And in the East, just the opposite has happened: only the spiritual is true and the material is illusory. All the spiritual masters in the East have been emphasizing only one thing, that the world in which you live is only a dream. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor – what does it matter if it is only a dream? Whether you are hungry, sick, old, healthy, it is only a dream. It is not the reality. The natural consequence was that in saving their spirit and their spirituality they have lost their roots. That’s why the East is poor. Gautam Buddha is responsible for it.
If you deny materialism, then how can science develop? If matter is illusory, then the whole of scientific endeavor is illusory – Hiroshima and Nagasaki have never happened, it was just the Japanese dreaming about it. If matter is illusory, then how can the atom be real, which is the constituent of matter? And if life is illusory, then why make so much fuss about life disappearing from the earth in a Third World War?
Because Gautam Buddha and people like him in other religions emphasized only the other world, this world was neglected, ignored. No science was developed – which could have been developed long before it started to develop in the West. The Western development of science is only of three hundred years; mathematics was discovered in India ten thousand years ago. But what happened? Guns and dynamite were discovered in China five thousand years ago, but then what went wrong? In three hundred years the West has developed nuclear weapons, and they have managed to reach the moon. What has the East been doing for ten thousand years?
You will be surprised to know that when Marco Polo came back from China, he brought many presents for the pope from the Chinese emperor. He was laughed at for everything that he brought – and he thought he was bringing something of immense value. For example, up to that time the West had no idea of printing machines, and he had brought printed books from China. The West had no idea of currency notes, but in China currency notes had been in use for three thousand years. What went wrong? People who invented mathematics, people who invented the printing press, people who invented guns and gunpowder…?
The whole responsibility goes to Gautam Buddha and his type of people. They emphasized that all this is illusory – don’t waste time. The small time that you have has not to be wasted in the desert of materialism. You should devote your whole life to the search for truth, for that which is far above what you see. Seek the invisible, the intangible. Seek the eternal, the immortal. Seek the immaterial.
Emphasis from people like Buddha who had charismatic personalities influenced the whole of civilization for centuries, and all progress stopped. India knew everything about mathematics, but could not produce an Albert Einstein. If things had moved rightly, India would have reached faraway stars by this time, not just the moon. The moon is very close. If Western science can reach the moon in three hundred years, India could have reached the farthest star in ten thousand years.