COUNTDOWN TO PEACE EDUCATION PROGRAM
PEP Facilitator in Sri Lanka
The government of Sri Lanka had offered us to do this Peace Education for the ex-combatants. The government are interested in getting the reconciliation part of it done on a national level—and the UN is supporting them.
Ex-Combatant – Sri Lanka
Selvanayaki Sebastiampillal: [female, translated]
This is very essential for our life. I realized instead of searching for peace here and there, that there is peace within me and there is a way to feel the peace.
We are also having these events in Jaffna University. Initially there was a question mark in the Jaffna University students. They thought, “Peace, it must be a boring subject,” you know?
And once they completed, they became so happy about it—and they start telling the other students about this Peace Education. And the second batch, we had 285 who completed the ten classes of Peace Education.
Student – University of Jaffna
Without looking outside to find who we are, we must find answers within ourselves. Then only we can be successful and that is the message given here. When we understand this properly, our self-confidence and peace can be found easily.
Video content courtesy of
The Prem Rawat Foundation
NEWS 1st Interview
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
Good evening and welcome. Our guest today is a gentleman who has addressed over five million people in over fifty countries. I’m happy to introduce Mr. Prem Rawat, global Peace Ambassador—good evening and welcome. It’s fantastic having you here in Sri Lanka.
Thank you for having me here; it’s a pleasure.
Mr. Rawat, for our Sri Lankan audiences watching us right now, could you elaborate on this term, “global Peace Ambassador,” since peace is really of the essence, especially in the current context in the world?
GLOBAL PEACE AMBASSADOR
Well, a lot of people, of course, refer to me as the “Peace Ambassador”; I refer to everybody else as a Peace Ambassador. Because, in this world, in these circumstances that we live in today, peace is incredibly important—and peace has always been important, but the necessity of peace is more and more being recognized by people around the world.
Because people don’t want to be torn apart; people don’t want to be in a situation where they’re constantly worried about “how things are going to be tomorrow.” But they want to be content; they want progress; they want to become successful. And peace is something that is within inside of them.
So, for me, the context of peace is not utopia, but something very practical, something very real for every human being on the face of this earth. One, we have to understand that peace is possible—and two, we have to understand that peace is within inside of us. We don’t have to go and push buttons to try to create it.
Peace isn’t the absence of war—but peace is the absence of war within inside of us. Peace isn’t the end of conflict outside, but peace is the end of conflict on the inside. Because so far we have the conflict on the inside, it doesn’t really matter—and sooner or later that conflict will manifest itself on the outside.
So that’s what peace means to me—and being an ambassador, I think everybody is an ambassador because everybody carries peace inside of them.
Across the world, we see, especially in the West, how xenophobia is raising its head once again—racism, hatred. How does one go about ensuring that peace prevails over all this negativity and toxicity?
If you have a hole in the boat and you want to plug it up, isn’t it important to know where that hole is? [Interviewer: Sure.]
So, let’s understand, where does all this stuff come from? Does it come from the sky? Does it come from a tree? Does it come from a particular frog; does it come from a particular crab? Or does it come from inside of people—because of misunderstanding of who we are?
We’re all human beings. We’re all the same.
You see, the way I look at it—all of us have a little twang, a little silly thing which is that “I want to feel important. And if I can feel important, that’s good.”
It goes even to when you’re parking your car. If you got there a second before the other person and you were able to park your car, that makes you feel good. If you’re standing in a line waiting for a ticket for the movie theater—and all of a sudden you are allowed to go, “front,” that makes you feel good. It’s like, “This is cool; this is good.”
When a person feels inferior, they want to feel superior. And this is at the root of racism: “I want to feel better than these people. I want to feel better than this person; I want to feel better….” This is where bullying comes from. This is where gangs get created; one gang has to be better than the other gang…. It’s going on around—it, there’s no limit to it.
But the problem is, we’re all number one—and the tragedy is we don’t know it. We’re all number one. There is something so special about us that we don’t understand.
