Jesus has said, “You will enter my Kingdom of God only when you are childlike.” But remember the word childlike. He never says children, because many children die but they are not going to enter the Kingdom of God. Childlike – that means a second childhood, not the first childhood. A second childhood: after learning, after knowing, after experiencing, after attaining and then discarding.
You cannot know the flavor of this second childhood. It is absolutely different from the first childhood. To have something and then to discard it is a new experience. So I always say a poor man is not really poor because he does not have riches: he is poor because he cannot discard anything. That is the real poverty. He cannot throw anything. He cannot say no to anything. That is the real poverty.
When you can say no, you gain strength. But a poor man cannot say no. How can he say no? His whole being is saying, “Yes! Give to me.” His whole being is just a hunger, a starved soul. He cannot discard, he cannot throw anything, he cannot renounce. That is real poverty. Inwardly, spiritually, that is the disease.
That’s why in a poor country religion cannot flower. It is impossible. A poor country can only go on deceiving itself that it is religious. In a poor country, religion is impossible. I don’t say that no poor individual can be religious – individually that is possible. But as a society, no poor society can be religious, because a poor society cannot conceive of discarding and renouncing. Only when a society is rich does renunciation become meaningful.
So renunciation is the last luxury possible, the ultimate luxury. When you can renounce, that is the highest peak of luxury.
A Buddha can renounce: he is a prince. A Mahavira can renounce: he is a prince. The twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas are princes: they can renounce. Krishna and Rama can think in terms of renunciation: they are kings. But when a poor man begins to think, “If Buddha has come back to the streets to beg, then I am already a buddha because I am already begging,” he is misunderstanding the whole phenomenon.
And the same applies to learning. You can renounce learning, but first learn. Many times I am talking about the stupidity of knowledge. Then those who don’t know, they think, “Okay, how good that we don’t know!” When I talk about the stupidity of knowledge, I don’t mean ignorance, I mean transcendence. Knowledge becomes stupid when you have it. When you don’t have it, you are not higher than knowledge, you are lower than knowledge. So when I say knowledge is stupidity, I am comparing it with wisdom, not with ignorance. Otherwise you may take it to mean that your ignorance is bliss.