Part X — Questions and answers

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: First, 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 they had to renounce the outer life in order to attain God. Hence, the external life was neglected. This led to foreign conquests and many other troubles. Even today, the attitude that material prosperity and beauty should be negated is very common 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, that Creator and creation are one and inseparable. 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 modern India.

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 also the power to bring her soul's strength to the fore and use it to solve all her problems.