Question: Why do people in the West find the idea of simplicity so complicated?

Sri Chinmoy: Simplicity seems complicated because it is something new to us or something that we do not want to use. Everything is complex for us because we always use the mind. We do not want to walk along a straight line. Unless we zigzag and go in a serpentine way, we get no joy. Just because we value complexity, we do not take the sunlit path — the simple, straight path. If a path is simple and straight, we feel that it has no value. Right from the beginning of our lives, we become accustomed to doing things in a very complicated way, so simplicity is most difficult for us.

When a child takes birth, the mother spends all her money-power to buy the child most beautiful and expensive clothes. She wants to show that she is richer than her neighbours. The child would be equally happy with simple clothes, but right from the beginning the child is taught that simple things are not good. So naturally, when the child grows up, he does not care for simplicity.

A simple man will have only what he needs, and he will know the difference between what he needs and what he wants. But in the West, we feel that whatever we want, we desperately need. Like hungry wolves, we are trying to possess the world. But before we possess the world, to our wide surprise we see that the world has already possessed us. We want to possess the world in all its multiplicity. We want multiplicity without unity; we want the flowers, fruits and leaves of the tree without the trunk. But if we do not start with the trunk, with simplicity, then we can never go to multiplicity. Unity is the source, and multiplicity grows out of unity.