WITH PREM RAWAT
COUNTDOWN TO PEACE EDUCATION PROGRAM
N17 (N1) Pretoria
I’m here today in a free South Africa.
But we have to make sure that the freedom is not only outside, but the freedom is also on the inside. Because without the freedom that is inside, freedom outside really doesn’t matter.
Peace Education Program Facilitator
Kabelo Moses Padi:
We see that people are thirsty for this kind of message to come to them.
UDF – OUR STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION
IS A STRUGGLE FOR PEACE
Kabelo Moses Padi:
Because especially here in Soweto—Soweto, it’s a township in which most of the apartheid activities have occurred. And I think the message will really educate our local communities to say, “Peace begins with you—your inner peace.”
Youth Development Coordinator
City of Joburg Department of Social Development
Before and after I attended the Peace Education Program, it’s different. Because before, I never had a clear understanding of peace—but it was only the general peace, which is the social peace. After I got the message which was shared by His Excellency Prem Rawat, I got the understanding of inner peace.
Blossoming in South Africa
PEP continues to blossom in South Africa, as a growing number of NGOs, schools and training centers have integrated the workshops into their programs. Ernest Leketi and the passionate team of volunteers in Soweto have played a key role in expanding the reach of programs in that historic township and beyond.
When we engage communities, you find young people who lost hope. But once they’re introduced to the Peace Education Program, they now start to respect themselves to take themselves very seriously.
PEP Support Team South Africa
It doesn’t point to their problems; it points to them as a source of hope, as a source of energy to take things forward.
It taught me to love, not to have grudges and to forgive people who have hurt me.
I was a person full of anger—even a simple thing, I would snap. But through the program, it taught me to be chilled, not to take things abruptly or act in a manner which I might be ashamed of tomorrow. So, there was transformation because I’ve got to learn new things, new techniques on how to avoid situations which might lead me into trouble.
PEP Participant: [female]
For me, this whole program has just, it basically introduced me to me. And it showed me that, in order to be good with other people, I’d have to start with me first.
A Formula for Peace
Prem Rawat in Soweto, South Africa
You have to remember one thing—and one thing that you have to remember is, you are not your problems.
Whatever the problems may be, whatever the problems may come and go, you are not your problem. You are a human being; you have a certain power; you have a certain strength. And problems are like clouds—they come; they go; sometimes they are big; sometimes they’re small; sometimes they’re not there—and sometimes they’re there, everywhere!
But the mountain that sits on the ground does not move with the clouds, doesn’t become bigger or smaller with the clouds. You are the mountain; clouds are your problems. So, here is the story.
One day, there was a man who had never seen elephants—he had never seen an elephant. So he decided that he wanted to go see an elephant, so he inquired—and he was told that there is a village in Africa where they have big elephants. So the man made his journey to Africa—he went and he saw very big elephants. And never having seen the elephants, he was really surprised.
And then he looked and he saw that the elephants were tied with a very small thin rope around their feet—and that was it. So, he was surprised: “Such a big elephant, only being held in place by a small little rope?”
So he went to the chief—and he said, “Chief, these elephants, they’re strong, aren’t they?” And the chief goes, “Oh, yes, they’re very, very strong.” He said, “Chief, I have a question. How can such a big animal, so strong, so powerful, be held back with just this tiny little rope?”
And the chief said, “Oh-ho, let me explain. When they were babies, we used to tie them with this rope. And they tried to move but they couldn’t move. And we kept them like that.
“And now that they have grown big and strong, they stopped trying. And they think that this tiny rope can still hold them in place. Of course, if they tried, this rope cannot hold back such a powerful animal—but the elephants have given up trying.”
So, why did I tell this story—because in a way, this is what is happening. Who we are, who you are is much bigger than the sum of your problems. But these problems come and they’re holding you back—and you do not realize your own power. You don’t realize your own strength—that as a human being you have the strength in you to go beyond these barriers.
If you dream of a clear day, it is possible. If you dream of a country that gives you opportunity and hope, it is possible. And who is going to do it—you have to do it.
We, the people of this planet Earth, are the people responsible for its destiny. We look towards leaders to solve our problems. These so-called “leaders” have been failing us year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year—and we just sit there; go, “Yes, fix it.” How?!
Our reliance needs to be on us! Not on the leaders—us. Us, bringing hope to each other; us, lighting the way for each other.
One thing that, before I came here, I was having a meeting with some of the people. And I said to them that “Even when you have your problems, even when you have situations that are not good, the good is always there.” The good is always there.
If one morning you wake up and you open your door—and it’s foggy, very hard fog, very dense fog. Does that mean everything has disappeared? It’s still there—you cannot see it, but it is still there. And when the fog lifts, it will come back.
