Chapter 16: The Western Mind and the Eastern Mind
Hindus were never interested so much in truth, never. They were interested more in moksha, liberation. They ask again and again, “What is moksha? What is freedom?” not “What is truth?” And they say that if someone is seeking truth, it is only to reach freedom. Then it becomes instrumental, but the search is not for truth itself.
Hindus say that which liberates us is worth seeking. If it is truth, okay, but the search is basically concerned with freedom, moksha. You cannot find a similar search in Greek philosophy. No one is interested - neither Plato nor Aristotle, no one is interested in freedom. They are interested in knowing what truth is.
Ask Buddha, ask Mahavira, ask Krishna: they are not really concerned with truth, they are concerned with freedom - how human consciousness attains total freedom. This difference belongs to the basic difference of the minds. If you are an observer, you will be interested more in the outside world and less in yourself, because with yourself you cannot be an observer. I can observe trees, I can observe stones, I can observe other persons. I cannot observe myself, because I am involved there. The gap is not there.
That’s why the West remained uninterested in the self. It was interested in others. Science develops when you are interested in others. If you are interested in trees, then you will create a science out of it. If you are interested in matter, then you will create physics. If you are interested in something else, then a new science will be born out of that inquiry. If you are interested in the self, only then is religion born.
But with the self the basic problem arises: you cannot be there as a detached observer, because you are both the observer and the observed. So the scientific distinction, the detachment, cannot be maintained. You alone are there, and whatsoever you do is subjective, inside you. It is not objective.
When it is not objective the Greek mind is afraid, because you are traveling into a mystery. Something must be objective, so if I say something others can observe it also. It must become social. So what is truth? - “If we all arrive at one conclusion through observation, experimenting, thinking, if we can come to a conclusion objectively, then it is truth.”
Buddha’s truth cannot be Aristotle’s truth because Aristotle will say, “You say you know something, but that’s subjective. Make it objective so we also can observe it.” Buddha cannot put his realization as an object on a table, it cannot be dissected. You cannot do anything whatsoever. You have to take Buddha’s statement in good faith.
Buddha says it, but Aristotle will say, “He may be deluded. What is the criterion? How to know that he is not deluded? He may be deceiving. How to know that he is not deceiving? He may be dreaming. How to know that he has come to a reality, not to a dream? .Because reality must be objective, then you can decide.”