ABC Newspaper published on-line interview with Prem Rawat by María Alcaráz ABC Newspaper published on-line interview with Prem Rawat by María Alcaráz

“You don’t need to go to a monastery to find peace”

The speaker and writer in the interview below is visiting Spain to introduce his new book ‘Hear Yourself’, which delves into the search for peace in the middle of this noisy world.

Prem Rawat (India, 1957) has dedicated his life to Peace, in capital letters. This weighty statement can almost be overwhelming. Yet this writer and speaker, - who since the age of eight transmits a clear and convincing message, - has dedicated his entire career to finding peace in a place, that sometimes we forget to look in – within ourselves.

Prem learned about peace from his father, who would share his message with everyone interested. The fundamental message was that ‘the peace we spend our lives looking for, is not waiting for us somewhere else, but is already within us.’ Following the death of his father, Prem Rawat clearly saw that the purpose of his life was to continue with his father's legacy, and this is what he has been doing since the age of nine.                                                              

At the tender age of thirteen, he spoke about the power of knowing ourselves on the main stage of the now-famous Glastonbury Music Festival. It was then, that he first traveled to the United States, thinking that he would be there just for a few months – yet he never returned to his home in India. Instead, he has dedicated his entire career to travelling around the world to speak about peace. Prem Rawat is very clear about the fact that "finding peace is what we need to be happy, to live in harmony and to survive in the current society", a society and environment that is driven by a really fast rhythm that burdens us and doesn’t even give us a chance to discover who we really are.

Presently the "Peace Ambassador" publishes "Hear yourself" (Aguilar), a book that explores the need to look within. We met him during his book promotion tour in Spain, focused on introducing a book which aims to "help us understand ourselves" and thus, learn to live within the current society "full of noise, that does not allow us to hear ourselves."

What makes it most difficult to listen to yourself, the noise from the outside or the noise from the inside?

Everything makes it difficult. The worst kind of noise is when we take the outside noise and make it our own, and make it the inside noise. This makes it even more difficult to hear ourselves. In the end, the most important thing is hearing ourselves.

Does everybody have peace inside themselves?

Yes, all of us have peace inside of us; it has always been there. Socrates said “Know thyself”, -- and he said so because there is something we must look for and it is within. It is incredible, but the peace is inside and we should look for it.

Even people with internal conflicts, people who don’t do good things…?

We develop a program called the Peace Education Program in prisons. And some of the people in prisons are there for life and are never going to get out. However, when I speak to them, they discover that peace is also inside of them, that they can carry on.

And where do we have to begin the search?

With us. We spend our lives searching for peace outside; we search in books, in the mountains, in temples, even in other people… However, when we focus on ourselves, when we take the mirror and look inside, we are taking the first step towards looking for peace.

In order to live happily, do we have to accept death?

You have to accept life. There are two walls; the first is birth and the other is death. The important thing is not to worry about death or try to find the date on which we are going to die;, but to focus on life. Feel this moment in our life and focus on it, because our time is limited. Thus, accepting life, we achieve calm and happiness.

Are we thankful enough for being alive?

No! And that is why I stress that idea so much in my book. It is essential to feel gratitude for everything we have in our lives.

Then, how can we begin to be grateful for life?

We have to open ourselves to us. We are open to other people. When our friend is in trouble, we tell them not to worry; we are eager to give advice. But when we are in trouble, what do we say to ourselves? ‘Oh! This is terrible… you are terrible!’ And if we said this to our friend, they would be upset. So, what we have to do is really start accepting ourselves, although this happens to be difficult for many people.

In order to focus on ourselves, do we need to separate ourselves from the world that surrounds us?

There are people who believe so, but it is not necessary to separate from the world, and in fact, it is not possible. Everything develops in this plane in which we live: we have to work, we have to eat … – we are social beings and we need this world. However, what we have to do is seek peace within all this. It is not necessary to go to a monastery or be a monk; we must simply search for the peace we have inside.

