Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill! Religious people are very skillful in doing that. Now, what are you really doing when you are smoking? Just taking some smoke inside your lungs and letting it out. It is a kind of pranayama – filthy, dirty, but still a pranayama! You are doing yoga, in a stupid way. It is not sin. It may be foolish but it is not a sin, certainly.
There is only one sin and that is unawareness, and only one virtue and that is awareness.
Do whatsoever you are doing, but remain a witness to it, and immediately the quality of your doing is transformed. I will not tell you not to smoke; that you have tried. You must have been told by many so-called saints not to smoke: “Because if you smoke you will fall into hell.” God is not so stupid as your saints are. Throwing somebody into hell just because he was smoking cigarettes will be absolutely unnecessary.
One morning, Weintraub went to a restaurant and ordered bacon with his eggs. He was an orthodox Jew and his wife kept a strictly kosher home, but Weintraub felt the need just this once.
As Weintraub was about to leave the restaurant, he stopped in the door frozen with terror. The sky was filled with black clouds, there was lightning, and the ground shook with the rumble of thunder.
“Can you imagine!” he exclaimed. “All that fuss over a little piece of bacon!”
But that’s what your so-called saints have been telling you down the ages, for centuries. Smoking is unhealthy, unhygienic, but not a sin. It becomes a sin only if you are doing it unconsciously – it is not smoking that makes it a sin but unconsciousness.
Let me emphasize the fact. You can do your prayer every day unconsciously; then your prayer is a sin. You can become addicted to your prayer. If you miss the prayer one day, the whole day you will feel something is wrong, something is missing, some gap. It is the same with smoking or with drinking; there is no difference in it. Your prayer has become a mechanical habit; it has become a master over you. It bosses you; you are just a servant, a slave to it. If you don’t do it, it forces you to do it.
So it is not a question of smoking. You may be doing your Transcendental Meditation every day regularly, and it may be just the same. If the quality of unconsciousness is there, if mechanicalness is there, if it has become a fixed routine, if it has become a habit and you are a victim of the habit and you cannot put it aside, you are no more a master of yourself, then it is a sin. But its being a sin comes out of your unconsciousness, not out of the act itself.