Krishna is a fatalist, a determinist. He believes that things happen because God has decided them to be so, so nothing can be done about it. He helps you to settle with things as they are. Certainly it helps inner growth, because on the outside the struggle ceases. If you are poor, you are poor – God has determined it so. It is your fate to be poor; there is no possibility of avoiding it, you cannot escape it. You have to accept it, you have to be satisfied with it.
Yes, it helps in a way – in that it turns your whole energy inwards. Outside there is no freedom; then your whole energy can have freedom only on the inside. You are free to grow towards enlightenment, towards God-consciousness, but the outside world will remain the same. You are impotent as far as the outside world is concerned – and poverty and richness are in the outside world.
Krishna certainly helped this country to remain poor.
Mahavira and Buddha both believe in the theory of karma: you are poor because in your past lives you have committed grave sins; you are suffering as a consequence. It is better to suffer silently than to complain, because if you complain you are again creating bad karma for the future; in the next life you will again suffer. So the poor person has to accept that he is poor because of his past lives.
Now, you cannot undo the past – it has already happened. It is a different kind of determinism, fatalism – only a different kind, a different sort, with a different logic behind it, but the total outcome is the same. The rich person is rich because of his past lives and the poor person is poor because of his past lives. As far as the present is concerned you have to live in total acceptance. Again, this acceptance will help you to become more meditative, because there is nothing to do on the outside. The energy involved in the outside is released; it becomes available for inner growth. But without a subtle balance with the outside world, the inner growth makes you only half, it never makes you whole.
Buddha and Mahavira both renounced their kingdoms, their palaces, their riches. By renouncing their palaces, their kingdoms, their riches, they condemned wealth. It did two things. One: if wealth is condemned, the poor feel very good; their egos are nourished because then poverty has something spiritual about it: “Look! Mahavira and Buddha renounced their wealth!” So what is the point of creating more wealth for yourself? If people are already renouncing, it simply stops you going in the same way from where people are coming back and telling you that it is a cul-de-sac, that it ends and leads nowhere, that soon you will come to an abyss and you cannot go further. The path is suicidal!
And when Buddha and Mahavira dropped out of the world it gave a tremendous satisfaction to the poor, it helped their egos: “Somehow we are already spiritual.” Poverty started having a flavor of spirituality; being poor became equivalent to being spiritual: “Nobody can be spiritual without being poor – so poverty is good, poverty is great virtue!”