In order to distinguish East from West, it is natural that I shall give the points where they differ. Now the points that differ, if we thought about them more, we shall say the same thing as the great English poet has said, that: "East is East, and West is West, and they can never meet." I should like to first give those points which prove his saying true. The idea is that the people in the East, in all ages, had one object in view, and that object was to get in touch with the deeper side of life. Some came sooner to that point, some later; some had to struggle along, and for some it was easy. But, naturally, to the wise and foolish with the outer world there was less contact.

          By this I do not mean to say that there are not people who love wealth and all that belongs to the earth. There are earth worshippers in all places, and there are hell worshippers in all places. It is just talking about the generality. Now, for instance, if you go among the most learned people in the East, they will show their great learning and knowledge about things, about silence and about art, but at the same time you will find it is all to gain the knowledge of the deeper side of life. You can see an artist there, you can talk to him; you can find that in any work he is doing, you can see that his whole motive is to gain the deeper side of life.

          In the same way, the politicians and warriors of that time, their minds were always attached to the same idea. For instance, we have before us the history of the prophet Mohammed; a prophet, who was not only a mystic, but a general of his army, and a statesman. He was the first in the history of the Orientals who made a constitutional government in Mecca, the first constitutional government in the world. Those who formed the first parliament in Medina, that group was called Madina and every man and every woman in the city had the right to vote in that parliament.

          Remember, it is now fifteen hundred years ago. Besides, as to policy, Mohammed was born in Mecca and was three times exiled from his place, because he was giving his people the new ideas of religion, which was not agreeable to his people. There were people who killed his disciples and made every kind of difficulty; and all sorts of sufferings were thrown upon him. There comes a time that he has a large number of disciples, when he says, "Shall I again go to my motherland?  I want to go again and give the Message which I have tried to give." They said, "Prophet, we shall come with you, and we shall give our lives in the Cause and we shall see that your Message is in the same land where they have insulted you and three times you have been thrown out."

          Mohammed went with his army of disciples, not for invasion, but to give the Message. But hearing that he came with an army, they prepared an army and there was a battle. In the end, Mohammed was victorious and entered Mecca. When he entered, the whole government, all the leaders, surrendered, and those people were brought before him. He asked, "What treatment do you expect from me?" "What treatment could we expect," they said, "except the fitting treatment which would come from the prophet of God?" And the answer was, "Yes, the same treatment will be given to you; all you have done to me and to my people, I have forgiven." He turned to his army and said, "Have you come for territorial ambition?" "Not in the least," said the warriors, "for the Truth and for the Ideal." "Do you then not wish any money from these men?" "No," said the warriors to the Prophet. "Then what do you want?" They said, "We have come, we have followed you to your country, but we want you." The Prophet said, "Yes, they will take my Message, but I will go with you." After all that war and bloodshed, what did the Prophet do? He left the Koran and gave the principles, left for Medina and died.

The brotherhood between the people of Mecca and Medina that was founded then still exists now; and if today you saw the effect of that teaching in the most ordinary working man in the desert, you would simply be surprised! Arabs, as a rule, are ready to fight, and it takes them not a single moment to take their knives and grab each other's necks. But in such a furious and angry race as that, when two Arabs are fighting together and if a third person says, "forgive one another," or "love one another in the name of the Prophet," they throw down their knives and shake hands. Just on hearing that, no longer do they continue their grudge or complaint; they do not judge one another. As soon as forgiveness has come, it is finished.


          I have very often seen a domestic servant, a person who has never had an education, who does not know how to write his name. As soon as you begin to touch his sentiment and his heart, the worthlessness of the material life is known to him as much perhaps as to a great philosopher. He will talk to you on philosophy, perhaps for an hour, and from his deepest sentiment, with a full understanding of the worthlessness of this four days’ life on the earth. It does not mean that the East did not make a particular progress in material things. Because if one takes, for instance, the science of medicine, the books of Ibn Sina gives a proof that made a foundation for the whole world.

