And for thousands of years they have been teaching that you are poor because you deserve to be poor, this is a punishment. And if you revolt against your situation you will be punished again in the coming lives. It is better to accept it, it is better not to do anything against it; then there is a possibility in the next life that you also may be rich.
Now you see the whole strategy. This life is completely ignored. The past life – about which you know nothing – is important. And the life that you are living you have to live according to the rules of the society without any revolt, without any effort to do something to destroy poverty, because that is trying to escape from the wheel of the law of action and its consequence. You cannot escape; if you put your hand into the fire you are going to be burned. You go on putting your hand into the fire and you don’t want to be burned.
It is because of these people that India has remained a country without any revolution. And India has suffered more than any other land: thousands of years of immense poverty, two thousand years of slavery. Small groups, primitives, nomads invaded India, a vast continent, and became victorious because India was ready to accept anything. They were programmed for acceptance: if slavery was coming that meant God wanted them to be slaves.
You will be surprised that even in the twentieth century when one of the states of India, Bihar, had a very great earthquake and thousands of people died, Mahatma Gandhi had only one thing to say – that they were dying because of their bad karmas. The earthquake was not killing them, it was their past lives. And nobody asks Mahatma Gandhi, “Why Bihar only? All over India, all over the world people have been doing the same things in their past lives. Have all the sinners been born in Bihar?” Their sins are bringing the earthquake.
These are ways of explaining away situations for which you don’t have any explanation, or you don’t have the guts to say the truth.
So it is not that Buddha and his religion were rejected but his teachings about poverty were accepted; teaching about poverty were already accepted thousands of years before Buddha. They have nothing to do with Buddha. Buddha simply joined the whole company who were telling people, “Be contented as you are.”
And I am amazed – Buddha was not contented to be in beautiful palaces, with beautiful, gorgeous women, with all the luxuries available to him. And he was going to be the king of his country. His father was old, seventy, and wanted in his own life to see the crowning ceremony of Gautam Buddha. Buddha could not be content with that, and he escaped. And he is teaching the poor people to be content. Can’t you see the contradiction?
But poor people have to be given the opium of consolation. It helps the rich to become more rich and the poor to become more poor. If half the world is dying with poverty and starvation, who is responsible? All your prophets, all your messiahs, all your avataras – the whole mafia of your religious leaders. They have made humanity suffer for centuries, and still they are doing the same. Still they are preaching the same thing, that poverty has something spiritual in it.