Chapter 16: In the Lake of the Void
Poverty cannot disappear by Mahatma Gandhi’s traveling in a third-class compartment. These are just strategies, political strategies. How can poverty disappear by Mahatma Gandhi’s traveling in a third-class compartment? In fact, he is crowding the third-class compartment which is already crowded! If he had moved in an air-conditioned compartment, at least one person less would have been in the crowd. And these things don’t help. But poor people like these things.
They think their poverty is something very special: “Look, even Mahatma Gandhi moves in a third-class compartment. Look at Mahatma Gandhi, he lives like a poor man.”
So poverty has something spiritual in it. Poverty has been worshipped, that’s why the world remains poor. And wherever poverty is worshipped, those people are going to remain poor.
In India poverty is worshipped - as if there is something spiritual in it. It is pathological. Nothing is spiritual in it. To be poor simply means: you are stupid, you cannot manage. To be poor means only: that you are too attached to old forms which are no longer useful in the world. To be poor simply means: you are not inventive, not creative. To be poor simply means that you are not intelligent. It is nothing spiritual; it simply shows lack of energy, lack of intelligence.
Poverty should be condemned. Poverty should not be worshipped. We have to change the whole consciousness of man about these things, then they can disperse very easily. Technologically we are able to live in a very affluent world, but psychologically we are not capable of living in an affluent world.
It happens that a person becomes rich but still goes on living the life of a poor man - and people appreciate it very much. They say, “Look, he has so many riches, so rich, and still: look at the simplicity of the man.” It is the sheer foolishness of the man! Why should he not live the riches that he has attained through great labor and effort? He is just a miser. He does not know how to live richly. He hides his impotence to live richly behind a beautiful facade: that he is “simple.” We have to change these ideals.
Poverty is ugly, as ugly as illness. But it is going to remain there if nations remain, it is going to remain there if politicians remain. It is going to remain there if the world remains divided. Wars will continue. We can go on talking about peace but we will go on preparing for war, because peace is just talk. The hangover of the past is big. What is the hangover? Three thousand years of continuous quarreling and fighting and murdering and killing - that is our past.
We have to disconnect ourselves from the past. The Western man has to disconnect himself from the Western past, the Eastern man has to disconnect himself from the Eastern past, the Hindu from the Hindu past and the Christian from the Christian past. And the methodology of disconnecting oneself from one’s past is going to be the same - it cannot be Eastern, it cannot be Western. The methodology to disconnect oneself from all past hangovers is going to be the same.