How does one go about tapping into this potential? Because across the world, we see racism; we see bullying; we see negativity. There is so much of negativity around us—and so little psychosocial care, for example. We see this in schools; we see this in universities; we see this at the workplace. We see this in parliaments across the world! [PR: Yes.]
How does one go about releasing one’s potential, in your opinion?
It’s very simple. We have to go back a long ways, at the time of Socrates—and he said something very, very beautiful and very simple, very profound: “Know thy self.” All of this is all happening—all the negative stuff that is happening is because we really don’t know who we are.
What does it mean to be a human being? We don’t know that. We think we are a robot: “We have to get up in the morning; we have to do this; we have to do this; we have to do this; we have to do this; we have to do this.”
And we judge our day by how much we accomplished—and we judge our burdens on our shoulder by what we didn’t accomplish. Because that bears down on us, “I have still, still to do this; I have to still do this….” We go to sleep at night—what do we dream about? We dream about all the terrible things we still have to do, all our responsibilities. That’s not a human being.
A human being is somebody who carries in them, not the darkness, but light—who carries in them caring. Not, not caring; caring—who carries in them, joy, who carries in them, clarity, not doubt. But somehow, when we don’t understand who we are, then this was what happens.
There was an experiment done by this photographer in Africa—and what he did is he put a big stainless steel mirror in the jungle. And this gorilla comes—and he does not know that’s him. And so he assumes that’s his enemy.
And he starts beating his chest and making bad faces and screaming at him; it’s like, “Get away; go away; this is my territory….” He doesn’t understand that’s him. Chimpanzees do the same thing—after a little while, the chimpanzees get it, “That’s me.”
That’s the trick. When you don’t know who you are, you become your own enemy. (Because that gorilla was becoming his own enemy; he was thinking that’s his enemy—but it was really him!)
We become our own enemy; we cannot get along together; we don’t understand “who you are, that you are just like me. You are capable of suffering pain; I am capable of suffering pain,” but most importantly, “you are capable of experiencing joy and I am capable of experiencing joy.” And that the joy doesn’t come from outside; it comes from within you.
These are the subtle understandings. When we start to see that we don’t have to be reliant on others, that we need to be reliant on us, then we begin to understand what Socrates actually said when he said “Know thyself”: you are the treasure.
You want wealth—you want wealth, but where is your wealth? Is your wealth buried in a cave? Or is your wealth buried inside of you?
How does one go about seeking the guidance in this respect? Because people are so busy with their day-to-day lives—across the world we see it; people don’t have time for themselves, Mr. Rawat. That’s the reality….
I know. I know; I, I know that; I know that. So we want tea; we push a button. On the tea kettle, we push a button. We want to do something; we push a button. We want to take a shower; we turn a knob. And this is what people think—that they, “Give me a quick way, push a button and I can have peace.” No button for peace—because it’s already inside of you.
So now, how do you go—the question is, “How do you go searching for something that you already have?” So, you can’t use your hands—so you can’t go, “Oh, where is it; where is it; where is it; where is it?” How do you go searching for something you already have?
So, you have eyes; you see. You see everybody’s eyes; you see everybody’s face; you see everybody’s eyes—but do you know that your eyes can’t see your own eyes, themselves—that your eyes cannot see your face? You see everybody else’s face—but not yours.
Not until you have a mirror in front of you. To see you, you need a mirror. To see anybody else, you don’t need a mirror.
So, how do you search for something you already have? The search isn’t “search”—be ready to witness. Big difference. Be ready to witness who you are—when you look in that mirror, don’t be surprised what you see, because it is you.
In the same way, we are in the mode, one, “Peace is not inside of us; we will find it somewhere else.” So that’s what we do. We go to different countries; we go to the holy places; we go to this temple; we go to that—“That’s where peace is; that’s where peace is.” But peace is inside of us.
So, can you accept the fact that peace is inside of you? Not so easily. This…. Why not, first, that “Yes, peace is inside of me”? Understanding that is the first step.
“I do not need to search. It is already here” is the first step, the beginning step to peace.
We see so many rich, successful individuals who are so unhappy—and this is not a phenomenon that is limited to a particular geographical location. So many successful individuals are so unhappy. What’s the cause for this?
