“Until recent times the dominating thought in Europe has been that ancient Greece is the cradle of philosophy. When it came to a more serious and studious investigation of culture’s orientation, in the mid 19th century and the onset of the 20th, this thinking changed. More and more researchers see primeval philosophy in India.
Bishop Nikolai was assured of the same. He even respected Eastern philosophy much more than Western. He believed that the East has certain predispositions for philosophy, while the West for science.
India is the mother of all philosophies (Beyond the East and West, 802). Transcendence is a characteristic of the East, naturalism of the West (ibid, 759). The West fights for the visible (science), the East for the invisible (philosophy) (ibid, 808). The East has Saints and wise men (philosophers), the West has researchers (scientists) and conquerors (ibid, 808). The East yearns for an escape from the world, the West for a subordination to the world (ibid, 809). The West is the land of science, the East of philosophy (ibid, 800). “Neither is the East for science, nor the West for philosophy” (ibid, 801). Nikolaj is drawn to the Indian thought of philosophy because, first of all, it is firmly connected with life, in which truth and good are inseparable. That philosophy always implies asceticism and a virtuous life, which is the not the case with the West.
“All Indian philosophers are ascetics” (ibid, 802), he says. They are considered “saints” there (ibid, 802). Eastern philosophers are saints, while the Western are professors (ibid, 802). And the space between saints and professors is greater than the distance the East is from the West (ibid, 802).”