Message of Peace

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

All the problems facing mankind today hinge around peace. Given the secret of securing peace, man will be able to build up a sane civilization, a prosperous society, happy homes and intelligent individuals.

Groping blindfold in the dark, man relies on a series of destructive media – the atomic bomb and the most 'effective' way of using it and the hateful ideologies of self-aggrandizement, of economic monopoly, national glory and individual power.

The 'peace' that prevails today is the peace of fear and the peace of preparation. Ignoring the sincere advice of men of wisdom, the nations of the world are intent on demonstrating their destructive strength. In that way lies war, not peace.

There is restlessness everywhere. Selfishness, greed, wrath and lust are playing havoc. Fights, skirmishes and petty quarrels are polluting the atmosphere and creating discord, disharmony and unrest. Side by side, peace movements are working silently to bring concord, harmony and peace, to eradicate dire ignorance, the root cause of human suffering, and to infuse devotion into the hearts of the people. Mysterious is the universe. Still more mysterious is the silent working of the unseen God who prompts passionate people, on one side, to create discord and the pure people, on the other side, to start peace centres in order to bring peace to the suffering humanity at large.

Peace is absolute serenity and tranquillity, wherein all the mental modifications, thoughts, imagination, whims, fancy moods, impulses, emotions, instincts, etc., cease entirely and the individual soul rests in its own native, pristine glory in an unruffled state. It is not, of course, the temporary condition of mental quietude which worldly people seek when they retire to a solitary bungalow in a forest for a little rest, when they are tired after a long journey. Peace is the fourth condition of super consciousness. Peace is the realm of infinite bliss, eternal life and eternal sunshine, where cares, worries, anxieties and fears which torment the soul here dare not enter; where all distinctions of caste, creed and colour disappear in the warm embrace of divine love and where desires and cravings find their full satiety. Peace is eternal life in the spirit, pure consciousness or the supreme Self.

Peace is not an external object. Peace is not in accumulation of wealth. Peace is not in erudition. Shanti or peace is in that man who has given up mine-ness and I-ness, who has given up trishnas (desires, longing for objects). That man alone will have peace. Peace is not in a dark bungalow. Peace can only be had by he who has vairagya, who has understood the magnitude of human sufferings here, who knows the real value of the world composed of the five elements, colours and sounds, who has understood the worthlessness of perishable objects and passing power and position in this world and has no desire for them. The world is nothing for a man of vichara. He who has found out the real worth of this world, who yearns for liberation, who has understood that beyond the names and forms there is one eternal, everlasting Atman or Brahman and who practises self-discipline, alone can have peace. Such a man is king of kings, atmasamrat, not he who is simply carried away by a little colour, by a little touch, by a little nervous titillation. He who has not got viveka and vairagya, who does not discriminate between the eternal and the non-eternal, between the real and the unreal, is always miserable.

To a man of vichara the world is nothing more than a little bit of titillation of the nerves. Therefore, develop vichara, viveka and vairagya. Vairagya is a mental state. That man who has vairagya is the strongest man. He has inner spiritual strength, born of dispassion. He is the most peaceful man. Vairagya is the real spiritual wealth because it opens the door of intuition, the door of Brahman, where you will get eternal sunshine, everlasting peace and bliss, whose nature is satyam, jnanam, anandam, chidghana, vijnanaghana, anandaghana.

All over the world, conferences are being held for bringing about universal peace, universal brotherhood, and universal religion. It is the vanity of man that goads him to reform society without first reforming himself. Vanity rules the world, and when two vain people meet there is friction and quarrelling.

Everyone will have to proceed along the path that is best suited to their temperament. The Lord emphatically declares in the Gita, “Do not unsettle anyone's belief.” In the name of religious reform there is much tall-talk, vain discussion and quarrelling in the world today. There have been so many 'isms'. Now they want to add one more 'ism' – universalism! Thereby, you will only bring into being one more fighting element.

When the fundamentals of all religions are one and the same, where is the need of a new religion named universalism? What is needed is proper education of the followers of all religions. You should create the proper religious outlook in all. Everyone should be encouraged to practise their own religions and strive to attain the goal and not interfere with other people's beliefs. This is the true universalism. To the reformers we should say, “Physician, heal thyself!”

The world is composed of three gunas. Sattwa, rajas and tamas will always remain and play their part so long as creation lasts. So many reformers have come and gone. Great avatars like Jesus Christ, Lord Mohammed, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha and others have left indelible impressions, no doubt, but of the millions of other reformers no one knows anything. We still adore the glorious sages of realization but the reformers who made so much noise in their own lifetime are quickly forgotten.

It is useless to talk of abolition of war when you are all full of petty jealousy and hatred. Remove your discordant, inharmonious vibrations first, then there will be no more war between one nation and another. Individuals joined constitute a nation. When disharmony arises in the heart of man, it infects the household first and gradually spreads to the society and then the nation and then the world at large. No amount of readjustment of the political set-ups will bring permanent peace. Even where these are necessary, they should spring from the heart of man, for the sake of humanity.

Lead an ideal life of peace. Kill ruthlessly all suspicion, prejudice of all sorts, envy, jealousy, selfishness, greed for power and possessions. Lead a simple life. Practise meditation daily and establish peace in your own heart. If every one of you makes it a point to devote one hour a day in meditation to the projection of peace-thoughts, there will be thousands of other people doing the same thing every day and the total effect of such combined thought projection will be inestimable. Not only will there be the individual force of every such person acting in cooperation but also additional strength will be received from unseen helpers, the ever-present Masters, the Videhas, who silently guide all from the higher realms and make them pursue the right path. They are the great beings who enter into the intellect and emotions of every good and pious person and use the person as an instrument for serving mankind.

Will you not, therefore, now make this one resolve of devoting at least one hour of every day to projecting thoughts of peace so that the present troubles and turmoil of the world may cease? This is a simple thing that you can do – yet the response from the Almighty and His agents will be of great value.

Reformers should reform themselves. They should practise before they preach. They should realize God themselves. They should be peaceful and they should find peace within themselves; then they can radiate peace and unity everywhere. They need not even talk; their very presence will inspire people – in their very presence people will enjoy peace and harmony.

The aim of all nations, therefore, should be to direct their power towards the transformation of the hearts of the people, from the sub-human and weak human nature into the highly human and divine natures through right government, right education and insistence on right living based on perfect truth, not merely relative but absolute. This shall effect the great renaissance of healthy and peaceful life on Earth, and also the eternal life, transcending earthly life.

Make your own individual appeal to God and ask Him to send light to help humanity in the establishment of peace and promotion of happiness.

May there be peace, prosperity and amity all over the world. May the Lord bless you all with peace, plenty and spiritual illumination.