I have often told a small story about a great journalist who died and reached the doors of heaven. The doors of heaven and hell are not far apart; they are just opposite each other. The distance is not much, and naturally one would like to enter heaven. So he knocked on the door.
The doorkeeper opened a small window in the door and asked, “What do you want?” He said, “I am a great journalist. I have just died, and I want to enter.” The doorkeeper said, “I am sorry but I have to refuse you — because we have a quota; we can have only twelve journalists in heaven. That quota has been filled for centuries — for centuries, no new journalist has entered. And anyway, even those twelve are utterly useless because nothing happens in heaven. They tried to publish a newspaper, but only one issue appeared — because there are only saints here — no murder, no suicide, no crime, no politics, no struggle for power… no change ever happens; everything is eternally the same. From where can you get news?”
“And,” the doorkeeper said, “you must have heard the definition of news: when a dog bites a man it is not news, but when a man bites a dog it is news. So nothing sensational happens here, no love affair… When people get bored, they read the first issue that was published centuries ago. “You should go to hell. Every moment tremendous things happen there. All the active people of the world, all the creative people of the world are there — painters, musicians, poets, actors, dancers, thieves, murderers, rapists, psychoanalysts, philosophers — you will find every variety.
“Heaven is monotonous. Only dull, dead saints — skeletons. Their only quality is that they don’t do anything. So just go to hell and enjoy. You will find everything that you may have missed on earth — because for centuries upon centuries, all the juicy people have collected there. In fact, I myself want to go… but once you get into heaven, you cannot escape. So I am stuck here. My suggestion is that you just go.”
But journalists are stubborn people. He said, “I have a suggestion, and I think you must be compassionate enough to do it for me. Just give me twenty-four hours’ entry. If I can convince one of the journalists inside to go to hell then you can put me in the quota; twelve journalists will remain twelve.” The gatekeeper said, “It is unheard of, there is no precedent. But I cannot say no to you. Go in, have a try. But remember, after twenty-four hours…. I am taking a risk. After twenty-four hours, come back.”
After twenty-four hours he came back. In those twenty-four hours he had created a rumor among all the journalists: “A big newspaper is going to be started in hell and there is great need for editors, sub-editors, story writers, all kinds of journalists. The salaries are great. So what are you doing HERE?”
After twenty-four hours when the journalist came to the gate, the gatekeeper said, “Go back. You cannot go out now.” The journalist said, “Why not?” The gatekeeper said, “I have kept my word, and you have to keep your word. You were very convincing. All twelve journalists have gone. I tried hard to explain that `This is just a rumor; don’t spoil your heaven.’ But they wouldn’t listen.”
The man himself had created the rumor, but he had started thinking perhaps there was something in it; otherwise twelve persons wouldn’t go to hell for no reason. He said, “Just open the door!” He was convinced by others being convinced.
And this happens to millions of people. When you see that seven hundred million people are convinced that Catholic Christianity is the only religion, it is difficult to say that those seven hundred million people can be wrong. The sheer number has such weight. That’s why all the religions go on trying to increase their numbers. They have their methods to increase their numbers because the more you increase the numbers the more you convince those who are not in your fold that they are wrong and you are right. Your sheer majority is an argument; it validates anything you say.
Osho – “Beyond Enlightenment”