: You need not go through hell because you are already there. Where else will you find hell? This is your ordinary state — hell. Don’t think that hell is somewhere deep down below the earth. Hell is you. You, unaware, is what hell is. You, functioning unintelligently: that’s what hell is. And because so many people are functioning unintelligently the world is always in anguish — so many neurotic people on the earth.

And unless you are enlightened you remain neurotic, more or less. So many destructive people — because creativity is possible only when your intelligence is awakened. Creativity is a function of intelligence. Stupid people can only be destructive. And that’s what goes on: people go on preparing for more and more destruction. That’s what your scientists do, that’s what your politicians do.

I have heard a beautiful story: After the second world war, God was very puzzled. He could not believe his own eyes. Seeing Hiroshima, Nagasaki — he could not believe that he had created this kind of man. He started to think again, as if he had committed a mistake: he should have stopped with animals, he should not have created Adam and Eve — because man was becoming so destructive.

To give a last chance he called three representatives from the world, one Russian, one American, one English. Those were the powerful people after the second world war. He asked the Russian, “Why do you go on preparing for more and more destruction? If you need something, you just ask me and I will fulfill it immediately. But no more destruction.”

The Russian looked very arrogantly at God and said, “Listen, first we don’t believe that you are! We have our own trinity — Marx, Lenin, Stalin” — a very unholy trinity, but communists have that trinity. “We believe in them, we don’t believe in you. But if you want us to believe in you, you will have to give us proof.”

“What is the proof?” God asked.
And the Russian said, “You destroy America, you destroy it absolutely! Not a trace of this disease called America should be left behind. Then we will worship you, then our churches will start praying again, our temples will open. We will make new shrines for you.”

God was very shocked… the very idea of destroying the whole of America! Seeing Him silent, the Russian said, “And if you cannot do it, don’t be worried. We are going to do it anyway. It will take a little longer for us, but we are going to do it! You don’t need to look so sad. If you cannot do it, just say you cannot do it.”

God looked at the American and said, “What’s your desire? What do you want?”
He said, “Nothing much, a very simple desire — that there should be no place for Russia on the map. We don’t want to see the U.S.S.R. on the map. Not much, just remove… Everything is okay; it is just this U.S.S.R. that hurts. It hurts very much, it drives us crazy, and we will do anything to remove it. And if you don’t do anything, with your blessings we are going to do it!”

Now God was even more puzzled and confused. It was okay from the Russian representative, because they don’t believe in God. It’s okay. But America? America believes in God, so there seems to be no difference between the believer and the nonbeliever, between the capitalist and the communist, between the dictatorial and the democratic.

There seems to be no essential difference, their desire is the same. He was thinking the English representative might be more human, understanding; at least he would be gentlemanly — and he was! God asked him, “What is your desire? What do you want?”

The Englishman said, “We don’t have any desire. Fulfill the desires of both of these simultaneously, and our desire is fulfilled!”

But this is how man has existed, down the ages: much more interested in destruction, destroying the other, than in living oneself, than in enjoying life. Man seems to be death-obsessed: wherever man moves he brings death, destruction.

This neurotic society exists because individuals are neurotic. This world is ugly because you are ugly! You contribute your ugliness to this world. And everybody goes on pooling ugliness, neuroses, and the world becomes more and more a hell. You need not go anywhere else; this is the only hell there is.

But you can come out of it. By understanding how your mind is helping to create this hell, you can withdraw. And a single person withdrawing himself from creating this hell, noncooperating, rebellious, becomes a great source of bringing heaven on the earth, becomes a gateway.

You need not go to hell, you are already there. You need to go to heaven now. And in fact when I say you need to go to heaven, what I mean exactly is that heaven needs to come to you. You be open to heaven. Let all your destructive energies be offered to creativity, let your darkness become a light, let your awareness become meditative, and you will become a door to God, and God can come through you into the world again.

That is the meaning of the Christian parable that Jesus is born to a woman, Mary, who is a virgin. This is a parable — significant, it has great meaning in it. But foolish people try to say that she was really a virgin physically. That is nonsense. But she was virgin: she was pure, utterly pure. She was heaven on the earth — only then could Jesus enter through her, only then could God extend his hand into the world.

You become a vehicle: let God play some instrument through you — a veena, a sitar. Let God play a song through you; you become his flute, a hollow bamboo. And that’s what I have been telling you all these days: if you become a nothingness, you will be a hollow bamboo. And you can become a flute, and God’s song can descend unto the earth. It is needed very much. Even if a little health is possible through you in this mad world… It is needed very much, it is needed urgently.

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