All that I, as a Sufi, a universal being, have learned
from my experience in both East and West is that I can now
appreciate the merits and also understand the defects of
Although the East has progressed to an inconceivable
extent in certain aspects of life, this has never been fully
recognized. In other words it has not been sufficiently
fruitful, because its progress has been individualistic
and not general. Also self-satisfaction, linked with laziness
and recklessness, retard it from material advancement to
a great degree. It is sad to see that Eastern students usually
adopt the most undesirable qualities of the West, such as
extravagance, excessive gaiety, and exclusiveness, instead
of its courage, power of organization, and its most wonderful
knowledge of administration.
In many cases Westernized Orientals grow indifferent
towards their own people, owing to the varied direction
of thought which retards their unity. The present unbalanced
condition of the East is such that the man with intellect
is, as it were, unbalanced in body, while the sane in body
are unstable in mind. The spiritual person is lost in the
spirit, and the material person is absorbed in matter; thus
the one is an angel while the other is an animal. No doubt
the unbalanced state of the East has deprived it for the
present of both the world and God.
The East can learn a lesson of order from the West, for
the lack of this is at the root of its downfall. She can
also learn balance and moderation in most things, and cooperation
among all classes regardless of caste or creed. Although
the East has taught the lesson of brotherhood to the world,
yet her children seem to forget to practice it among themselves;
the brother drags his brother down and selfishness is on
the increase, especially in India.
The East should also imitate the regularity of Western
methods of work and rest, as well as its commercial activity,
together with its love of research.
The independent spirit of the West is most praiseworthy
among women as well as men. Their love of travel, the neatness
and convenience of their homes, and the companionship of
man and wife – all these are very praiseworthy, and especially
at the present time when two extremes, either a great adoration
or the complete subordination of woman, exist in the Orient.
'Man is placed in the prison of the earth, to prove
him bankrupt towards God.'
On the other hand, the West should adopt the East's adaptability
to circumstances and its simplicity of living. At a time
when modern civilization is increasing the needs of artificial
life to such an extent, and the richer a man gets the more
avaricious he becomes, then the most worthy and needful
lesson for the West is the Eastern code of morality, which
European travelers often overlook under its mantle of simplicity.
Eastern morals extol tolerance, renunciation, confidence,
faith, and trust, together with innocence, contentment,
patience, modesty, sympathy, hospitality, and a love for
humanity which can even rise to the utmost heights of self-sacrifice.
These merits, although they are to be found all over the
world, are especially idealized and reach their highest
culmination in the East. If the above truths could be fully
understood by those students who are busied with the interchange
of ideas and thought-forms in either part of the world,
the Great Harmony which is prophesied for us all upon the
morrow would assuredly come today!
'Love is the net of Truth.'
- Abu Said
The rapid evolution in material life seems to have brought
the West to such a pitch that its religion seems lost in
its bigotry and narrow-mindedness. At the same time, its
progress being one-sided, the number of unbelievers has
increased. As well as a few believers there exist many who
are interested in mysticism but are only actuated by ignoble
curiosity while remaining absolutely regardless of faith
or belief, of God or apostle. These are constantly delving
and diving into mysticism and the secrets of phenomena,
which they desire to use in place of more materialistic
media in order to accomplish their worldly ends and aspirations.
I have also found some religious enthusiasts who extol
Christianity as a purely Western faith, forgetting that
Christ himself was from the East, and that the East has
understood and adored him much more than is generally known,
although the Christian Church may not be established everywhere
and the East may worship in other houses of the Lord.
Fain for salvation I would come to Thee,
The guide to cross the forest-wilds of life;
Wilt thou not heed when Passion's robber-band
Would snatch from me Thy Treasure's Trinity?
- Jain Hymn
There seems to be a growing yearning for esoteric studies
in Europe represented by different so-called mystical and
spiritual societies and institutions for mental healing,
but I found most of these to be on a purely commercial basis.
Still, I would not blame them, seeing that the commercial
trend of the age would surely not allow even Christ to preach
as he did formerly. Also, this new awakening has produced
one good result, which must not be overlooked. It has aroused
the interest of the people in something higher than the
world of flesh, and a door is opened in the West to allow
the Eastern winds of divine wisdom to bear its spirit on
towards an ideal end.
But although this wave of thought has created a longing
for the golden paths of mysticism, yet is has in a way degenerated,
owing to its abuse in two directions: the desire to attain
the requirements of daily life through mysticism, and the
placing of the higher aspirations on a lower level.
Among those who are interested in mysticism there are
some who have various objects of gain in view, and thereby,
in the place of the true goal of mysticism, they direct
all their energies to experimenting with phenomena. Some
desire psychic powers, others wish to reach the planets,
some hanker after glorious reincarnations in return for
their virtuous acts. Some depend on spirits to guide them,
and some do not rise above their undeveloped ego. Others
dabble in mysticism out of inquisitiveness, some for a pastime,
others as a profession, and yet others relish the notoriety
their association with the unseen brings to them. I have
met some who never knew what they were seeking, and yet
were inordinately enthusiastic.
With the exception of a few chosen ones of God, who were
inspired by the light and glory of truth, I found great
difficulty in turning the interest of the people from the
objective to the subjective world; in other words from illusion
to stability, and from egoism to self-negation. It was like
steering a ship against the tide. It is the same even in
the East; otherwise every Oriental would be a saint. Still,
the environment and training of the East surely help them
in smoothing the path towards the ideal life.