The first question:
I wish you would say something about the Eastern indifference to what you are doing, and the Western attraction.
It is a very natural phenomenon. Religion is the ultimate luxury.
Man lives on three planes. If his bodily needs are fulfilled, only then psychological needs become significant; otherwise not. A hungry man will not be interested in the music of Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner. He will not be interested in the paintings of Michelangelo, Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso. It is natural. His first basic needs are not fulfilled. Once his bodily needs are fulfilled, immediately his consciousness shifts from the physical plane to the psychological. Consciousness remains attached to the plane where it is needed most. You know it in ordinary day-to-day existence too. If your leg is hurting you forget the whole body, your consciousness becomes focused on the leg. If you have a headache, only then you become aware of the existence of the head; otherwise, you remain absolutely unaware of its existence. It goes on functioning silently, your attention is not needed.
Body is the foundation, and the East is suffering from physical needs. Its physical needs are tremendous, so whatsoever goes on in the name of religion is not really religion in the East – it cannot be – it is something else. People gather around Satya Sai Baba, or persons like him, not for spiritual needs, but for physical needs. Somebody is ill and would like a miracle to happen so that he can be cured. Somebody is blind, somebody has no children, somebody has no employment, and they are hoping that by going to the saints, by the blessings of the saints, or by praying into the churches, into the temples, in the mosques, in the gurudwaras, their needs will be fulfilled. This is hoping in vain, but the poor man cannot help. He goes on hanging around these illusions. It is a vicious circle: he hangs around illusions in the hope that his needs will be fulfilled, and because he hangs around illusions he does not make any real effort to fulfill his needs. Those needs go on growing bigger and bigger. Then he goes on moving more and more into the illusory. His religion is more of wish-fulfillment – not of growth, not of maturity not of spiritual flight, but of dreaming, hallucinating.
You go for a long fast and you will start fantasizing about food – twenty-four hours you will fantasize about food. You go into loneliness and after the third week you will start talking to yourself. The need is such that you will start living in an illusion, as if there is somebody with whom you are having a dialogue.