Table of Contents
India has been a torch-bearer of culture and civilization from times immemorial. The East has been the home of all prophets and the cradle of all religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity. Judaism, etc.- all were born in the East, though they shed light over the whole globe.
Thus the East stands for religion, for spiritualism, for love of humanity and fellow-feeling, for sacrifice and renunciation, for peace and Panchsheel while the West stands for science, for materialism, for hatred and war
“Energy, intolerance and abstract intellect have always distinguished the best periods in Europe from the period in the East,” was Bertrand Russell. To the West the material World is the be all and end all of life; to the East life beyond death, the otherworldliness counts much.
The Vedas and the Upanishads are the earliest extant scriptures and books on spiritual philosophy in the history of the world. Mysticism, Bhakti, Yoga, Renunciation are the hallmarks of India culture. Vedantism and cult of the forest are its highlights, they aim at seeking communion of the soul with the Divine soul and revealing external truths to solve the mysteries of life and death.
“Spiritualism in the breath of our nostrils, religion is our soul and philosophy is in our blood,” says a philosopher. The Holy Gita is the epitome of all that is great and glorious in our culture. Its highest teaching is, “Do your duty and leave the reward to God.” Even in the days of science and materialism, the tradition of peace, love and spiritualism is not lost. India has never lost its soul.
There is unity in diversity in Indian Culture: there is the belief in truth non-violence, tolerance and empathy; there are the amazing continuity and even vitality of Indian culture.
The excavations of old cities of Mohenjodaro and Taxila and Harappa bear testimony to the above facts; the greatness of Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru is unquestioned.
Indian tradition has been to look upon all humanity as one entity, to believe in the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God, belief in cosmopolitanism, internationalism, one-world state because mankind is one.
In the words of philosopher Will Durant,
“India is the motherland of our race and Sanskrit, the mother of Europe’s languages. She was the mother of our philosophy; mother through the Arabs of much of our Mathematics; mother through Buddha of much of the ideas embodied in our Christianity; mother through the village-community of self-government and democracy. India is in many ways the mother to us all.”Will Durant
We have inherited great moral and spiritual values compared with which the materialistic progress of the West is insignificant. The West has made wonderful progress both materially and economically, scientifically and technologically.
There is also an artistic aspect of our cultural heritage. We have had a proud tradition of such arts like music, dancing, sculpture, drama, architecture, etc. For instance, Ajanta and Mohenjodaro, the temples in the South, the cave of Amarnath in the north etc.