The Ideals of East & West

The Ideals of East & West

The Ideals of East & West

The Ideals of East & West

Excerpt

"Men are alike in nature--sundered by custom."

This little book does not aim at completeness or claim originality. Undertaken at the suggestion of His Highness the Maharaja Gaekwar of Baroda its aim is to be useful in an age of transition, when ethical ideals, like everything else which has come down to us, are being tried and tested. "What is likely to elevate conduct should be perpetuated", said the great Chinese altruist Mo-tse in the sixth century before Christ, and there are things in the traditional ethical systems which cannot be shaken, for they are rooted in the nature of man, and come like that from the hand of God.

Not only in the parallels and similarities between these great systems but in the contrasts which emerge from a comparative study is there useful matter for thought and conduct. For while human nature may develop along similar lines, and the truth which each nation finds come closer to that of other nations as each comes closer to the centre of truth, yet we shall find a marked difference between these ideals, each of which has been moulded and shaped by its environment.

I have therefore given some account of the context of each developing system as well as a brief anthology. And in these I have sought to bring out not only the high peaks reached by each people but the lower levels through which they have struggled, and at which the masses have often remained. "Not only from the garden of the cultivated but from the common fields of the people", not only from their great classic teachers but from proverbial wisdom and songs. For a double process is always at work. Not only do the fertilizing rivers pour down from the great mountain peaks; these mountains themselves draw their snows from the mists of the plains. So great classical teachers have returned to the people their own popular ideals sub-

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