Question: I would frankly like to know what India's spirituality has ever done for her. How is it that in spite of her yogis and saints, she is still a poor and backward country?
Sri Chinmoy: Firstly, we must understand what has brought this situation about. In ancient India, the material life was not renounced. People in those days aspired for a synthesis of Matter and Spirit, and to some extent they were successful in achieving it. But there is a great gulf between that hoary past and the present.
In the later periods of India's history, the saints and seers came to feel that the material life and the spiritual life could never go together, that you had to renounce life in order to attain to God. Hence the external life was neglected. This led to foreign conquests and many other troubles. Even today, the attitude of negating material prosperity and beauty is very powerful in India. This accounts for much of her continued poverty.
But at present there are spiritual giants in India who feel that God should be realised in His totality. Creator and Creation are one and cannot be separated. So they advocate the acceptance of life, the real need for both progress and perfection in all spheres of human existence. This new approach is widely accepted in India today.
India may be poverty-stricken today, but she will progress quickly by virtue of her new awareness and her new aspiration. She has not only magnanimity of heart, but she has the power to bring her soul's strength to the fore and with this strength to solve all her problems.