Question: The Western world sees Indian society as chaotic and underdeveloped. Is Western society any better?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say India is chaotic and the West is neurotic. Which one is better? In the East, let us say, everything is disorderly and chaotic. But in the West, everything seems meaningless and senseless. People care only about amassing wealth and enjoying pleasure-life. They think of themselves and others in a destructive way. Western countries are generally not as disorderly as India, but they have other weaknesses and imperfections, and at any moment these weaknesses and imperfections could destroy the whole world.

So both parties are wanting in light. But it would be a mistake for America to say that India's imperfections are worse or of a lower type, or for India to say that America's imperfections are worse. To say that my imperfections are not as dangerous or destructive as yours is the height of stupidity. You and I are both imperfect. Our imperfections are more than enough for us to spend the rest of our lives trying to illumine them. Both of us have to bring down light and pray to God to illumine our lives.

You may say, "Oh, my imperfections are negligible; I can easily overcome them." But the moment you try to conquer them, you will see that it is the most difficult thing. Let us say that you have been telling lies for twenty years. For one hour you will tell the truth; then, out of the blue, falsehood will descend again. Or if someone else is overweight, he will say, "I can easily stop eating." Then for a few days he will try, but soon his determination will disappear. So each of us must take our own imperfections as seriously as possible.

Instead of criticising others, let us try to keep our own body, vital and mind under control. If we can control ourselves, if we can have determination to do the right thing and become the best possible person, then there is hope that others will also have the same determination to improve their lives. It is our own longing for perfection, our own cry for perfection, that is of paramount importance. If I can become perfect, then there will be one less rascal on earth. So if I try and you try and everybody else tries, then real progress will be made on earth. If today I become perfect, tomorrow you become perfect and the day after tomorrow somebody else becomes perfect, then someday everybody will be perfect.