"It is this vision of a cosmic unity, in which human beings and nature are sustained by an all-pervading spirit, which the West needs to learn from the East. It is this that explains the extraordinary sacredness which attaches to every created thing in India. The earth is sacred, and no plowing or sowing or reaping can take place without some religious rite. Eating is a sacred action, and every meal is conceived as a sacrifice to God. Water is sacred, and no religious Hindu will take a bath without invoking the sacred power of the water, which descends from heaven and, caught on the head of Shiva, is distributed in the fertilizing streams of the Ganges and other rivers. Air is sacred, the breath of life which comes from God and sustains all living creatures. Fire is sacred, especially in its source in the sun, which brings light and life to all creatures. So also with plants and trees, especially certain plants like the tulsi plant and certain trees like the banyan. Animals are sacred, especially the cow, which gives her milk as a mother, but also the elephant, the monkey, and the snake. Finally, the human person is sacred . . . a manifestation of God, but especially a holy person, in whom the divine presence can be more clearly seen.
"This is the sacred universe, in which humanity has lived as far as we know from the beginning of history, and which has been completely demolished by the Western, scientific world. Every trace of sacredness has been removed from life, so that 'Western man' finds himself in a universe in which both human existence and nature have been deprived of any ultimate meaning."