Extract from Swami Sarvalokananda’s address “Achieving Global Peace through inner transformation”*
असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । (Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya | Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |) O Lord, lead us from unreal to real, lead us from darkness to light, lead us from mortality to immortality.
Global Peace was Swami Vivekananda’s dream.
When I was thinking what to discuss about Global Peace, the first thing that came to my mind is the pragmatic advice of Sri Sarada Devi – the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa:
Sri Sarada Devi was not keeping well, and was about to leave this mortal world. A devotee came and asked her – you will leave us within a short period. Please advise something.
Sri Sarada Devi said in Bengali – “Babai, mone jodi shanti pete chao, kaaro dosh dekhbe na. Dosh dekhbe nijer. Shokoley tumar aapon, keyu apor noi.” If you want peace of mind, then you must not find fault with others, rather you see your own faults. Secondly she said – Nobody is a foreigner or alien, each and everybody is your own.
This is the problem – that we always find fault with others, and we don’t see our own faults.
When we point out others’ fault with, we are pointing one finger towards the other, but three fingers are pointing to you! This means you must see your own faults. This is the pragmatic advice of Sri Sarada Devi. She said – everybody is your own, nobody is a foreigner or an alien. This promotes the unity of the world.
Swami Vivekananda very emphatically said that today the world is in need of spiritual revival. World unity does not mean social unity or humanitarian unity but spiritual unity. No amount of political reformation or economic regeneration and increase of amenities in life, will bring about unity. Spiritual unity is the real unity – the core of unity. Spiritual unity means that each soul is potentially divine, and the same soul dwells in all of us.
We talk about science and technology and are very proud of the advancements in this field. Science and technology can give comforts, raise the standard of living. But it cannot give peace and harmony. Today, information technology – computers, emails, cell phones – have brought the world together. Unfortunately, our minds have not come together. The great scientist Einstein said – “It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man”. i.e., science cannot change the evil tendencies and evil propensities of a human being.
We talk about change. Yes change is a must. But what kind of change? Not only external change, but internal change is needed. That is called transformation of inner being. Swami Vivekananda said that Global Peace doesn’t depend on social peace. Social peace depends on individual peace and individual peace depends on the spiritual awakening of the individual spirit of soul.
Swamiji has emphasized again and again on building of character. Today we are facing many crises – economic crisis, water crisis, electric crisis, so on and so forth. But the greatest crisis that we are facing is the crisis of individual character, of social character, and of national character.
There is a very important English proverb – “if wealth is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost, something is lost, but if character is lost, everything is lost”. Character is a very important factor in bringing out peace, harmony and friendship.
Swami Vivekananda went to America to address the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. He was impressed by the advancement of science and technology and material prosperity of the West. But at the same time he gave the prophetic statement that the Western civilization will crumble into pieces in 50 years if it is not based on spirituality. We can now see what Swami Vivekananda said 120 years ago – how the Western culture is collapsing very fast. He realized that only materialism cannot bring everlasting peace and prosperity. For this, spiritual revival is very important.
So let us change first ourselves, then we will change the country, society, and the whole world – because the real transformation is the transformation of one’s own consciousness.
* Swami Sarvalokananda’s welcome address at the International Seminar on Global Peace.
Venue: Swami Vivekananda Auditorium of Ramakrishna Mission & Math Mumbai. Organized by Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Mumbai on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda