Never before have I felt so much at home with you. This place has such a beautiful vibration, and I feel a lot of it is created by your Indian disciples. Sometimes it feels that their gestures are in such a melting with your gestures and grace that I start asking myself if we, your Western sannyasins, are missing out on something. To see Indian sannyasins bowing down to you touches my heart deeply, and sometimes I feel that I am missing out. To do the bowing does not feel right, and only once in a while the bowing down happens to me – which I feel is one of the beautiful moments. Please comment.
India has a different vibe from any other land. The vibration depends on thousands of years’ constant search for one’s self. No other country is devoted to such a project; it is special and unique. Not for a single moment has the Indian consciousness wavered from its search. It has sacrificed everything for it, it has sacrificed itself for it. It has suffered slavery, poverty, sickness, death – but it has not accepted defeat in the search. The search is so ancient, it has gone into the very blood and bones and marrow of the people of this land. They may not be conscious of it, but they certainly have a different vibe: it is not their own, it is their heritage. They are born with it.
I can understand your question. The question has been asked in many ways, but you have put it very clearly: there is a distinction between the Indian disciple and the Western disciples.
The West has carried out a totally different tradition. Its basic motivation has been to explore objects. Objects are dead, and when you have been exploring dead objects for centuries, a certain kind of deadness is bound to enter into your own being. A man is known by the company he keeps.
The Western mind is surrounded by objects. It is interested in faraway stars…only in one thing is it not interested, and that is its own being. The obvious is ignored, and the far away becomes the focus of your interest. Naturally your very being starts moving farther and farther from your center.
The Western mind lives on the periphery – that is its centuries-old concern. Naturally it has created a different kind of culture, a different kind of approach among human beings. It has created the psychology of the ego. The whole of Western education from Aristotle up to today emphasizes that your ego should be stronger. It is a natural conclusion, because you are going to be a competitor, in a world with so many people fighting for the same objects. You cannot be polite and you cannot be nice and you cannot be nonviolent. And you cannot bother about your means – you cannot think that a good end needs good means.
If the means are not good, then the end cannot be good – because it is the means that ultimately transforms into the goal, into the end. It is the path that finally becomes the goal; a wrong path cannot lead to the right goal.
But when it is a question of competition you have to be cunning, because others are cunning. You have to be more cunning than them; otherwise you will be defeated. If you want to be richer, you have to fight tooth-and-nail. You don’t have any time to think about means and ends. You have to keep your eyes only on the goal that you have to become powerful, rich, prestigious, respected. It does not matter by what means you achieve these goals.