Question: What is the main difference between the Western and Eastern mentality? Could this difference be eliminated for the purpose of better understanding and coexistence between all nations?

Sri Chinmoy: In a very general way we can say that the Western world has more faith in science and technology. The Western world takes pride in scientific achievements, while the Eastern world prides itself on inner qualities, that is to say, prayerful peace or peaceful prayer. As we know, science comes from the mind; it is of the mind and for the world. Because the Western world gives such importance to the mind, science plays a most significant role in the West. Again, quite recently science has started believing in some kind of inner existence. When science produces something, it does feel that its invention has come from another world — an inner world, you can say. But the extent that science and scientists have entered into the inner world is not at all satisfactory. It is almost a joke.

We cannot say that there are no sincere seekers in the West or no great scientists in the East. Far from it! But if we have to make a comparison, then the Western world has infinitely more faith in the achievements of science than in the achievements of the inner reality — the soul and the heart. Again, since the world is one reality, there shall come a time when the world of science and the world of spirituality will go together. The outer life and the inner life cannot be kept separate indefinitely.

Right now the inner world may think the outer world is so restless that it is simply useless to do anything in or for it. Similarly, the outer world may think that the inner world is useless, inactive, sleeping, dormant. But both are mistaken. The inner world is not snoring or sleeping; it is dreaming of higher realities. Similarly, the outer world is the place where God is manifesting His own Reality. So the misconceptions that reign supreme in the mind of the outer world and in the heart of the inner world have to be removed.

The good qualities of both worlds must come forward. In the world of science, the best quality is the power of concentration. By virtue of their tremendous concentration, scientists achieve something unique. In the inner world, there is something we call aspiration, the heart’s inner cry. On the strength of his inner cry, the seeker also achieves something unique and sublime.

Inner aspiration and outer concentration or determination must go together. In that way, the world of spirituality and the world of science will be able to walk side by side. And when the inner life and the outer life march and run together to the same destination, which is a oneness-home, then the lovers of science and the lovers of spirituality will become one throughout the length and breadth of the world. At that time there will be only one song which we shall sing, and that is the song of oneness, oneness, oneness. So by unifying the heart’s inner cry and the world’s outer smile, by unifying the world of spirituality and the world of science, human beings shall one day become perfect, more perfect and most perfect citizens of the world.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 19.First published by Agni Press in 1999.

This is the 1317th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Sri Chinmoy answers, part 19, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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