Chapter 1: The Greatest Luxury
By the time Pythagoras came back, he was a very old man. But seekers gathered around him; a great school was born. And, as it always happens, the society started persecuting him, his school and his disciples. His whole life he searched for the perennial philosophy, and he had found it. He had gathered all the fragments into a tremendous harmony, into a great unity. But he was not allowed to work it out in detail; he was not allowed to teach people.
He was persecuted from one place to another. Many attempts were made on his life. It was almost impossible for him to teach all that he had gathered. And his treasure was immense - in fact nobody else has ever had such a treasure as he had. But this is how foolish humanity is and has always been. This man had done something impossible: he had bridged East and West. He was the first bridge. He had come to know the eastern mind as deeply as the western mind.
He was a Greek. He was brought up with the Greek logic, with the Greek scientific approach, and then he moved to the East. Then he learnt the ways of intuition. Then he learnt how to be a mystic. He himself was a great mathematician in his own right. And a mathematician becoming a mystic is a revolution, because these are poles apart.
The West represents the male mind: aggressive intellect. The East represents the female mind: receptive intuition. East and West are not just arbitrary; the division is very, very significant and profound.
And you should not forget Rudyard Kipling. What he said has significance, has meaning. He said, “East and West shall never meet.” There is a fragment of truth in it, because the meeting seems to be impossible; the ways of their working are so diametrically opposite.
The West is aggressive, scientific - ready to conquer nature. The East is non-aggressive, receptive - ready to be conquered by nature. The West is eager to know. The East is patient. The West takes every initiative to reach into the mysteries of life and existence; it tries to unlock the doors. And the East simply waits in profound trust: “Whenever I am worthy, the truth will be revealed to me.”
The West is concentration of the mind; the East is meditation of the mind. The West is thinking; the East is non-thinking. The West is mind; the East is no-mind. And Kipling seems to be logically right, that it seems impossible that east and west could ever meet.
And the East and the West does not only represent the earth being divided into two hemispheres, it represents your mind too, your brain too. Your brain is also divided into two hemispheres just like the earth. Your brain has an East in it and a West in it. The left-sided hemisphere of your brain is the West; it is connected with the right hand. And the right-sided hemisphere of your brain is the East; it is connected with the left hand.
The West is rightist. The East is leftist. And the processes of both are so different. The left hemisphere of your brain calculates, thinks, is logical. All science is produced by it. And the right hemisphere of your brain is a poet, is a mystic. It intuits; it feels. It is vague, cloudy, misty; nothing is clear. Everything is a kind of chaos, but that chaos has its beauty. There is great poetry in that chaos; there is great song in that chaos. It is very juicy.