Have you not heard Jesus saying to people, “Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the kingdom of God”? In his small statement the essential religious approach towards poverty is expressed: be contented. If you are a beggar, it is only a question of a few days…
And to console the poor, Jesus says, “A camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but a rich man cannot pass through the gates of paradise.” It feels good. The poor man feels proud of his poverty – it is something unique, special, divine. The rich man is stupid – just a few days of richness and then an eternity of hell. A few days of poverty, and then an eternity of all the pleasures that you can imagine, that you can dream of – and forever and forever! If both are given to you to choose from, what are you going to choose – richness or poverty? Richness for seventy years and an eternity of hellfire, no exit, no way to escape from hell, you can only get in, you cannot get out; or seventy years of poverty. It is simply a test of your trust. And blessed are those who pass the test joyfully without any complaint – theirs is the kingdom of God.
Ten thousand years of all kinds of inhuman living – humiliation, slavery, poverty, death, starvation – but in ten thousand years not a single voice for revolution, that we should change this whole structure, this whole society. The vested interests are happy, those who are in power are happy. The priests are happy, and the poor and the downtrodden are contented.
Karl Marx was not wrong when he said, “Religions have proved to be the opium of the people.” On that point I agree with him absolutely. Wadud, you are going to do the same thing. You are my sannyasin, and you are going into the marketplace to help people to be contented.
Take meditation to the marketplace – but meditation does not mean contentment. Yes, contentment comes, but that is not in the beginning of meditation, that is the ultimate fulfillment of meditation.
The first contentment is against human beings, and the last contentment is the fulfillment of all your potential: that is the kingdom of God. But that is nothing to be practiced by you; hence there is no need to talk about it. It comes on its own accord. As your meditation deepens, as you become more silent, as you become more peaceful, as you become more balanced, centered, alert, conscious, a contentment starts following you like a shadow; but that is not your doing.
I do not teach contentment. But people have been cheated and befooled. You will be loved and respected by people, if you go into the marketplace and help them to be contented with their desires, with the situation in which they find themselves. You will not sharpen their minds, you will not bring more intelligence to them. You will make them dull; you will make them mediocre. Idiots are always contented.