Post 75 – Thoughts (Part 8)

Question from Musa Askari:  Why is it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for rich man to enter the gates of heaven?

“A rich life is one that is living in bliss all the time.”

When we look at Jesus’s statement, where this question originates from, we think he is promoting a poor life and that he is promising something of the future. When in fact, he is saying two impossible things. First of all, we need to take this as a metaphor. For a camel can never pass through an eye of a needle and neither can a rich man (materialistically) guarantee enlightenment for himself.

The most common misconception is that if someone has everything in life then he needs nothing else. If he needs nothing else then he will turn to something bigger. But I disagree with this. I could be poor or rich but a spiritual life is completely different and always will be different. The difference is that we want the poor life and rich life to be different. If you want to live a life that survives then for that person he is rich if he survives. So richness is always a concept of the mind, the concept of the society. It has nothing to do with life. Richness is your perception. A man that only has £100 a week, if he can survive with that then he feels rich, especially if he saves a few pennies. So the concept of rich life in the question’s origination is totally different. Let us say that you need to be spiritually rich and how can you become spiritually rich.

Why is it easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle because our thought is narrow and whatever is bigger and broader, we will limit it, bound it, contain it so that it cannot explode into something beautiful. It is easier because we perceive things with such a small-mind that we doubt that a rich life is beautiful. The thing is why is it that a rich man has less chances? The thing is the rich man has everything. Now you can look at this in a society’s way that this is just a little plan to keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich. Very possible. If you read Osho, then he does go in depth about this. I agree that people have condemned the rich in the past because they don’t need to live on hope. Religion strives on hope. But it also needs the rich men for the funding. So the rich man is always poorly condemned. While the poor are much easier to manipulate. Promise them a healthy life (and they can binge on any type of food), a life of luxury (richness and materialistically comfortable), strong intellect (pursuit of knowledge) but that is given with the hope of heaven and the possibility of a hell. Now, the hell is a nice and interesting concept. This is the reason why. Now, the things that religion condemns on Earth, it promotes in heaven. Now, living healthily is important. You control your diet. No prayer is going to keep you healthy. By eating 5 cakes a day instead of fruit and praying doesn’t mean you will stay healthy. By not going to work, by not trying harder but praying will not give you a rich life. Then intellect, first of all, religion does want you to have intellect. Intellect is when you use logic. When you question everything. The importance is not in believing but in knowing. To know, you must question and grab the answer. Therefore, intellect may be promoted but indirectly they are planting the fear of hell in your mind. Now, you do not want to question your guru, your god, your priest because you may suffer in hell. Therefore, intellect is promoted but demoted at the same time. Fear cannot bring you enlightenment. You need intellect to get rid of all the bullshit. Then you can find the truth out for yourself. The real Master will always promote questions, they will always answer the questions and they will support your questioning. A real master and you yourself know that the experience of enlightenment cannot be written or spoken in any language because even enlightenment is not a strong enough word for the experience. However, they say when you have known it then you are silent. However, I disagree. When you have known the Truth, when you have embraced Enlightenment then all you can do is share it. Speak of it. However, you are only bounded to one thing and that is the Truth. You have to say it how it is. This is easy for the rich man but not for the one that believes that a camel can pass through a needle.

Look at this, a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, this is absolutely absurd. But look at the great thing Jesus is saying. Today, humanity is stuck in rituals, superstition, pilgrimages, dogma, recitation of scriptures, blind belief and therefore, they believe in the most absurd things. By eating meat on a tuesday, it is a sin in Hinduism. Now you tell me, what a day has to do with your diet? Why is it interfering? But people believe you shouldn’t because something terrible may happen. The funny thing is that people have not even read it in a book, they are believing those pseudo gurus, who are repeating the garbage from the previous predecessor. They believe a man, possibly dressed in orange, giving false hopes by quoting religious scriptures. You may quote scriptures but what has it got to do with your truth? In fact, nothing is bigger than your own truth. You are your own scripture. However, pseudo gurus carry on promoting the rituals, dogmas, superstition because they know it involves repeat customers. All these things will not and never will give you enlightenment. I can say that it is nothing but wasting time and if I have a limited amount of time, it is best to look within me, carry on with an inner search than do something absurd. So it is easy for man to adopt false beliefs and this is what Jesus is saying. He is looking at the state of the minds in front of him. He is telling the truth. If such people can believe that a camel can pass through the eye of a needle then it is impossible for them to reach enlightenment.

