Chapter 13: The Taste of Now
Last night you said that one can grow through total acceptance. But the East has remained undeveloped due to this principle of acceptance and contentment, whereas the West has become more developed only because of nonacceptance and discontentment.
Therefore, isn’t it obvious that discontentment and nonacceptance is the principle for evolution and growth and not total acceptance? Please explain.
Many things will have to be understood. One: Lao Tzu, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, they are not the total East. They were preaching acceptance, but no one in the East has followed it. And those who followed, they evolved. Lao Tzu evolves into a perfect human possibility, to the maximum possibility a human being can reach. Buddha evolves to be a divine person - through acceptance and contentment. But the East has not followed them. Just because they were born in the East doesn’t mean that the East has followed them - one thing.
Second thing: the West has evolved, but evolved to such a crisis, into such a diseased state of mind, that now the West is looking towards the East. The West has followed the principle of discontent, so in a way the West has been more honest than the East. The East has been dishonest.
We go on worshiping Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira, and we think that we are following them. We have not followed them; only lip service has been paid them. But the West has followed, really, the principle of discontentment and materialism. The West has followed it, and now they have come to the climax. So whatsoever they have done, they have achieved a climax. Now they feel that the whole life has become meaningless, because whatsoever they have achieved now proves to be meaningless. There has been an evolution of things, but not of consciousness. They have accumulated much, but man has become more and more empty.
And now, when everything is achieved - now, when the West has succeeded in its ambition - now the disparity becomes more clear-cut. Man has remained empty, unevolved. That’s why now Western thinkers, the Western avant-garde, are thinking in terms of Lao Tzu, Buddha and Mahavira. Now they have known the futility of discontentment. It leads you to more discontentment, and contentment becomes impossible. From one discontentment you go to another, and from another to another, and contentment is never reached.
This is what the Upanishads have been telling. They say if you start with contentment, then only can you reach contentment - because the beginning is the end, the seed is really the tree. So if it is not in the seed, it is not going to be in the tree. If contentment is your beginning, the base, the ground of your mind, the very roots, only then can you flower into contentment. Those flowers are not coming from nowhere. They will grow from you; they will be your growth. So if you have contentment in the beginning, in the end you will find it.
If you start with discontent, discontent will grow, and it can never transform itself into contentment. The more you follow it, the more it will be there. And if discontentment grows, then ultimately madness results. A madman means a totally discontented man, with no hope, absolute frustration.