Do we have to be cautious in life or will it be counterproductive?

The opportunity is given to us with each breath, all the time, but we are not paying attention. We wake up in the morning; we start reading the newspaper and see the headlines. Yet, none of those headlines is the most important one: ‘We are alive now.’ It is important to accept that headline, because we are alive now, and we have this opportunity now.

You talk a lot about the noise in the world…How should we relate to technology?

Right now, we are not managing technology, technology drives us; it overwhelms us. As human beings, it is now important to focus on making sense of it all, and start being in charge of our lives, not letting Facebook or Twitter control us. This is the only way in which we will win, because these applications can run our life.

There is a small subsection within the book that reads ‘Learning to feel’. How do we learn to feel?

When you are not free, you are not in charge of your life, you don’t get to feel anything. There are other people who tell you what to feel and how. If you are free, you can begin to feel. ‘Freedom’ is a word we all like, no matter the country. And why? What are we slaves to? Nothing obvious, but we are, we are slaves to our mind and it often does not let us move forward.

There is a quote within the book that says, “We shouldn’t live in yesterday nor live in tomorrow”. Is the projection to the future necessary? How can we find the balance between living in the present, without losing sight of the future?

If we don’t accept the future, we will not be able to accept the past, and in the end, we will be in no man’s land. We can only understand the present. We must be aware of the now. Because when we are in the present, we create the past and can somehow predict the future. When we act unconsciously, we make mistakes, and these affect our past and have a reflection on our future. However, if we understand our present, it will define us as human beings, and it will neither define our future, nor our past. What we do now is what is really important.

The original article can be found here.


Interview with Cristina Galafate, in Telva, El Mundo’s lifestyle magazine Interview with Cristina Galafate, in Telva, El Mundo’s lifestyle magazine

The inspiring speaker and writer born in India, visited Madrid to present Hear Yourself, a book in which he stresses that the peace and well-being you are looking for are inside of you. More than a thousand people filled the Calderon Theatre in Madrid to listen to Prem Rawat's peaceful message.

“We leave filled with human divinity, so spread it through the streets” said Anne Igartiburu with sparkling eyes and a broad smile, while on the stage of Calderon Theatre, the venue chosen to welcome the writer in Spain. The warm welcome given by the expectant audience, (who had purchased all the tickets for the event in approximately 3 minutes), moved the Basque presenter, who confessed before the auditorium to being a little nervous regarding the interview.

“Despite experience, one is not used to being before such an inspiring person. I have never seen anything like it. Book launches normally have a total attendance of 12 including the journalists,” she joked in the Hear Yourself event. This is his second book (published by Aguilar, 360 pages, 17 Euros); in 2018 the same author presented Splitting the Arrow in Caja Mágica before an audience of 3,000 people.

In this new work, the author delves into the understanding of inner peace, and what connecting to it means in our lives.

In this brief yet intense visit to the capital, TELVA has had the opportunity to chat with this man, who has a metaphor for each situation, and who does not align himself with any political party or religion.

“I am a human being that speaks from the heart. Peace is inside of us, not in things. It is people who create war. Practice peace, and peace will be the greatest achievement of humanity”.

Question: You were a talented speaker precociously. Encouraged by your father (Sri Hans Ji Maharaj), you began to address audiences on the topic of peace when you were only four years old. What memories do you have of him? And what is the most important teaching he imparted on you?

Answer: I was very young; most of the time I would fall asleep while listening. I believe his most important legacy was that peace is inside everybody. He always said we all have to look inside. I have shared these memories in this book.

Question: The Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is currently one of the youngest leaders. Are you familiar with her message? Do you think she is a good example and model for youth?

Answer: She's fantastic; she's very powerful and strong. I have heard her message on television, and I definitely believe we need more leaders in the world who are not afraid to tell the truth. We have to wake up from this sleep of greed we are in, stop buying and buying things without taking into consideration the disastrous consequences for the environment. It is essential for the future.

