Richness does not equal being wealthy. Increasing numbers of people are starting to realize that without an inner richness, without the kind of resources money cannot buy, outer richness means little.
“Meditation opens doors to inner richness. And the outer richness is only a false substitute: it keeps you in a kind of illusion that you are rich. Deep down you remain poor, because the outer richness cannot change your inner world. If you are poor in a hut, miserable in a hut, you will be poor and miserable in a palace too. The palace cannot change your misery, it has nothing to do with your misery. Your misery can only be changed by some inner transformation.
There are two kinds of poor people in the world
“So there are two kinds of poor people in the world; the poor poor and the rich poor – but both are poor. And in fact the rich poor person is far more poor, poorer than the poor poor, for the simple reason that he has contrast. He can see that the outside has become rich and in contrast his inner poverty shows more clearly. The poor man cannot feel that. Both sides are poor, in and out, so there is no contrast. It is like writing with white chalk on a white wall – there is no contrast. You can write something, but you cannot read it. The rich man is like a blackboard on which you write with white chalk; it comes clear and loud.
“Hence all rich societies have felt a tremendous urge to find inner richness.
“That’s how religion is born – religion can be born only in a rich society. The poor society can only have a pseudo kind of religion; it cannot have real religion because it cannot feel its inner poverty, there is no contrast.
“That’s why when people from the West come to India they are surprised and puzzled: people are so poor and yet they don’t seem to be so miserable. They should be very miserable, but they don’t seem to be as miserable as people in the West are – and they are rich. They have all the technology and all the industry and all the scientific gadgets, but they are very very miserable. They feel that life is a meaningless project, they feel life is absurd. So when they come to the East and see poor people in a way contented they start thinking it must be because of religion. It is not so. And the Indian gurus go on saying it is because of religion – that is sheer nonsense! It is not because of religion, it is because there is no contrast.
The rich man becomes hopeless
“The poor man can still hope, the rich man cannot hope, he becomes hopeless. The poor man can hope that one day he will become rich and then everything will be all right; so he can go on dreaming, he has something to dream about. The rich man has come to the very end of the road. He has all that he had ever dreamt of, or even more than he ever dreamt of. Now, what to do? Nothing is happening. All that he wanted he has, and the emptiness still continues; in fact, it looks very clear now. One thing is certain: that this road leads nowhere; he has come to a full stop. Something else is needed. His inner search begins. When the outer search has failed completely because it has succeeded – nothing fails like success – he has to turn in.”
Osho, Just the Tip of the Iceberg, Talk #21