In a poor society religion cannot be meaningful because people have not yet failed. Their search, the outward search, still carries meaning. They think if they can get a good house everything will be okay; they think if they can get a little money then everything will be okay. A poor man can live in illusion, but not a rich man. And if you see a rich man also living in illusion, remember well, he is still poor, he has not succeeded yet.
A Buddha leaves the palace, a Mahavira leaves the kingdom. They succeeded, and success failed them. They became alert that the whole direction had been wrong, so they took an about-turn. They moved in totally the opposite direction: they were kings, they became beggars; they were clothed in the costliest clothes possible, they became naked. It became a conversion: success fails, and failure becomes a conversion.
But why does success fail? It fails because you were not searching for wealth, you were not searching for power, you were not searching for security and safety; you were not searching for a house, you were searching for something else. You were searching for the eternal home from where there is no going away. You were searching for an eternal rest, you were searching for a peace which lasts forever, is non-temporal. That is what the search is: a search for the home. It is not a search for any house outside, it is a search for a state of being where you are at home. You were not searching for wealth, you were searching for protection against death; you were searching for a life which no death can destroy.
This life is going to be destroyed. Every moment the fear is there. How can you live this life when it exists just as if you are standing on a volcano? Any moment the explosion, any moment you can be thrown into death. You may live a hundred years, but you will tremble for a hundred years.
Just a few years ago scientists started thinking about this problem, because now there is a possibility that man’s life can be lengthened as much as we want. Within this century it will become possible to change the blueprint in the chromosome in the basic cell. And then you can feed to the basic cell that this body is going to live three hundred years, and then the body will live three hundred years. Right now it lives seventy years because your father and your mother lived almost seventy years; unconsciously they have fed this… A blueprint is carried by the cell that within seventy years you will die. If we can change the blueprint in the cell, then man can live as long as he wants. This has been one of the greatest dreams: to win over death, to prolong life as long as one wants.
Just a few years back, scientists stumbled upon the fact. Now it can be done, within this century it has become feasible, but a new problem has arisen. They thought that if this could be done, then everybody would be happy and the fear of death would disappear, the anxiety about death would disappear. But no! When they pondered over the problem, they became aware that if a man lives for seventy years, he is afraid of death for seventy years. If he lives for three hundred years, he will be afraid of death for three hundred years. Fear will increase, not decrease. How can the fear go? You may live for three thousand years, it makes no difference, only that for three thousand years you are on the volcano; any moment it can erupt, and the fear continues.