Question: You take part in conferences that are translated into 75 languages; you are invited to universities and attend prison and business forums; you travel the world; you write -- and on top of that, you are a pilot with more than 14,000 hours of flight time. How is a day in the life of such an international peace ambassador?

Answer: When I get up in the morning, I hope that my day will be nice and that time will be well spent. Because I understand that this day is never going to come back again. This is the message that I want to share. Today is important because we do not know how many more ‘todays’ we will have. It may not return, so we should enjoy it.

Question: In just a few minutes all the tickets for your book launch event were sold out. Why do you think your message reaches people so deeply?

Answer: It comes from my heart and it is for their heart. I try not to get into politics; I help them enjoy their existence. So, the time that we spend here is quality time.

Question: You are a hero for many people. Does it make you feel uncomfortable to be a guru? Who do you admire and what messages inspire you?

Answer: Idols, philosophers or heroes can confuse and mislead. The important thing is that you be your own leader. We should figure out the world by ourselves. My father always pointed out that I should focus on me, that I should be the source of my own inspiration. You are the angel that you have always been waiting for.

Question: Your book is entitled Hear Yourself. Can you give us some tools to do so?

Answer: The first step to opening that door is seeing ourselves as being able to achieve peace. If we do not become an active part of that equation, we will go to a mountain or a monastery to find happiness -- though in truth, we ought to realize that the happiness that we are searching for outside is in us, inside of us.

Question: What do you mean when you say that people are at war with themselves?

Answer: It may seem like wars are among people, but the first war is ours; it is a war with ourselves. If we do not stop this, we will be at war with everything. It's like a fire; it will reignite if it is not put out completely. This is what happens in this world. The Peace Education Program that I have set up for prisons and universities is proof of this. When you speak with an inmate, they blame the judge, the system, the police... We try to help them look at themselves. That is our power. When you can change this, it is a wonderful power.

Question: You use social media to spread your message, and it's a very interesting tool because it reaches many everywhere in the world. Nonetheless, don't you think that technology is dehumanizing? We seem to be focused on sharing a photograph of an event, rather than on enjoying it.

Answer: The positive thing is when we rule technology, not the other way around. If technology rules you, it is impossible to manage. We have to use technology to our benefit. In fact, the internet was conceived for good purposes: to share information, research, studies; -- not to criticize or push people to commit suicide or towards negative things.

Question: What message would you like to reach people?

Answer: ‘All the good that you are looking for is inside of you.’ This is a message that is repeated throughout this book. We have an invaluable gift: life. It should fill our hearts with gratitude. What is important is to love our family and enjoy the little things. Not love everybody else and forget who we have next to us. Sometimes we say good morning to the world on social media, and do not say it to our own mother.

Question: What is the message that touched you the most from a person that went to one of your conferences or read one of your books?

Answer: When I visit prisons, they say ‘thank you, because you have put me in touch with myself’.

Question: You do not talk about politics. Yet, what is your opinion regarding the United States -- a superpower -- having just announced their new 750-billion-dollar defence budget?

Answer: It is as simple as manufacturing a glass and wanting the whole world to buy it. We want there to be death so we can sell more weapons. If we focus on that, we cease to care for human beings and their basic needs. Governments should represent people, yet countries do not focus on investing their money in preventing death by hunger. We are ready to travel to the moon, (and by saying this, I do not mean technology is a bad thing), but are not ready to take care of people and their basic needs. We must change that mentality, so we no longer earmark funds for weapons and can avoid the vicious cycle. It is important that we be reminded of this. United States has a budget to build walls and separate families, -- and we forget who we are.

Question: Do you believe that evil and toxicity exist? Have we stopped empathizing?

Answer: We constantly forget about our humanity. When a child falls, the mother might tell it off, yet at the same time, also gives it love. We have forgotten to understand and pay attention to other -- instead we use threats and fear. We need empathy. Understanding others is absolutely necessary.

Question: The desire to improve ourselves that we have in the New Year, why do we forget it after a couple of days?