However, Jesus’s quote does say that it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the gates of heaven. Now, Jesus’s rich and materialistic rich is two different things. Jesus is on about a rich spiritual life, one that is of self-enquiry, one of intuition, one who is detached from attachments, one who is one with themselves, one that travels within, one that attains bliss and harmony. That is a rich man and he will not enter the gates of heaven because wherever that person is, heaven is alongside him. You need to understand this. Heaven is a concept and what Jesus is saying that you can be materialistically rich but you need to be spiritually rich too. You cannot hold on to stupid belief systems. You need to grow out of them. The one who has found out his own truth is the only person that can enter the gates of heaven. It is not even saying that the poor man will reach heaven either. The thing is it is hard for a spiritual person to enter the gates of heaven because wherever he is there is heaven so why would he need to enter any gate?

I conclude that it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle because we are too comfortable with our beliefs, we know nothing but preach as if we have something profound. The fact is that the camel is our absurd load of dogma, rituals, superstitions that mean nothing but we make them a part of our already strenuous lifestyle. A rich man will never have to enter heaven because heaven is with him all the time. Jesus is not going against the rich man, he is truly going against the people, who have the burden of blind beliefs. Therefore, it is easy to lead life with blind beliefs because you do not question, you do not inquire and society, religion, your priest will treat you with respect and honour but you will not be happy once you realise the absurdity of your beliefs.

Rahul N Singh

(Thoughts is part of a new e-book series)

6 thoughts on “Post 75 – Thoughts (Part 8)

  1. Rahul, thank you for taking the question seriously enough to write about it. Grateful. As ever a provocative read. A broad ranging reflection. I most liked the references to “heaven” being where one stands, if I paraphrase correctly. Perhaps seeing as I asked the question I can share my thoughts with you here. Clearly, the question is a metaphor and at once we are drawn to the symbollic meaning. And where some would take it to be a literal statement is perhaps what has been the classic misconception of religion per se. To remain at the literal is a dead end for me. The symbol is where there is a door. So let us walk, or knock upon that door a little and see what intution brings forward. The camel for me is the key to this question. When I think of the camel I think first about “humility”. For a camel is humble through and through. I think also of the burden we carries over vast distances. And as such in thinking of the camel I am drawn also to think about the desert, camel as the ship of the desert. The two go hand in hand. Without desert there is no camel. And over this dry scorching shifting landscape the camel travels. Silently, peacefully, with bowed head, uncomplaining, and the most remarkable literal fact, it travels with little water needed. How ironic a creater that can traverse long distances in a desert on a small quatity of water should end up being referred to as the ship of the desert? So for me the camel holds the key, burdened as it is carrying the goods of the “rich” man, humble always. Hence perhaps, perhaps it is easier for those to pass through the eye of a needle when they are truly humble. Humility being their constant inner and outer state. With humility they knock on that door and the door is answered. On the rich man, the question presupposes the lack of humility. Though I would not judge that as an absolute. The rich man anology has its obvious outer references to worldly wealth and by consequence to the time spent blindly amassing that wealth. As if material wealth was itself a god. Thus while the camel, as metaphor, spends its life in a state of humility while burdended by the world. The rich man spends his time, his whole life, accumulating wealth which he cannot take with him. Humility we take with us, one of the insignias within the soul. There is a twist on the rich man analogy that comes to mind. For it is no guarantee that even if richness is identified properly as inner spiritual richness that one will do well in the life to come or the life now. And here is the twist, as the rich man makes wealth a god and dedicates his life to that god, so too it is possible for even those that identity richness as being spiritual that they too make their spirituality, a way of life, even away from formal religion, a type of god and forget about the Greater Supreme. My point being even identiying richness correctly is not enough. Humility on the path is the compass that guides us. As like the humilty of the camel. My thanks,
    Musa Askari

    • Musa,
      I enjoyed reading your comments and they are enlightening to read as usual!
      I agree with your perspective, however I would like to add that even if money is worshipped, if wealth is held to the status of god then there is no problem. It is a problem only if one is not aware of it. If spiritual pursuit is regarded as great then so can material. A balance is needed and that is all. It is a part of creation and wealth has helped technology progress and that must not be forgotten.
      The thing I like to stress upon is awareness. Even a poor man is full of desires and those desires eat away its soul. Even the desire to know god is no different. A desire is a desire. Now you mention humility, which is what I loved most of all. However, is humility a possible act of the ego? The subtle energy of the ego is such that it can trick and twist and turn without you knowing unless you live with awareness. Humility needs to be done with awareness and not with the hope and desire for a paradise that does not exist externally! 🙂

