Question: What is your most urgent message for today's man — for the West, conditioned by its materialistic philosophy, and for the East, which, in many cases, is still struggling for life's basic necessities?

Sri Chinmoy: For the West, my most urgent message is this: do not try to possess the world. If you want to possess the world, to your wide surprise you will see that the world has possessed you and made you its slave. To the East I would say that a life of austerity or a life of rejection will not expedite your spiritual journey. Possession is not the answer; asceticism is not the answer; moderation is the answer. Cheerful acceptance of life — with a view to transforming the face and fate of the world — is the only answer.

The developed and prosperous countries must exercise their generosity and genuine concern for their fellow citizens of the world, not out of charity but out of a sincere feeling of oneness. With the loving material assistance of the wealthy countries, the underdeveloped and ill-fated countries can and must give more importance to education and self-discipline, and strive for a better standard of living instead of surrendering to the deplorable circumstances which have rendered them helpless.

What we need is a life of balance — neither to wallow in the pleasures of wealth nor to lead a life of asceticism, but to embrace a life of simplicity and a heart of purity. Indeed, this is the only way that this world of ours can be supremely happy and divinely perfect.