Only a rich man can become poor, because you can lose only that which you have. If you have never been rich, how can you be poor? Your poverty will be just on the surface, it can never be in the spirit. On the surface you will be poor, and deep down you will be hankering after riches. Your spirit will hanker after riches, it will be an ambition, it will be a constant desire to attain riches. Only on the surface will you be poor. And you may even console yourself by saying that poverty is good.
But you cannot be poor – only a rich man, a really rich man, can be poor. Just to have riches is not enough to be really rich. You may still be poor. If the ambition is still there, you are poor. What you have is not the point. If you have enough then the desire disappears. When you have enough riches the desire disappears. Disappearance of the desire is the criterion of “enoughness.” Then you are rich – you can drop it, you can become poor, you can become a beggar like Buddha. And then your poverty is rich; then your poverty has a kingdom of its own.
The same happens with everything. The Upanishads or Lao Tzu or Jesus or Buddha – they all teach that knowledge is useless. Just getting more and more knowledgeable is not much help. Not only is it not much help, it can become a barrier. Knowledge is not needed, but that doesn’t mean you should remain ignorant. This ignorance will not be real. When you have gathered enough knowledge and you throw it, then ignorance is attained. Then you really become ignorant – like Socrates who can say: “I know only one thing, that I don’t know anything.” This knowledge, or this ignorance – you can call it whatever you like – is totally different, the quality is different, the dimension has changed.
If you are simply ignorant because you have never attained to any knowledge your ignorance cannot be wise, it cannot be wisdom – it is simply absence of knowledge. And the hankering will be inside: How to gain more knowledge? How to gain more information?
When you know too much – you have known the scriptures, you have known the past, the tradition, you have known all that can be known – then suddenly you become aware of the futility of it all. Suddenly you become aware that this is not knowledge, this is borrowed. This is not your own existential experience, this is not what you have come to know. Others may have known it, you have simply gathered it. Your gathering is mechanical; it has not arisen out of you, it is not a growth. It is just rubbish gathered from other doors, borrowed, dead.
Remember, knowing is alive only when you know, when it is your immediate, direct experience. But when you know from others it is just memory, not knowledge. Memory is dead. When you gather much – the riches of knowledge, scriptures, all around you, libraries condensed in your mind, and suddenly you become aware that you are just carrying the burden of others. Nothing belongs to you, you have not known – then you can drop it, you can drop all this knowledge. In that dropping a new type of ignorance arises within you. This ignorance is not the ignorance of the ignorant, this is how a wise man is, how wisdom is.