  2. Just a thought about the needle’s eye. We’ve also heard that the “needle’s eye” was a small gate or a smaller door within a gate that was used at night or when a city was being guarded more closely. The camel could get through, but with more difficulty because they had to kneel and be coaxed through. This thought seems to go along with the idea of humility because a person who was proud in their riches would have difficulty “kneeling down” to humble themselves. This is reminiscent of Rumi’s words, “No one enters the Rose Garden unless lost in adoration and wonder; no one walks through that door except on their knees.

    • Very nice view and humility is a definite true and honest path! Even the rich kneel to the gods and where we are talking about worshipping and humility is the destruction of the ego. If one wants to know the vastness of the divine then one needs to let go of the ego. Our religion, our spirituality can be a form of ego and that should not be forgotten.

  3. Rahul, thanks for the comments in return. I need to question the view that wealth seen as a god is somehow acceptable. I referred to it as a god in a critical sense, not in some accomodating sense. How can wealth be held to the same status as the Divine? Did Jesus himself not clear the temple of money lenders? We have just gone through the most serious shock to the financial system in the last 2-3 years. We are still reeling from it. From the pursuit of wealth for the sake of it. No one had, it seems to me, any clue within the financial industry as to the level of “toxic” debt or for that matter what actually was “toxic”. What god is this I wonder? And now we are told we are all in it together, even the man or woman who cleans the streets and we have to pay for it. Deficit cuts which result in many charities and public services that do so much good are at risk, funding cuts. Probably higher taxes. Already VAT is up, a tax on the poor accepted by most economists from what I read. Massive bonuses for the super rich. And we are heading to business as usual no lessons learned and another crash, worse than before. And in all of this crisis where everyday people are losing their jobs from USA to UK, Spain, Greece and all over, there is little sign of humility by those that brought us to the brink of catasptrophe. So I question and object to wealth, material wealth being an acceptable god. Now regards capital and the flow of it to fuel advances in technology, who can deny the link. I accept it. Especially the biggest funder of capital, R&D investment around the world, being you and I, the tax payer and then that technology is sent to the private sector and we do not see any of the profits. Only investment and a downside. The net was developed through public funding, how many medicines have been developed by public funding and yet the poor are not afforded the access in Africa and India for example. I do not advocate a socialist system, nor do I wholly advocate a capitalist system. Not the place to talk on that I think. But on wealth purely because it is seen as a false god that it is unforgiving. Merciless. “In God we trust” is a phrase I recall is on some currency in the world, can’t recall where now. Which god, God the most High & Supreme or god, mamon? On humility I am gald you picked up that and liked it, I love too Lee & Steven’s comment on kneeling so apt I felt. Humility when expressed selflessly is a cleansing to the ego. Self conscious humility where it is an act we all know is a delusion. But humility for me is a door to knock upon and also walk through. On Profit, let us be clear it knows no loyalty to totalitarian or democratic systems. It will do business with both and humility is the first to be sacrified. For humility somehow involves a sense of belonging to our fellow humanity. A connection not only politically, socially but spiritually also. I liked your comment in reply above on religion and spirituality becoming a god and God forgotten.
    Best Wishes

    • Dear Musa,
      Sorry for the late reply. Your reply was very in-depth and I wanted to reply with complete attention and awareness.
      My friend, I am not going to deny the disaster that wealth has caused to the world and it is not wealth that has created the destruction but the fact that humans and their greed has caused the destruction. I am completely in full agreement with what you have said. However, this is not directed at you but whenever someone brings God in the equation, it is associated with all the good in the world. All the bad is associated with either humans or the devil. Now, my argument has always been from the start that good and evil are both sides of the same coin. God is the coin and God cannot run away from the fact that he created evil, if such a God exists from us in the external sense.
      I agree that man’s greed has only led to destruction and poverty and unfortunately, unless wealth is destroyed then maybe we can all lead a life peacefully. However, I am not going to deny that wealth does add a level of interest in life, if at the most it is a courageous test that all must pass.
      but what i must say as i am being honest that nothing is wrong in the pursuit of wealth. but one’s pursuit can be selfish but that doesnt mean one can transform to a selfless being due to it.

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