Part IX: America and Israel


The body-consciousness of Einstein cried for liberty; his vital-consciousness, for tolerance; and his mind-consciousness, for equality. He realised that these divine qualities were not to be found in his birthplace, Germany, but in America. Therefore, he adopted American citizenship.

Brave he was to the core. From his brave utterances on America and Germany, our world of conflicting ideas and confusing thoughts can learn much: “As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail. Civil liberty implies freedom to express one’s political convictions, in speech and in writing; tolerance implies respect for the convictions of others, whatever they may be. These conditions do not exist in Germany at the present time. Men, among them leading artists, who have made a particularly great contribution to the cause of international understanding, are being persecuted there.”

Freedom he wanted; freedom he received in ample measure from America. While he enjoyed freedom in America, America’s admiration surcharged his. He was admired not only by those who understood or tried to understand him as a man of science, but also by those who were totally ignorant of science. He was admired, adored and loved because of his heart’s cosmopolitan outlook and his life’s universality-treasure.

Einstein made America supremely happy and America made him eternally happy. Here we see a mutual happiness. His vision turned into fulfilling reality, he felt, because of his stay in America. The American consciousness pleased him to such an extent that he cheerfully and dauntlessly voiced forth: “I work here under the best imaginable working conditions, and I have never been so happy. I would rather live here than anywhere else in the world.”

The scientist-sage was very moved by America’s forward-looking attitude. America, because of its divinely childlike consciousness, always wants to become more powerful, more soulful, more self-giving and more fulfilling. It wants to grow and make progress, to proceed onward and dive deeply inward. Here movement means progress and progress means satisfaction. As Einstein so aptly expressed it, “The American lives even more for his goals, for the future, than the European. Life for him is always becoming, never being.”

As a man of high aspirations himself, Einstein greatly appreciated President Wilson’s high ideas, higher ideals and highest goals. Einstein, nobility incarnate, said something most illumining about Wilson. He said that it is not the success but the attempt itself that deserves appreciation. “That Wilson failed to carry out his ideas is beside the point. The enthusiasm with which his preachment was hailed demonstrated that the American public has an international mind.”

America’s pre-eminence was clearly recognised by Einstein. With true vision he saw how America stands in the vanguard of human success and progress. Him to quote: “This country has through hard but peaceful labour achieved the position of undisputed pre-eminence among the nations of the world. Today it stands forth as the citadel of the ancient, high ideals of a political democracy.”

Einstein was extremely grateful to America. Only the possessor of a great soul can have a gratitude-heart and a gratitude-life: gratitude within and gratitude without. The gratitude-heart and gratitude-life of Einstein declared: “My birthday affords me the welcome opportunity to express my feelings of deep gratitude for the ideal working and living conditions which have been placed at my disposal in the United States.”

The outer politics as such was not Einstein’s forte. His politics did not involve the supremacy of one party over another, but rather the oneness-manifestation of humanity’s oneness-heart.

Nothing outer could elevate his inner heights. Nothing outer could add to his inner glories. Therefore, it was so easy for him to decline even the supreme distinction of becoming the second President of Israel. When he was offered the post, he said, “I am deeply moved by the offer from our state of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters; hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfil the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength.”

His love for Israel can better be felt than described. His oneness-love for Israel did not allow him to lord it over Israel. His love was founded upon inner satisfaction and oneness-fulfilment. Indeed, the last speech he wrote before his death, although it was never delivered, was in support of Israel:

“I speak to you tonight as an American citizen and also as a Jew and as a human being who has always striven to consider matters objectively. What I am trying to do is simply to serve truth and justice with my modest strength.

“You may think that the conflict between Israel and Egypt is a small and unimportant problem. We have more important concerns you might say. That is not the case. When it comes to truth and justice there is no difference between small and great problems. Whosoever fails to take small matters seriously in a spirit of truth, cannot be trusted in greater affairs….”