Chapter 17: A Little Bit of Sky
India was religious when India was rich. In the days of Buddha, Mahavira, India was affluent; because of that affluence India was aware of the inner poverty. And when you become aware of inner poverty, then you start searching inwards. When you become aware that no outer thing can fulfill the inner longing - that all that is outer remains out, you cannot take it in - when this becomes an absolute certainty then you start a new search, a new adventure. That adventure is religion.
India cannot be religious today. India is one of the poorest countries in the world - how can it be religious? It cannot afford to be religious. Religion is the highest kind of luxury, the ultimate in luxury. It is the ultimate music, ultimate poetry, ultimate dance. It is the ultimate drunkenness with existence itself. Hungry and starved, you cannot search for it. When a man is hungry he needs bread, he does not need meditation. When a man is ill he needs medicine, not meditation. Only a healthy person can become aware that something is missing which can be fulfilled by meditation - and by nothing else.
People ask me why there are not many Indians here listening to me. It is not surprising. They are not interested in meditation. Their interest is in material things, their whole obsession is with matter. Of course they talk about spirituality but that is mere talk, a hangover from the past. It gives them a good feeling: at least they are spiritual; if they are missing in material things they can brag about their spirituality. But to me, spiritualism is a higher stage than materialism; materialism functions as a stepping-stone.
Only a rich country starts feeling spiritual poverty. And if you have started feeling spiritual poverty then there are only two possibilities: either you commit suicide or you go through an inner transformation. Meditation is the method of inner transformation. When suicide and meditation remain the only two alternatives and nothing else is left - either destroy yourself because your whole life is meaningless, or transform yourself into a new plane of being - one has to choose between suicide and meditation. The rich countries of the world have always been in this dilemma of choosing between suicide and meditation.
Rich countries suffer more from suicide, from madness, than poor countries. A poor person has no time to think about suicide; he’s so preoccupied with life. A poor person has no time to think of transforming his energies; he’s so occupied with how to feed his children, how to have a shelter. He’s not interested at all in anything else higher than the body, deeper than the body - and it is natural, I am not condemning it. It is absolutely natural, it is how it should be. That’s why poor countries of the world are leaning more and more towards communism, and the capitalist countries of the world are leaning more and more towards spiritualism.
Marx’s prediction has failed. Marx has said that rich countries will become communist. It has proved nonsense: only poor countries have become communist. Russia was one of the most poverty-stricken countries, so was China, and so is India. India can be a victim of communism any day: it is preparing, it is on the way. America has not turned communist.