No Time for Quarrels

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Nowadays people are unnecessarily worried about the world. They make much of this little world. Study Yoga Vasishtha and you will understand that this Earth is but an infinitesimal speck of dust compared to the Infinite Satchidananda. Study Mandukyopanishad Karika of Gaudapada. Gaudapada has been a little more liberal; he has compared the Earth to the footprint of a calf. And, yet, how many divisions we find in it! How many nations, how many sections and factions! Where is Hindustan, where is Pakistan, where is Germany, where is America, in this speck of dust?

For a man of vichara there are no boundaries at all in this world. These are all man-made boundaries. The Earth is one. Divisions are created by man. Each man wants to display his vanity! Each man wants to rule others. Lust for power is at the root of all the wars. A mere idea, a mere vibration in the air, an illusory tempting bait of name and fame – they are at the bottom of all wars.

Boundaries have been changed times without number. Has the world got peace now? Every leader thinks that he has got world peace in his pocket. When he pulls out, you findthat it is a fresh move for war. Vedanta alone can unite the world. Vedanta is not the monopoly of Hindus. You can findthe truths of Vedanta are echoed in all the scriptures of all the religions of the world. Vedanta teaches you the religion of oneness. It is a religion of the heart. It is the religion of love.

Only if everyone practises this religion of love can there be peace in the world. No political ‘ism’ can ever solve the problem, and bring about peace. When autocratic monarchs ruled over the nations, people thought that democracy would shower peace, plenty and prosperity upon Earth. They dethroned the kings. Democracy also failed to yield the fruit of peace. Some people tried totalitarianism, socialism, communism – so many ‘isms’. Each man thought that his reform should start with the individual. Then society would reform by itself. No ‘ism’ can bring any change overnight.

What vanity! And each new ‘ism’ created only more problems and more quarrels.

Reform should start with the individual

So also in the case of social reform. Self-styled enlightened men started interfering with the customs and manners of people, in an effort to ‘civilize’ them. The people lost their old moorings, and the reformers could not offer new sound ones. Masses of people drifted away into chaos. How can blind men lead other blind men? You must firstacquire the supreme knowledge of the Reality. Then and then alone can you lead another on the right path.

This world is impermanent. Man’s life here is still more fleeting. Even a thousand years is nothing compared to eternity; what to say of even a full lifespan of hundred years. People are merely wasting their life in worthless pursuits of political and social reform. Days, months and years are quietly slipping away. Death will snatch them away unawares. Beware.

Reform yourself. Society will reform itself. Get worldliness out of your heart. The world will take care of itself. Remove the world out of your mind, the world will be peaceful. That is the only solution. This is not pessimism. This is glorious optimism.

This is not escapism. It is the only way to face the situation. If each man tries to work out his own salvation, there will be nobody to create the problems! If each man strives heart and soul to practise religion, to do sadhana and to attain God realization, he will have very little inclination and very little time to create quarrels. Automatically there will be peace on Earth.

People will try to vie with each other in the cultivation of virtues. Imagine what a divine society they will form! Each man will have his own method of approach to the problem of life, but he will be content to work his own way up on the ladder of evolution. Each man will have his own idea of God; but he will be content to worship this God and attain Him. All boundaries will disappear as mysteriously as they appeared! All ’isms’ will vanish into the mind of the people whence they originated.

—From Sivananda’s Lectures, During All India and Ceylon Tour – 1950, chronicler Swami Venkatesananda, Address given on 29th October 1950, Dainik Jeevan Chaitanya Prabha Mandali, Mumbai