Religions teach about the importance of “self-less love.” Religions teach about being humble.
Religions teach about brotherhood among human beings.
If all of those many teachings are followed, then there is a “reward” for that. That reward is called “Heaven, “ “Paradise.”
Therefore, whatever we do in this life is meant so we can “get” something “good” after this life. Sort of “life insurance.”
That “trap” has been used by many religions to get the followers to do things.
Do now. Get later.
In this way, followers will “do.” Followers will become “this or that,” to make someone else happy with hopes of getting a reward. Paradise.
That has been used as a source of spiritual ego as well. The popular: “ We are the ones who will go there. Come and join us.” “We have the truth.”
I am not debating the existence of that Paradise. I am merely pointing out how that knowledge of something different and “better” in the future, could be used to “manipulate” people now.
That manipulation depends on the understanding of some individuals about that place called “heaven.”
In Gyan, we know that “heaven” is another age in the cycle of time. If we call that “the best age ever,” we are setting up ourselves for suffering, for we will reject the “now” in hopes to reach the “futuristic” heaven. Then, with those eyes and understanding, we will look at the Golden age as another opportunity to display our ego by reaching a “status.”
It is not just enough to get there, but we need to get a “status,” as well for otherwise, we will miss “happiness.”
The paradox is that someone gets there by simple karmic return. It is not by “doing things,” but by being ego-less.
How is it possible then to have an ego driven reward as an incentive “to do good,” when the task is to become egoless?
That is why, it was created the schema to “become a beggar.” That plan was taken literally by many religions in such a way as to make us believe that to be “poor” is great.
That interpretation of Paradise is merely an interpretation according to our traditions and ways of behavior. How is that?
In this society, we value “status,” we value being “the elite,” we value “being special,” we value working hard now to be assured for the future. It is not about enjoying the journey, but simply to use everything as a means to justify the end result.
When we look at spirituality under that perspective, we will distort that reality, we will make spirituality just another assignment that we learn by going to school, just another topic to learn, something to do to get a “better job” in heaven.
It is important to recognize that heaven or paradise are not rewards. They are simply places which karmically we could experience.
When we get caught up with labeling, we will use “paradise” as an enticing label, when it is merely an experience which has a determined time.
Therefore, please do not transform your life so you can go to heaven. You will not do a “good job.” Please do not “make effort” so you can get a “good status.” This is not a “career fair.”
Being ego-less, being virtuous is its own reward, because that “future” happiness can be experienced here and now; that is the way how through the law of karma, we could access through cause and effect, a future that is in line with our current state. In a few words, Be happy now, if you want to be happy later. Reach a level of happiness now, so that happiness can go with you.
In this deeper understanding of knowledge, we could see that being “miserable” now through penances is not the ticket for a “better” future.