Because they were handed a formula: “Make a lot of money—and you will be happy.” Well, they made a lot of money—and they’re still not happy—but nobody is doing the report card. Nobody is sitting down in their life ever and saying, “What works for me and what doesn’t work for me?” Nobody does that. “Is this working?” No, people just go and go and go and go.
And yesterday, when I was coming—after I arrived at the airport, I was driving and I am seeing, everybody is trying to catch the bus to go home. And they’re just running after the bus and—and they do this on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
And they know the routine; they know this is what they have to do, “This is what’s going on; this is what’s happening.” But nobody says, “Is this what my life is all about?”
And when you do, the answer is very simple: “Take care of your responsibilities—but not as they will be the source of your happiness,” no. The source of your happiness you have to find inside of you….
Taking care of your responsibilities so you can have a roof over your head, that you can be sheltered during the rain; you can be sheltered when it’s cold; you can have some food to eat? Then it’s fine. Then it’s okay. But you have to understand, “What is the main drive?”
What drives you? I asked people—I was just in Malaysia—I asked people: “You’re all here because you want to be happy. Let me ask you a question: ‘Why? Why do you want to be happy? Have you asked yourself, why do you want to be happy? Why do you want to be content? Why? What is so outrageous about happiness—that you like?’”
I’m not saying that they shouldn’t—but I’m just asking, “Did you ever wonder, ‘Why do you want to be happy?’” You, of course, know why you don’t want to be sad, because that makes you feel terrible. So, if happiness makes you feel good, what are you doing in your life to truly strive for that?
You know, you look at a crab; he goes around—he’s not, he doesn’t have GPS; he doesn’t have technology. But he has enough of a technology, he needs to eat. He eats. That’s, a little crab knows that. How come we have forgotten it?
You know, the crab knows there is no value in him wearing an expensive watch and this and this—and I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear an expensive watch. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fancy cars; I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fancy homes. But don’t look at those as the source of your happiness. The source of your happiness is inside of you.
We’re speaking about peace and its capacity for development in an individual.
You’ve said “Know thyself” is what we all need to really go back to. However, peace seems to be, today, a theoretical construct. Practically, there are too many complex implications for the effective practicality. So, how do you suppose countries need to incorporate this theory of peace into practical implementation, in terms of methodology?
Well, we have to first begin with understanding what peace is. Because most of the world, in my traveling, I have understood, has no idea what peace is. For most people, peace is a utopia. It’s this world…. And yet they don’t understand how utopia came to be, (the word “utopia”).
There was a novel of the same name that was written—and the author, for the first time, introduced this word “utopia.” So, basically, the word actually means “no place like this”—utopia. And yet, we have created in our imagination, this scene….
Oh, and what is utopia? It is the exact opposite of our problems. In utopia, we don’t have to work. In utopia, everybody is happy. I mean, it is exactly a reverse of the world that we live in, that we don’t like.
If peace takes on the manifestation of utopia, (understanding what utopia means, “no place”), it’s never going to happen. It’s too impractical. To try to create in this world, an exact opposite world would be impossible!
But if peace is understood to be something that is already inside of you—peace is the experience, is the experience of the joy that is inside of you. Peace is the experience of clarity that is inside of you. Peace is the experience of that beauty that is inside of you. Peace is the experience of the light that is inside of you.
Your final words to the people watching us right now?
You are very fortunate; you are alive. The greatest of gifts has been given to you, the coming and going of this breath. This life is the most amazing thing you have.
You were born one day; one day you have to go. There’s no “and, ifs and buts” about it. What you have—is not the wall that you came through when you were born, or the wall you’re going to go through when you die. But in between those is life.
Life is dancing; life is calling your name. Life is calling you for joy, for happiness. And that is the reason why you like to be happy. Do it! Understand yourself; see yourself. See and awaken within you.
Don’t wait for other things to happen—what needs to happen for you has already taken place: you are alive. And there’s no better news than that.
Thank you very much; this was fantastic. Mr. Prem Rawat, global Peace Ambassador, speaking to News 1st. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Pleasure.