This requires patience. This requires patience. But if you only have patience and you are doing nothing else, it’s not going to work. You cannot just sit there and go, “Okay, okay, what can I do; what can I do; what can I do; what can I do?”
Do whatever it takes. Do whatever it takes—and people will say, “Well, what can you do about the fog?” Move! Move to a place where they don’t have fog. You don’t like fog; move to a place where you don’t have fog.
But people sit there and go, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got terrible problems. I have got….” Because we like to complain. We love to complain.
If we had nothing to complain—and two people met each other on the street, I don’t know what they would say to each other. They would be like…. “I don’t know what to say.”
But we love to complain; we love to complain about God: “Look what….” And just recently I saw an article where somebody said, “Oh, God is terrible; God is this; God is this.” Why are you complaining? God made you; you made your problems—why are you blaming God? God made you—and you are the god of your problems. You created your problems.
And are you more important in your world—are you more important than your problems? No. Problems come to eat you and you go, “Here, which hand would you like to eat first? Would you like my leg first; would you like my head first? What?”
This is not strength. This is weakness. This is not clarity. This is doubt. This is not your life; this is not who you are. You are that powerful elephant—who has forgotten who he is, who she is.
So, four things: I will give you a formula to be in peace, to be happy—and here it is, four things. (It’s really good. It’s easy.) One: (And I’m writing a book on this.) One: “Know yourself.” You don’t know yourself? You’re going to be a ping-pong, just bouncing off this wall, bouncing off that wall, bouncing off that wall…. This is what you’re going to be.
Two—“Have gratitude in your life. Be thankful.” Because gratitude will bring you appreciation—and appreciation will bring you gratitude. Appreciate what you have.
The problem of greed in this world? One thing a greedy person cannot do, and you know what that is? Appreciate. As soon as a greedy person starts appreciating, greed stops. That’s what they cannot do.
There are people in this world who, every day, want to make “more money, more money, more money, more money, more money.” If they started appreciating the money they have, they would stop making it. So, they want to make more money—and so they don’t appreciate what they have; they just want more and more and more. So, the second thing is gratitude.
Third thing—very important for you; pay attention—third thing. (All these are very important.) Third thing: “If you fail—if you fail, don’t accept failure. Separate failing and failure.”
What do you think? Do you understand what I’m saying? (Fail and failure?) Let me give you an example. And here is the example—you have all done this. You have all experienced in your life that you failed but you did not accept failure. Do you know that?
When you were a tiny baby and you were learning how to walk, you failed. You got up—and you went, “Yeah-aaaah, bonk!” You failed! Right? But you did not accept failure. You got up again—and you went…. And you failed again! But you did not accept failure. You got up again.
Today, when you fail, what happens? What happens to you when you fail today? Finished: depression, “Oh my God, what’s going to happen to me; I failed?”
You think the little baby does that? “I’m depressed. I failed….” And this failing can go on a whole day, two days, three days, four days, five days, six days, seven days, eight days, nine days, ten days. But because the baby failed but never accepted failure, the baby succeeds. But you fail and immediately accept failure.
So, remember now, “Know yourself”—this will bring you peace. Knowing yourself will bring you peace. “Gratitude, appreciation” will bring you happiness. “Failing but never accepting failure” will bring you hope. Because now, you will look at the whole world a different way. If you fail? “Ha-ha, no problem; try again.” Hope! That’s what hope is.
When you see no door, when you see no path, when you see no road, that is the end of hope. That’s the end of hope. You see no other chance. But if you see another door, another road, another way, another path, hope: “I’ll go that way. I’ll go that way.” And that’s what it is.
And the fourth thing. Ah-ha-ha-hah, I know the fourth thing is going to be shocking to you—because of your culture; I understand your culture. Indian culture is very similar—and it’s because of that. But now, we’re talking about being in peace—and having a happy life, right?
So, the last thing, very important: “Don’t care about what other people think of you.” Don’t. So, you’re sitting there going, “Oh, yeah, I wonder what he’s thinking, and I’m, and I bet he thinks I am crazy and—and, I think he’s thinking that, you know, I’m no good and I, neh-neh, naah….”
As soon as you stop caring about what other people think of you—you empower yourself to be strong. So, I know this is difficult—but here are the four things. If you can take these four things and really take them to heart in your life, I guarantee you a change.
Because these are the things that put us in a box—and we forget who we are, that we are the powerful elephant, and these things that we call “problems,” they can’t keep us. But we have forgotten, and we think these ropes are much stronger than they actually are.
So, I wanted to tell you that—and I hope you think about it. That’s all I want you to do, at least, think about it.