Answer: Do you want to conquer the world? The strength that you are looking for is in you. The good that you are looking for is in you. The joy you are looking for is in you. We buy self-help books because we think they make us cool, but we do not know what to do with them.

Question: In Spain, there is a self-help literature boom, millions in turnover and bookshelves filled with best-sellers. Are we not creating a new religion with the message of ‘love yourself’ everywhere? Are we forgetting the rest and feeding our ego?

Answer: What you say is true and very interesting. If you think about bottled water – we all drink it now -- it began to be fashionable because it appeared in advertisements and drinking from them was cool. Self-help books are as cool now, as having the latest smartphone. We buy self-help books because we think they make us cool, but we do not know what to do with them. We place them on shelves, hardly reading them. I do not label this book as a self-help book. I want it to be a guide for you to reach your heart, because what you are looking for is inside of you. Socrates said it. We have been trying to know ourselves for a long time!

Question: Why do you think hate speech is so attractive nowadays, when there is so much information available?

Answer: People do not face the consequences of their actions! In the olden days, when you insulted a person, they could hit you back. Now, - with technology and social media, - you can insult thousands of people and not feel the consequences. It is misuse of technology. If you cannot add anything positive, at least, do not hurt people; stay out of it. We have to empathize and start listening to others again.

Question: We do not know our neighbours; we do not give up our seat for a pregnant woman on the Underground; we walk by a beggar without looking. Why have cities become so uninhabitable?

Answer: Unfortunately, humans are becoming robots. We have two eyes that were made to look before crossing the street, yet we have them focused on the smartphone and end up walking into a lamp - post. We use our ears to listen to music, instead of for analyzing where the car that could run us over is coming from. We are distancing ourselves more and more from who we are. We no longer focus on love, or on helping our neighbours. This distance dehumanizes us and has very negative consequences.

Question: Why is it so important to know yourself?

Answer: So that all these problems can be fixed.

The original article in Spanish can be found here.


Interview with Nuria Safanot - Hola! newspaper Interview with Nuria Safanot - Hola! newspaper

Psychology: How to achieve inner peace? Is it possible to achieve inner peace?

The master Prem Rawat, Peace Global Ambassador, explains how we can have a more fulfilled and serene life.

Prem Rawat is considered by many institutions as one of the most relevant global peace ambassadors. His message has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the planet for 50 years. Usual guest of political and business leaders, prestigious institutions (Harvard, Oxford, European and UK Parliament, ONU) and also of prisons and remote villages in developing countries.

He is responsible for messages such as: “It isn’t the world that needs peace but people. When each person has inner peace, the world will be in peace” or: “Peace is inside of you, the knowledge of the self is what allows you to experience it.”

Coinciding with the launch of his latest book, Hear Yourself (published by Aguilar), we had the opportunity to talk to him so he could tell us how to achieve inner peace. Thanks to his words, we will understand what is happening inside of us and how it is possible to live a more fulfilled and serene life.

Question: You say that the height of existence is inner peace. Is there a definition for inner peace?

Prem: Inner peace is a feeling and when you have it you know it. We can certainly look at anger. We can look at fear. We have seen those things in people. We have seen those things in ourselves and we know how they manifest. Yet peace has no relative expression that you can point at and say ‘ah’, that person is angry, that person is in fear because you see him shivering, or you see a face that’s red, and you know he’s huffing and puffing. Peace does not manifest like that, it is a feeling. It is the feeling of everything in you being right, correct.

When all the bits and pieces are in the right place in your mind. The way you perceive the world around you is clear. Who you are and your relationship to everything else that is around you, is clear. This is what I talk about in my book, the relationship of everything that is around you – and you - and how important it is to know yourself. Because with that begins the process of peace.

Question: Then, can anyone achieve inner peace?

