East and West Need Each Other

From Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, Chapter 49. In writing of the challenges he had faced in bringing the science of yoga to the West, Yogananda wrote:

 I thought, then, of all the faithful ones, of the love and devotion and understanding that illuminates the heart of America. With slow emphasis I went on: “But my answer is yes, I thousand times yes! It has been worthwhile, more than I ever dreamed, to see East and West  brought closer in the only lasting bond, the spiritual.”

The great masters of India who have shown interest in the West have well understood modern conditions. They know that, until there is better assimilation in all nations of the distinctive Eastern and Western virtues, world affairs cannot improve. Each hemisphere needs the best offerings of the other.

In the course of world travel I have sadly observed much suffering: in the Orient, suffering chiefly on the material plane; in the Occident, misery chiefly on the mental or spiritual plane. All nations feel the painful effects of unbalanced civilizations. India and many other Eastern nations can greatly benefit from emulation of the practical grasp of affairs, the material efficiency, of Western nations like America. The Occidental peoples, on the other hand, require a deeper understanding of the spiritual basis of life, and particularly of scientific techniques that India anciently developed for man’s conscious communion with God.

Later in the same chapter, Yogananda writes:

The Hindu scriptures teach that man is attracted to this particular earth to learn…the infinite ways in which the Spirit may be expressed through, and dominant over, material conditions.

Together we are wiser, more balanced and compassionate, and more clearly one with the Divine than we can ever be apart.

May Divine Love guide us into the eternal beauty of Oneness birthed from the Unity of all that is loving and compassionate in our glorious Diversity.


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