Jesus says even if you gain the whole world and lose yourself, what is the meaning of it? You are a beggar, you remain a beggar. And if you gain yourself and lose the whole world, you have lost nothing. This is the basic Eastern approach toward life, because the East says happiness consists not in things but in your consciousness. It is not related with things; it is related with you. You have to grow.
Things can grow, things can become more and more. You can have more and more things, but having is not being. You can have the whole world without having any soul within, and you can be just a beggar on the street with the being of a sovreign. That growth of being is the end. And when acceptance is taught, it is taught for the growth of being. Those who have followed this teaching, they have grown, and they are incomparable.
Those who have followed discontent…. Thousands, millions, have followed. The whole world, the whole of humanity, follows it. But the followers of discontent have not produced a single buddha, a single Jesus, a single Lao Tzu.
Really, outward growth depends on discontent, inward growth depends on contentment. Now it is your choice. If you want to pile up things more and more, you can go on, but then you are simply a servant, just piling up things. Then death comes over and everything is finished. And whatsoever you have gained, death nullifies it.
There is a different growth, an inner growth, which even death cannot nullify. Buddha says unless you have achieved something which death cannot destroy, you have not achieved anything. Achieve something which transcends death – only then are you growing. Otherwise, every life is destroyed by death, and you are again a beggar. Again you start from ABC.
Growth means a continuity in life process. But things cannot go with you. Whatsoever you have is not yours; it belongs to death, it belongs to the world. It doesn’t belong to you. You are simply deceiving yourself. In the meanwhile you can deceive. So your growth comes through contentment. And when I say “contentment” I don’t mean a defeatism – remember this.
So this is the third point: a person can be contented just to console himself. You are poor; you don’t want to be poor. Still you are poor and nothing can be done, so you impose a false contentment. You say, “It is okay. This is my destiny – I accept it.” But deep down this is not acceptance. This is just consoling yourself. If some opportunity comes and you can become rich, you are not going to lose it. And if someone says, “Take this money in exchange for your contentment,” you will throw contentment and you will take the money.
So defeated consolation is not contentment. That’s just trying to save your face. You don’t want to feel defeated, so you put on a show of contentment. Many follow such contentment, but this is not the teaching of the Upanishads. Contentment for the Upanishads is not a defeated attitude. Really, it is a deep understanding.