          Today I know one of my friends, a doctor in England, who has studied Ibn Sina, and who has found out that the outline of medicine was made by him, which was first introduced in Spain. Besides, music; the music of the Vedas was not only a music, but a psychological expression of sound and rhythm.  And therefore, it was not only a music, but it was also a mystery for life and a help; a science so perfectly formed that not only for the worldly things it was useful, but for the meditative purpose the music became the most essential part in religious things. Now, today a man comes and tells the world about the repetition of a word which cures people from illnesses.

          The scientific and unscientific world seems to be moving about, and says, "What is this? It seems such a new thing?" If the same man happens to go to the East, every man in the poorest house will say, "We have known that, we are doing that everyday. We know what the power of the word means." They will not be able to give a definition, for that one must ask a learned man. In the form of Vedanta, religion was a science that has always existed, only it was not given to the world in an alphabetical manner; someone with an alphabetical science tells it and it astonishes everyone.

          Now coming to the Western world. In the first place, a race which came from the ancient Aryan sources; in a country where they had the difficulties of climate, great responsibilities; it naturally made them more active, and being active, activity with the things of matter, gave them that communication with matter, the result of which is a phenomenon. All these inventions, that we see today, are no less than a phenomenon - a miracle. But this miracle has come from a communication with things of the earth; and as the product of things of the earth, is as visible and tangible as the earth. For instance, if a father has two sons, and one son is producing; one day he makes a rattle, another day a bicycle, a third day an aeroplane. He has something to show his father and says, "Look here, I have made something, look!" Another one is sitting, one hand upon the other hand, and perhaps, in his character, thoughts, feelings, developing something; but he has nothing to show. It is something developing in himself, which he himself cannot define very well; nor can others see it. Therefore, it is natural that progress made in the objective line is visible and tangible; in a progress in the spiritual line, it is difficult to see how far one has reached.

          However, with all these differences human nature is the same. Those who have developed in their thought, in their feelings, they are not only in the East, there are many of them to be found in the West also. Besides, those who have a material inclination and produce something from the matter, they are not only in the West, they are in the East also. But in the West, there is a scope to bring it out; what one has invented, what one has found out. But in the East, there is no scope to bring it about and in this way the difficulty arises. Nevertheless, the East and West both have their actions directed in two different poles.

          The material progress of the East has been hindered by one thing, which is the climate - a climate which makes the whole day useless. One would rather sit and dream than be active and work. That also makes a difference in inclinations. Besides that, very much of the Western progress is due to the uniformity of the people, and the backwardness of the East, in that line of progress is the lack of uniformity. Every man in the East has his individual progress, and whenever there is individualistic progress, it is a very free progress, but at the same time a progress which is not recognized by the ones who do not understand individualistic progress.

          I mean, if a scientist comes with a new invention which is not understood by another scientist, he will certainly oppose him. Therefore, every intelligent person in the East, whenever he progresses in his own line, has a great opposition to meet with and no one he finds who can perfectly understand him. But in the West, it is the contrary. There are academies and associations, and people who understand things; there are people to understand and encourage. No doubt, uniformity pulls people back from that progress which comes from individualistic progress.

          Nevertheless, the idea is this, that now the time has come when, owing to the ships and trains and all the different communications, the East and West have been brought together. This brings us to a great hope, that East and West, which depend for their progress upon their mutual exchange and understanding, will soon come to unite. In industry, in politics, in all things, they can unite and benefit from each other. But the greatest benefit that can come from the meeting of East and West together, is by the interchange of thought and ideal, in order to meet in that light which is the light of intelligence and which is divine in nature.

          The Sufi Movement has directed all its efforts that the East may be able to appreciate all that is good and worthwhile in the West, and that the West may understand and sympathize with all that is worth understanding and sympathizing with in the East. Words cannot explain to what extent the world will become benefited once that idea is realized. Because, just now, the East working in its own way and the West working in its own way, is like working with one eye and the other eye closed. It is in the unity of East and West that the vision will become complete; and in this conception, the great disasters and troubles, which have kept the world in a kind of uneasiness, will be rooted out. And by the unity of East and West in wisdom, there is a real peace to be anticipated.