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The vigour which India once showed in the realms of philosophy and mysticism has vanished. Even the fervour with which it is still pursuing religion has become mechanical and made-to-order. For it is passing through a phase in its evolution which Europe passed through a few hundred years ago. Philosophy, mysticism, and religion flourished triumphantly in the leading European countries during the medieval period but broke down and have largely passed away in influence and power and prestige under the impact of the spread of modern knowledge and the application of rationalistic science and inventive technology to life. India today is going through precisely the same phase that Europe has already travelled. The half-feudal structure of society is collapsing. The prestige of priests and mystics is tottering. Political changes and economic needs are delivering heavy blows to the ancient ideas which once supported India so well but which have become misfits in the new world of the twentieth century. The notion that India is and will ever remain "spiritual" is an illusion that is being exploded before our eyes. Her fate is driving her to take the same road that medieval Europe was driven to take. She will enter increasingly on the development of rational outlook and material civilization, with the consequent rejection of superstitious belief and post-death paradises. But she will not travel so foolishly far along this road as did the West. For the influence of her whole tradition, the atmosphere of her whole environment, and the warning voices of her living leaders will combine to check her from becoming unbalanced. She will pause and note the woe and destruction that has fallen on ruined Europe and she will ask: "Is this to be the end of the new road?" She will pull herself up in time.


-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 2: India > # 203






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