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)