Cultivate Peace

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Radiant Divinities! Beloved Atman! Cultivate santi (peace) within your heart. Cultivate the habit of peace and serenity which is a covetable possession, that is a positive force to take you towards your supreme Goal. Cultivate santi in your mind and in your heart, for it is a condition prerequisite for the inward process of bringing the mind to rest upon the Eternal and the Divine. There can be no concentration for one who does not cultivate the habit of peace. The Lord poses this question in the Bhagavad Gita: “asantasya kutah sukham?—How can happiness come to one who is not at peace?”

The Supreme Reality, Atman-Brahman, is immeasurable peace, profound, boundless, indescribable peace. The great transcendental experience of your ancestors and of the supreme mystics of all times and climes is that the Reality pervades everywhere, which means that peace fills all existence. From their transcendental experience our ancestors declared boldly that the Supreme Reality dwells in the core of your own heart. One divine Reality dwells hidden in all beings, which means that peace dwells within you permanently as the innermost centre of your being.

When peace pervades all existence and when peace ever dwells within you, why this injunction to cultivate peace? Why are great books written on how to find peace, the way to peace? Does it not seem a contradiction that when peace is everywhere, when peace dwells at the centre of your being, that there is even a possibility of people being without peace and therefore being deprived of happiness?

That this contradiction exists is proven by our own experience and the experience of countless millions of people who are restless, agitated, have no peace, go from pillar to post. There is peace and yet people are asanti, they have no peace. Peace pervades all existence; peace is everywhere; it ever dwells within you. Peace is the one great Reality, and yet we find people pining for it, trying to create it, going on holidays, going on picnics, going into seclusion to search for it.

Why this contradiction? We have turned away from the ever-present Reality. “Tesham santir...netaresham—To such beings who take the path that leads to the knowledge of the Supreme and find that Supreme Reality, to them only is peace, not to other beings.” We are pre-occupied and we are also foolish. We do not know what is good for us. We also persist in folly. We close ourselves to wisdom, do everything that militates against peace and do nothing to cultivate peace within our heart.

That is the reason the great ones who analysed human life and discovered the three afflictions spoke about adhyatmika tapa—afflictions created from within one’s own being. And that which is created within one’s own being has to be dealt with within one’s own being.

It is in this context and connection that the great value of svadhyaya (spiritual study) and satsang has been spoken about. They are the companions of peace. They are the companions of an inner awakening of wisdom within us. Satsang, svadhyaya and also sad-vichara—making use of our intellect in the right direction, in right enquiry such as: “If I have no peace, why do I not have peace? If peace is present everywhere, why is it not available to me or why am I not able to avail myself of it?” If the sun is shining and you are turned in the opposite direction, then the sunlight is not available to you. “Is it maybe such a situation with me?” This is to be enquired into—vichara. “Why do I not feel the presence of that ever-present peace right within me? Maybe I pay no attention to it, I do not cultivate it.”

We pay a price for even the most petty thing. For even a broom stick, a leaf plate, a clay cup, we pay a price. Do you think it is reasonable that for such a great thing, something for which the whole world is seeking, which is the one condition of happiness—supreme peace, the peace that passeth understanding—do you think it is reasonable that such a thing could be had without paying a price? Is peace alone the commodity we wish to have without paying a price for it, without trying for it and fulfilling its conditions?

How to find peace? Scriptures are full of descriptions. Contentment brings you peace. Renunciation brings you peace. Renunciation of ego brings you peace. Wisdom, vichara (enquiry), viveka (discrimination) bring you peace. Svadhyaya can give you all. Svadhyaya can give you viveka, can give you vichara, can give you contentment. It can awaken within you the light of higher understanding.

More than anything else, the peace within is not felt because our gaze, our stream of thoughts, is constantly directed towards things other than ourselves, things other than that which is within us. Our awareness is completely occupied by aneka (the many), and aneka is always asanti. And what is more, when the thought current is ever moving towards this and that, naturally it loses awareness of that which is in the source of its being. Peace dwells in the source where thought arises, and when thought occupies your attention that peace is bypassed. Therefore, it is necessary to turn the mind within. Practise the sadhana of turning the mental gaze within, not the physical gaze alone, but turning the thought current towards the centre of your being where peace abides.

Svadhyaya helps us: Anything that intends to move towards a particular goal needs to keep direction. It must make provision to see that its movement is always in that direction, not diverted away. Even if forces beyond its control make it swerve from that direction, it must have the ability within itself to once again get back on course. It requires a propelling force for movement towards the goal as well as the ability to correct its direction and to keep its balance. Flight into the Infinite, ascent unto Divinity—in these terms the spiritual process has been described. And it is through svadhyaya that we can steer the direction of our life always towards that supreme, ultimate Goal. It is through svadhyaya that we can keep an inner balance while pursuing our Goal. It is through svadhyaya that we can keep on propelling ourselves towards that Goal without stagnating, without, still worse, having a set-back.

Ever, ever moving onwards, day after day, hour by hour, every moment of our life, slowly and steadily, with peace within, we must keep on moving in the right direction. And we must keep an inner balance, not allowing ourselves to be influenced by everyone, everything, every event, every occurrence, every passing scene.

Thus cultivate peace. Look towards the peace that is ever-present, and try to cultivate the ability to become aware of the peace that pervades everywhere, that is ever-present, everywhere in abundance. Sarvam brahmamayam (All is pervaded by Brahman); isavasyamidam sarvam (All this is indwelt by the Lord). Peace pervades this entire universe, pervades everywhere. Cultivate this ever-present peace through right vision. This is the great need.

The Upanishad says asantamanas (restless mind) is a barrier to the attainment of supreme enlightenment. Therefore the sadhana-chatushtaya (four-fold means of liberation) includes sama (control of the mind) and self-possession, control of one’s senses, as being necessary for this inner santi. They said sama and dama—inner serenity and control of the senses—are inter-related, they go together. And prayer also puts you directly into contact with that great peace.

To make us aware of all these things, beloved Guru Bhagavan draws us near him morning after morning to be silent and become aware of the peace. Such is his grace. May his benedictions enable you to understand the significance and value of this morning hour of closeness and proximity to one who has ever become one with that great peace, that great silence. May the blessings of the supreme Almighty Being speed you onward in your quest for that immeasurable peace, peace profound, the peace perennial that is your innermost Being! Live in peace, cultivate the habit of peace, move towards the innermost centre where peace abides. This throws open the portals of liberation, immortality and illumination. God bless you!

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