Interview About Peace
Prem Rawat Answers Questions About Peace
We live in a world at war. Is it realistic to hope for world peace?
When I was a child, I used to be enamored with the idea of "world peace," and it was a great thought to have. Then, as I started traveling throughout the world and meeting people, I realized there was no such thing. In all these years, I have never come across anything tangible that I could call the world. It is not the world that needs to be fixed; it is people. When people are at peace within, there will be world peace. Right now, people are fascinated by war.
Why is it that people create war?
War begins with denial. One group decides that their cause is greater and that the other group's cause does not exist. Causes become greater, and human beings are reduced to nothing.
People fight because they give more legitimacy to their causes than to human life. In their rationalizations, they have diminished the value of human life. The first time someone came up with the idea that a cause was greater than human life, the balance was upset, and it has continued to get worse. Human beings will fight when they do not understand what life is all about, because in wars we squander life. War does not exist only on the battlefield. At home, without a war, we squander life.
Many humanists, philosophers, and world leaders have expressed that war starts within the minds of people. Would you agree with that?
World war can seem tame compared to the battle that rages within a human being. Lifetimes are destroyed in this battle; precious moments are sacrificed; total decimation can take place. The fight within is the biggest battle. We need to be at peace with ourselves because on our own battlefield the "I" is being decimated.
The unrest within keeps us from finding true peace. As long as there is no peace within, there will always be war outside. The unrest of the body surely brings misery, but the misery that comes from the unrest of the heart is far worse. It has to be the most miserable thing there is. And yet, the heart has been enduring it for a long, long time.
How is it that we, as individuals, lose peace?
Each one of us has an invisible thief that follows us wherever we go. What does the thief do? He robs us. Neither doors, nor locks, nor alarms can stop him. This thief does not take money or clothes. He robs us of the most valuable assets we have. He robs us of joy, peace, contentment. He robs us of understanding. He robs us of all those things that are much more important than anything else.
When we say, "I want peace in my life, but … I will pursue it later," we give permission to this invisible thief to come in. This is his signal. All he has to hear is, "Not now," and the thief says, "Here is someone I can rob, because he is not protecting his most valuable asset. He is squandering it. He is throwing it away." And in that moment, we are robbed of what is most important to us.
Does everyone have an innate desire to seek and experience peace?
Within everyone there is something that yearns for peace. In times of total chaos, there is a yearning for peace. When there is mistrust, there is a yearning for trust. When we are in pain, something within seeks a glimmer of hope, of relief.
A human being needs love - to love and to feel love. The question is, what is going to be the source of that love? A human being needs to trust, but what is going to be the source of that trust? What can be trusted that is trustworthy, that will provide the support that is needed in one's life? Similarly, there is no doubt that a human being needs peace. In fact, there is very little anyone can do about that. This is a thirst that is innate to all human beings. The question is, what is going to be the source of that peace?
How does one come to understand the peace you are speaking of?
Peace is not necessary in the mind; it is necessary in the heart. The mind and intellect cannot capture peace. They have a different function.
Peace, joy, and true happiness are not subjects for thought. They can only be felt. There is a feeling behind being alive. There are no explanations for it. It is the feeling that one has to get to - because that is where there is comfort, that is where there is joy, that is where there is satisfaction. It is in that feeling that we need to live our lives. Somehow, we think that we need an explanation of what peace is, but peace cannot be explained; it can only be felt.
Fulfillment needs to be felt. When we are fulfilled, something inside of us says, "Yes, I am fulfilled." For a thirsty person, not even a thousand pictures of other people drinking water will do any good. Only drinking water will do.
Where can peace be found?
It is within every individual. And it is up to each individual to say, "I want peace in my life." Societies do not have peace. Societies do not exist; governments do not exist - just people. Peace is a simple thing. It can be felt by the individual. When we forget the meaning of being at peace and only grab onto formulas for creating peace, we have problems.
What I am talking about is peace within - my peace - not peace outside. Many people think peace will come when they control every single element in their lives. That will not happen. That is not within their reach. It is not within anyone's reach to understand or control everything. All I can do is to understand me.
Look for peace inside. Even if all the other wars end, as long as the war within us is still raging on, we will not be in peace. If we are at peace with ourselves, then we will have that peace, no matter what outer war is going on.
There is a smile that nothing can take away. This smile comes from such a deep place of peace and celebration that nothing in this world can take it away. That is the smile each one of us can smile. The peace that resides in this place, in the heart, is the only peace that will do.
In a world at war, is inner peace possible?
There is a symphony playing inside. We can awaken to that possibility. That's all it is - a possibility. It is possible to be fulfilled, to be in peace within. It is possible to understand the value of each breath, to acknowledge the yearning for life. It is possible to turn pain into gratitude, doubt into knowing. It is possible to turn all the questions into one answer. One answer. What kind of answer? The one answer that does not have a question.
How can a person help peace manifest in their life?
Peace within is not something that can be created or invented. It is a process of unveiling the peace that already exists. It is more a matter of reduction. Eliminate everything else, and peace will be there because it is already there in all of us. When does joy come? When we stop doing all the other things that we do, we feel joy because joy is inherently inside of us. Peace and joy are inherently inside, and when we try to create them, we get further removed from them.
What kind of peace do you help people find?
Finding peace inside without any catalysts - finding just you - is what I offer. Nothing else. A lot of people expect that finding peace will make them a complete human being. Not so. Each of us is already a complete human being. We could not be more complete. Nothing can be done to embellish a human being. In the most agitated person, I have seen peace. In the most hateful person, I have seen love.
When we are in that real place, when there is contentment, then there is peace, then there is joy. That needs to be accepted. I help people understand that there is hope and that there is a bigger purpose in life than all the mundane things we find ourselves caught up in. I tell people that the answer to the need they have felt in their lives has always been inside. If they are looking for peace, the place to look for it is inside.
This "inside" is where I can help. I show people how to turn inside and find peace within. Without that, what I say would be philosophy. It would be meaningless - a lot of good words, but meaningless. What I offer is a practical way to be in peace within.
This is an opportunity. This is a gift. It cannot be bought or sold. I am not saying I am a prophet, or I am this, or I am that. But if you want peace in your heart, if you want joy in your heart, I offer a tool to go inside, to connect, and to feel.
I have the gift, the privilege, to be able to offer this possibility to feel tranquility, joy, peace. It does not matter what you call it. It cannot be labeled. Call it simple. Simple is best. Each human being has the gift of being able to feel that peace.
Tell us more about peace.
When a human being truly realizes that there is an absence of truth and happiness in his life, an absence of peace, then a fire comes from within. A real fire to find peace burns for that person from the heart, not from the head. That person starts to search.
Look for the thirst. It is the thirst within that propels us in the right direction. That is what we need - the rediscovery of the passion for joy. Let that be the driving force.
When this life feels full, when this breath is not being thrown away, kindness begins to manifest. Kindness is the outpouring of a heart filled with joy. That is when peace comes into our lives. That is when we begin to find the resolution to our problems. It is not that our problems are resolved, but that we find within a simplicity that is magnificent.