eternal contribution to humanity is being more and more recognized and His impact is becoming more and more felt and understood.