Prem: The thing is you don’t need to achieve it because it’s already in you. You need to discover it. It is a process of discovery, because it already exists inside every human being. We need air, and we have plenty of air available to us. We need water and we have water available to us. These are things that we need, but if they were missing, we would be missing too. Peace is essential for our wellbeing and that peace we need, it is already in us.

Question: If someone has always lived outwards but never inwards, how should they start the path to change?

Prem: First of all, that person who has only looked outwards and never inwards, really doesn’t know themselves. So, for them to start this process they would have to first understand what it means to know yourself. They also need to live their life consciously, and they need to have gratitude in their life. These are the things that come from inside of us, not outside of us. And to find these things, we have to start looking inward not outward. There is a whole chapter in my book dedicated to gratitude.

Question: Lao-Tse said: To know others is wisdom, to know oneself is superior wisdom.

Prem: Self-knowledge is truly achieved when you first start to accept that these possibilities exist inside of you. For most people there is no value to knowing yourself, much less trying to find a way to truly know yourself. But without knowing yourself you will never be yourself, because you don’t actually know who you are. So, you have to begin with knowing who you are and then this becomes real.

This is not just some fantasy. This is not some idea that is coming from the top of a mountain, but it is real to know yourself. And you begin with accepting that you have in you all the wisdom that you need. You have in you the peace that you are looking for. You have in you all the clarity that you need. You have in you the answers that you have been looking for all your life. They are already inside of you. Most people don’t understand the value of this. Until you recognize that those things exist inside of you, you will always be looking outside. This is because you don’t think there is anything inside of you.

Question: How do we start to listen to ourselves?

Prem: It comes by being conscious, being aware of what this life is all about, what this world is all about, what this existence is all about. Because, we’ve got it all in a nice little package. You come into this world and you try to become successful. Someday if you reach these goals you become successful, and then what? Then you retire and die, and what a nice little formula we’ve got. And you know, the whole world is chasing its own tail because of this formula. Nobody seems to actually know what it means to be successful.

People become successful and yet they don’t think they are successful. They have so much money that they can’t even count it, and yet they show up at the office every single day and try to make a little more money, and a little more money. So, we’ve got a nice little formula going but the dog is chasing its tail, and it is going to keep chasing its tail, until one day we say that’s not the formula to success.

The formula to success is when you feel successful inside. When you feel truly at peace, in recognition of your life. When you know how to celebrate each breath that comes into you. When you can celebrate your existence today. Not all the ideas about existence, but your existence today. And this is what I talk about in my book.

Question: Do you think that we, as a society, are prepared to feel?

Prem: We are prepared to feel what we have been told we should feel. We are not prepared to feel beauty and joy. When I talk about knowing yourself, people sometimes ask me ‘what if I find the horrible in me, how will that be?’ Why do they assume there’s horrible in you? Why assume that? It’s just a thought that floats by. ‘Oh! I might be looking at something horrible’. It’s not horrible, its beautiful.

This is what Socrates said a long time ago, ‘know thyself’. Knowing that there is a lot of wisdom in that, understanding who you are, what you are all about, celebrating every day of your life. You need to start learning how to celebrate, what it really means to celebrate.

Question: Are we prepared to overcome fears?

Prem: This is a very interesting question because we all, wherever we live, in whatever situation, whether we are rich or poor, whoever we are, we all hate being afraid. But there’s only one problem, we all are afraid. We are all afraid of what would happen if peace was to take over. We are all afraid of what would happen if we were to actually change our viewpoint and look at the world as a beautiful place and a place worth preserving.

What would it be like if nobody was hungry? What would it be like if nobody was sick? What would it be like if there was no cruelty towards human beings and to animals? We are afraid. We are afraid what this world would look like if everybody was in peace. And this fear just goes on and on and on. The only fear we don’t have is of fear itself. We don’t seem to worry about fear coming and taking us over.

No, we let it happen. And we are all afraid of something. There are people who are afraid of looking at themselves. What would it be like if you got to know yourself? But we are afraid, and what we need to fear is the fear itself.

The original article can be found here.