With all the faculties bestowed upon human beings, you’d think they are the most harmonious beings on earth. But if you look at the history until now, the world has never really been peaceful. People have been fighting for food, people have fought over boundaries, and people have fought on their faith, their belief systems.
People have fought for wealth; people have been and are still fighting for their gods. We have always found an excuse to fight. We need to understand this, the way human beings are right now, if you take away one strife in the world, another is bound to evolve.
When World War II ended in 1944, many nations around the world vowed never again to fight; they said never again are we going to create this horror on the planet. Over 50 million people had died. They said this is enough.
But in reality, since 1944 to this day, there has not been a single day’s break in fighting around the world. Somewhere, or the other some battle or the other has been going on without a single day’s break. So this is a clear manifestation, a clear declaration by human beings, that the way we are right now, we are incapable of being peaceful.
We need to understand this– the world is not a globe. The world is its people. If we do not work for individual transformation, if we do not look for ways of making the individual peaceful, talking about world peace is just one more entertainment in the world.
Without attending to individual human beings, trying to bring about any kind of change in the world, always leads to more problems.
If you look back on the great revolutions on the planet, generally what happened during these revolutions was much more horrible than the situations which existed before them.
Most of the time all that we achieved was that we replaced one tyrant with another set of tyrants. But as far as individual human beings were concerned, within themselves, there was no basic change in their experience of life. From all this, it should have been clear to us that if there are no peaceful human beings, there is no peaceful world.
Now, if we look at the situation we are setting up right now in the world, we have laid foundations to ensure that there is no peace on this planet. There are various aspects to it. One important aspect is that we are making economics the most important part of human life.
In today’s world, your love is not important; your joy is not important; your freedom is not important; your sensibilities are not important; your music and dance are not important; the most important thing is economics.
Once you make economics the most important thing, fighting is inevitable. As the resources on the planet are limited, with our lives being driven by the engine of economics, war is inevitable; peace is impossible.
Today in any city, if you say someone is a big man, it does not mean he is the most intelligent man. It does not mean he is the most loving man or the most skilful man, neither does it mean he is the most meditative man at all. It simply means he has got the maximum amount of money in the town.
So our whole orientation has become economics. Unless the subtle aspects of life become imperative, peace is just a dream. I would prefer that people stop talking about it.
We are doing this with our education as well. Who are we teaching our children to remember? Alexanders, Ghengis Khans and Adolf Hitlers. So much attention is given to these people that you can forget Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha, but not them.
They even called Alexander, Alexander the great! I would like to add a third name to him — Alexander, the great idiot, because he was one person who wasted life– his life and other people’s life, like nobody else.
At the age of 16, he started fighting. For another 16 years, he fought non-stop, killing thousands of people on his way. He died at the age of 32, in the most miserable condition because he had managed to conquer only one-half of the world, the other half was still left. Only an utter idiot can fight for 16 years like this.
But someone like Gautama Buddha is only a footnote in our history books. We read about Gautama not because he was Buddha, but because he was a king. His name was mentioned not because he was a realised being, not because of forty years incessantly working for human well-being.
He was so much more intense than Alexander in transforming human lives, but we have forgotten him. For 16 years of slaughtering people, our children remember Alexander as 'great'.
In pursuit of our economic wellbeing, the volume of violence that we have imposed on every other creature on this planet is unspeakable. Don’t think of violence as just killing another human being. Any destruction of life, beyond the need for one’s survival, is violence.
If you look at it that way, today societies are filled with enormous amounts of violence; our very existence is violence.
It will take us a thousand years to understand that the violence that we impose upon other creatures on the planet, whether it be a plant or a worm or an insect or any other animal, it is going to have an impact on our lives. It takes us a thousand years to realise this, unfortunately.
If you do not allow this energy which you call as life right now to find its expression, it naturally tries to find its way out in violent ways. If you look around the world today, you will see almost everything is becoming violent.
Our music is becoming violent, our dance is becoming violent, our culture is becoming violent. Just the very way we move, just the very way we do things in our lives is becoming violent. Once in a way it is bound to spill over on the street.
You should not be surprised that it is spilling over onto the streets. You look at yourself as an individual and see, how many moments in a day you can’t stand the person who is sitting next to you. You trying to hold yourself back is going to work only for a certain period– somewhere it is bound to explode.
Right now the world community is sitting on a disastrous foundation. Peace is something that these people have not even tasted in themselves. What right do we have to expect it in the social and world situations? Unless we are willing to work to change the foundations on which the world community is built, peace is not a possibility.
Another big reason why the world is perpetually flooded with conflicts is that our religions have failed us completely. The moment man became religious it should have been the end of conflict, but unfortunately, everywhere in the world, religion has become the main source of conflict.
It has taken the maximum number of lives and caused the maximum amount of pain on the planet for thousands of years. For centuries the most horrible things on this planet were done in the name of religion.
Religion and quarrelling cannot go together. But unfortunately, we have many quarrelling religions. We have become so devious that we can kill in the name of Rama, in the name of Jesus or in the name of Mohammed. Somewhere we have lost the basic sense of what religion is.
True religion is an inward step. But today it has become only about belonging to this group or that group. This has only brought hatred, conflict and separation among people.
We have seen this any number of times in India. The same people who are together today, who are friends, and neighbours, the moment they identify with their religions, suddenly they separate. Tomorrow they are burning each other’s homes. Ten minutes ago, they did not even think about such a thing.
The moment they get identified to some religious group, they are willing to fight. If they did not belong to these groups, they would have no reason to fight. Some individuals will fight for some personal reasons, that is different. But the whole group of people would have no reason to fight, and this kind of mass stimulation of animal energy wouldn’t happen.
What the world needs is not more religions or more followers, but people committed to becoming peaceful themselves. Just one Jesus or one Buddha will not do. Many are needed. If people just learned how to be absolutely still with great intensity, you would see all violence would simply evaporate from the planet.
It is not slogans and statements that will bring peace to the world, but a lifelong striving to produce peaceful human beings.
On all levels of our human societies if we work for creating peaceful humans, especially among the leadership, key people, people who are in responsible positions in various spheres of activity, be it business, politics, industry, bureaucracy, if we can create people who are truly peaceful within themselves, people who have some sense of wholeness within themselves, they definitely will let peace percolate to large segments of society.
Peace is not in terms of just avoiding war, but establishing an active culture of living in peace in the world.
Isha New Zealand conducts free monthly Isha Kriya meditation practice and Upa yoga sessions for the general public.
Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the 'Padma Vibhushan' by the Government of India in 2017, the highest amongst the annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.