Heaven or Hell—Just a Question of Perspective?
No matter what situation you are placed in, either you can make it your boon or you can make it your curse. Even the most horrible situations can make a human being; you can handle it gracefully. People have even walked to the gallows gracefully. There is a particular incident from World War II. There was a girl who was 13 years of age. This was in Austria in 1939, the time when Hitler was going about, picking up Jews and packing them into concentration camps. One ﬁne morning, soldiers walked into their home. This was an afﬂuent Jewish family of about 17 members, living in one large home. The soldiers came, occupied the house, and took the adults and children away separately.
The 13-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother were taken to a railway station. It was the beginning of winter; it was cold in Austria. Children of an afﬂuent family, now on a railway station platform for three days; the parents gone and they did not know where; soldiers with guns pointed at them. It was bad enough, but children are miserable only for a little time; after that, they will ﬁnd something to kick around and start having fun. So the boy started playing a little bit of football. After three days, a train came—a goods train, not a passenger train. Everybody was pushed into the wagons when the girl noticed that the little boy had forgotten his shoes. She got mad with him and pinched and boxed his ears because without shoes, in the cold, things could get bad. At the next station, boys and girls were separated and taken away. Five-and-half years later, in 1945, the girl came out of the concentration camp to discover that all the other members of the family had perished, including her little brother. At that moment, the only thing that she felt was that last moment that she had spent with him, how ugly she had made it for him. She had boxed his ears, punched him in the face, and said ugly things because he had lost his shoes. And this made her resolve, ‘From today, it does not matter whom I meet, any face that I see, I will speak to them in such a way that if this happens to be the last time I speak to them, I will not regret it.’
If you are aware, if you are in touch with that which is within every human being, even if you are placed in hell, there also you can make your life. Otherwise, even if you are placed in heaven, you will only make a mess out of it. Who told you, you are not already in heaven? Is there any conﬁrmation that you are not already in heaven? No. So why do you think there is another place which is better than this? This horrible idea that there is another place better than this has been created by people who have made a hell out of themselves. If you make a heaven out of yourself, if you are ecstatic, why would you want to go anywhere? One must see how to make a heaven out of himself. Otherwise, even if you are living in heaven, you will only suffer.Suppose this is heaven and you missed it? Suppose this is heaven and you never realized it—what a horrible way to live. And I am telling you, it is, because the basis of your experience is within you. If you take charge of that, you can make heaven out of it right now. Your intolerant neighbor, the noisy child next door, your mother-in-law, all these people have been added so that there is a little spice in your life, for excitement—but it is actually heaven.
[Named one of India’s 50 most inﬂuential people, Sadhguru speaks before millions annually around the globe, including to prominent leadership forums such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the World Peace Congress. From ground-breaking yoga programs to projects for rural communities and the environment, Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation (www.IshaFoundation.org), serves as a thriving model for human empowerment, which is reﬂected in the Foundation’s special consultative status with the UN. Designed to enrich every aspect of one’s life, Sadhguru’s introductory program, Inner Engineering Online (www.InnerEngineering.com) now makes this distilled essence of yogic science available to millions worldwide.]
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