Question: Why at this period in history is the West, which has been developing materialistically, now beginning to develop spiritually?

Sri Chinmoy: Now that the West has reached the pinnacle of material prosperity, the West feels in the inner world that it is totally bankrupt. In this world everybody wants satisfaction. A poor man wants satisfaction, a multimillionaire wants satisfaction. But a multimillionaire may come to realise that no matter how much money he has, even if he wallows in the pleasures of wealth, he may not or, let us say, he cannot get even an iota of real satisfaction. That is because satisfaction is an inner awakening, an inner achievement, an inner realisation. The West has been blessed by material wealth, material gifts; but what the West has is not enough to make it happy. So now the West wants to be blessed by inner wealth, which is satisfaction. The West feels that if it dives deep within and listens to the dictates of its inner being, the Inner Pilot, then inner satisfaction is bound to loom large. The message of matter the West has always listened to and fulfilled. But now it wants to listen to and fulfil the message of spirit. Not only is material perfection needed, but the perfection of the spirit is also needed.

It is like having two friends. I have listened to one friend all the time and now I feel I have to pay some attention to the other friend. Matter is not to be neglected; it is also God’s creation. But if we listen to the dictates of the spirit, then only can material wealth be used for the right cause, for a divine purpose. Let us say matter is the body and spirit is our inner existence. If there is no body, how can we manifest? The soul is within us, but in order to manifest its divinity, the soul needs the body. And again, the body needs the soul in order to realise the highest, the Absolute. If there is no deity inside the body, then the body is of no use. Again, how can a deity remain in the street? It has to have a home.

What the West is doing now is diving deep within in order to become the life of silence. Once it has become the life of silence, then it can become the life of sound, expression, revelation. At this stage, the West feels that realisation is of paramount importance. And once realisation has taken place, then this truth can easily be offered to mankind. So the West is entering into the inner world in order to bring to the fore the wealth of the inner world.