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Imitating the West
Editor's comment: The world seems to be going back to front. At a time when many Westerners are looking to India for guidance, Indians are becoming ever increas¬ingly enamoured of the Western way of life, with all its shallowness and paucity of moral values. However, Indians' attempts to Westernize themselves have not been very successful. For Westerners, indulgence in degraded sense enjoyment comes naturally. Indians, however, are g simply not meant for grossly sinful living. Indians, despite all attempts, are not and-cannot be the same as esterners.Firstly, the gap in technological sophistication between India and the West is so great that it is doubtful if it will ever be bridged. Also, the spirritual culture and mental outlook of Indians is quite different from that of Westerners. Therefore Indians are unable to become exactly the same as Westerners. Suffering from a massive (but unfounded!) inferiority complex, they have opted for the "next best thing wholesale imitation.Indians simply copy everything Western without, considering whether it is appropriate for them or not. For instance, pants and shirts with shoes and socks may be suitable for the cold climes of the West, but hardly so for the sweltering heat of India. However, modern Indian men prefer the discomfort of unnatural Western dress to the embarrassment of dhoti and kurta.Indians blindly follow the West, without considering that for all its much advertized glamour and "good life," the West has extremely severe social problems. Divorce. Suicide. Sexual perversion. Violence. Crime. Drug abuse. Alcoholism. It may look good on TV, but in reality modern so-called civilization is nasty, mean, unhappy, hollow, and totally devoid of spiritual values. It is a disaster and getting worse.
Westerners have proved themselves to be materially competent, but spiritually, they are nowhere.Thoughtful Westerners are therefore looking to India to help restore the balance between material and spiritual values. Meanwhile, Indians go on adopting Western ideas. They should know that, along with the excitement and apparent enjoyment of Western life, comes a whole package of moral decrepitude. Indian society has enough problems of its own without importing those of the West.Traditionally, Indians were taught to accept whatever position they were in as the grace of God, and thus be satisfied in any condition of life. Modern consumer society teaches one never to be satisfied, even if one has millions of dollars, but always to hanker for more. Which is better, to be happy even in difficulty, or discontent in the midst of plenty?Why are Indians so eager to degrade themselves in the name of modernization ? Do they not consider what a great treasure they are neglecting? The Westerners came to India for looting and did a pretty thorough job. But they didn 't get the greatest treasure of India, her profound I t spiritual culture, until Srila Prabhupada came and gave it to them. Here is what Srila Prabhupada has to say about the imitation process.Indians? They are imitating this material civilization. Horrible.Anyone who has taken birth in India can fulfill the mission of human life. They have got a very good asset. But unfortunately, they have rejected it. They are now enamoured by the glamour of material civilization. Looking to Europe and America, they want skyscraper buildings and industry, and want to be happy in that way. But actually, that is not the way.That is, rather,misleading. The more we advance this material way of life, the more we are away from spiritual life. Human life is meant for spiritual realization. Nothing more.3Our modern Indian leaders are simply imitators of the Westerners. Western people, Western civilization has become the father and mother of India.4The state of India should better follow the example of Maharaja Pariksit, the ideal executive head, than to imitate other materialistic states which have no idea of the kingdom of Godhead, the ultimate goal of human life. Deterioration of the ideals of Indian civilization has brought about the deterioration of civic life, not only in India but also abroad.5
Editor's comment: India's neglect of her own culture has not only resulted in her own decline. The present chaotic condition in the world could have been avoided if Indians had taken up their duty to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world.Indians are meant for paropakdra (welfare activitiesfor others), because outside India they are in darkness.But unfortunately, Indians are now imitating the Western kind of life. It is very regrettable.6
Editor's comment: Srila Prabhupada once told the story of a brahmana who, being very hungry and finding no other means, begged food from the house of a Muslim. The Muslim fed him, but when the brahmana asked for more, his host regretfully replied that he had nothing more to give. "Oh," lamented the brahmana, "I have lost my caste and I am still hungry!" Similarly, India, being hungry for Western-style achievements, has given up her own culture. However, she has not been able to develop as opulently as the Western countries. She is therefore like the brahmana who lost his caste but was still hungry.