He’s asking: “I have struggled and destroyed myself in getting more and more, and now I see that my life began from the very beginning on the wrong track. Please: Speak to us of Giving.
“I don’t want to get anything more. This whole stupid idea of getting and getting, more and more, has been suicidal. Perhaps by giving I may start feeling a little more alive again. Perhaps a breeze of love may enter into my dark soul, perhaps a ray of light. Getting and getting I have tried – teach me about giving; perhaps that is the right way.”
The people in the East who renounce the whole world have inherited a wisdom of centuries: if you want a dance in your heart and peace in your soul, if you want to become more conscious and awake, give it all. It was not against the world, as so-called religious teachers of all religions go on teaching people. They do not understand the basic psychology of it. They have seen the great masters renouncing everything, all their possessions, and they have logically concluded that perhaps there is a secret in renouncing. So for centuries they have been teaching against riches, against life, against the world. You can see the ultimate result in the East: it has become poorer and poorer, because if you are going to renounce, then what is the point of first collecting? The East has become a beggar.
But I say unto you: unless you have, how can you renounce?
So Mahavira was immensely blissful, Gautam Buddha was in constant ecstasy – but don’t think that a beggar who has nothing to renounce outwardly… He may look like a religious person, but deep down those desires for more – for pleasure, for being special – will go on lurking in the darkness. Gautam Buddha and the people of his type were not wrong. But seeing their joy, their peace, their serenity, an absolutely wrong conclusion has been derived by the scholars, the priests. They go on teaching anti-life values.
This is a simple arithmetic: you can renounce only if you have it. If you don’t have… Both persons apparently look alike: one has renounced, one does not have it. Both are in the same situation but not in the same psychology, not in the same spiritual space. Hence, I have been misunderstood all over the world because I have been teaching people: first have. And then, if you are intelligent, you are bound to renounce it.
Religion is not for the poor. The poor can pretend to be religious, but inside all those desires for more go on growing. He talks about renouncing, but he knows nothing of renunciation. Renunciation is a second step.
Rejoicing is the first step. Religion happens only to those who have come to the point where they can see that their desires are absurd, they lead nowhere. It has to be your own experience. In that very experience, the psychology of possessiveness disappears; then there is beauty.