Mr. Robert Muller: U Thant often said that in his view the West was too materialistic and intellectual, and not spiritual enough, whereas the East was too spiritual and fatalistic, and not caring enough for the material and intellectual welfare of the people. Do you see a synthesis developing between the two and how would you envisage a harmonious, happy world society?Sri Chinmoy: I readily, immediately and unreservedly agree with our beloved Secretary-General U Thant's most illumining assessment of Eastern achievements and Western achievements, Eastern possessions and Western possessions, Eastern contributions and Western contributions, Eastern outlook towards the Reality and Western outlook towards the Reality.
The East is spiritual, the West is material. The East cries for the transcendental Spirit, the West cries for the universal matter.
The East is in the heart and for the heart. The West is in the mind and for the mind. The East from within comes to the fore and flowers. The West from the outer existence goes deep within and flowers.
The East wants silence. The West wants sound. Silence embodies the teeming Vast eventually to proceed. Sound inspires the teeming Vast continuously to succeed. The East sings the song of God the One. The West sings the song of God the Many. The East loves unity. The West loves multiplicity.
This world of ours is beset with countless problems. The spiritual East thinks that the Beyond is the only answer. The material West thinks that the answer is to be found here on earth; it thinks that the answer is: live and enjoy and enjoy and live.
The East believes in fate because it believes in reincarnation. The West does not believe in reincarnation; therefore, it does not believe in fate.
We can endlessly see and determine the differences between the East and the West. But the real question is whether these differences are being synthesised or not. At the very beginning, if we know what the heart can offer and what the mind can offer, then it will be an easy task to synthesise the two. The heart wants to see the oneness, feel the oneness and become the oneness itself. The mind wants diversity in the vital and multiplicity in the mind proper. The heart knows that there is a road that leads upward. The mind knows that there is a road that leads forward. The East wants to walk along the road that leads upward. The West wants to walk along the road that leads forward.
The synthesis between East and West starts because of their feelings of insufficiency. The East sees that if it does not accept the material life, then it will not be able to manifest what it inwardly has. The West feels that if it does not accept the spiritual life, then it will not have a solid foundation. Then everything can be easily shattered. We can clearly see that the East has already gained considerable knowledge and wisdom from the West, especially in the scientific world. The West has gained considerable knowledge and wisdom from the East, especially in the spiritual world. Here we see that the heart and the mind cannot function separately and individually. They have to function together, provided they feel the need of an integral perfection in life. The mind without the heart will not know what the supreme Reality is. The heart without the mind will not know how the supreme Reality can be manifested here on earth. To our great joy, the East and the West are constantly complementing each other to make each other perfect consciously, and more so unconsciously.
The East is like the body of a bird and the West is like the wings of a bird. If the bird does not spread its wings, then how will it fly? And again, when it flies and reaches the highest Height, at that time it has to know that there is another goal and that goal is God-Manifestation on earth. There are two goals: one goal is Heaven-reality and the other goal is earth-reality. When we use the wings to go upward to the heavenly goal, we go with the earth-reality to the Heaven-reality. And when we come down to the earthly goal, we come down with the Heaven-reality to the earth-reality. It is like climbing up and down a tree. We climb up a mango tree and pluck mangoes, and then bring them down and distribute them. The East says, "Gather!" The West says, "Spread!" If we do not gather, then how can we spread? Only if we gather can we spread. Again, if we spread what we have, then the Source is pleased with us and the Source gives us everything in infinite measure.
For the last quarter of a century, both the East and the West have felt the supreme necessity of receiving light from each other. To quote your own illumining ideas and fulfilling ideals: "Beyond the turmoil, the divisions and perplexities of our time, mankind is slowly but surely finding the ways, limits and new codes of behaviour which will encompass all races, nations and ideologies. It is the formulation of these new ethics which will be the great challenge for the new generation. It will concern not only men's material fate, but also their mental and spiritual lives."
There was a time when the renouncer of life felt that it was beneath his dignity to love the lover of life, and the lover of life felt that it was beneath his dignity to mix with the renouncer of life. Now the lover and the renouncer are modifying their views and becoming one. The renouncer feels that to love life because God the All-Love is inside life is absolutely correct. At the same time, God the Lover of life sees that things need not be renounced; He sees that they can be modified, transformed and perfected. After all, perfection only can give humanity abiding satisfaction. So the East, instead of rejecting, gladly accepts the great possibilities, capacities and realities of the West. The West too does exactly the same. They are combining their possibilities and transforming these possibilities into divine practicabilities with the hope that supreme satisfaction will dawn in the all-embracing and all-illumining common realisation of East and West.
We will have a harmonious, happy world-society only if this synthesis continues, and we can take East and West as the two arms, two eyes, two feet and two legs of the Supreme Pilot within and without. The other human divisions and distinctions — racial, cultural and linguistic — are destined to disappear from the human consciousness when it is flooded with a higher Light. This is the inevitable consequence of the Hour of God that is dawning all over the world. When the Hour of God appears, diversities will be there, but these diversities will be enriched and enhanced in fullest measure. And they will not disturb the general consciousness; on the contrary, they will harmoniously complement the whole. Humanity will be a true human family in every sense of the term and also in a sense that the human mind has yet to discover. And here I wish to say that this discovery will exceed all human expectations.
The awakened consciousness of man is evolving towards the Divine Existence. This is a most hopeful streak of light amidst the obscurities of the present-day world. This is a moment when human beings do not only join hands, but also join minds, hearts and souls. All physical, vital and mental barriers between East and West will dissolve, and high above national standards, above even individual standards, we shall see the supreme banner of divine Oneness.