Courage in Peace
For more than twenty-five years, the small South Asian island of Sri Lanka was devastated by civil war. According to the United Nations, an estimated 80 to 100,000 people were killed and millions more were traumatized.
Since 2009, the nation has embarked on a challenging process of reconciliation—and in recent years, that process has included the Peace Education Program, embraced by the Bureau of Rehabilitation to help former fighters and civilians alike heal and build a culture of peace.
Prem Rawat, founder of the Peace Education Program, was invited by government officials to meet with ex-combatants and rehabilitation officers.
Individual: [male, translated onscreen]
I’m very happy to have seen you. In 1983 I was involved in the war, and I am now rehabilitated. Had I learnt the Peace Education Program before, I would not have got involved. But now I understand the truth inside, and we learnt it through your message.
In my life, even for my children or my grandchildren, if all those millions of people could only learn this. The Peace Education Program, we should learn it from an early age.
When you look at Sri Lanka now…. Thirty years ago there was war. After the war, now there’s no war in our country, but there are so many people affected by the war. This peace, when we see your video, it must go to everybody. Not only the people who have been involved in the war, it must go to everybody! It must reach everybody.
Umm, yeah, well, we are trying; we are trying. And so many schools now, we are starting the Peace Education Program, so people can have an understanding.
You are right: war punishes the innocent. And the first casualty of war is truth.
So, whatever has happened, and what can happen? The most amazing miracle is that the breath is still coming into you—and so far this breath keeps coming into you, you still have an agenda—and the agenda is life. Live it; understand it; feel the joy in your life; feel the clarity in your life. Grow. Be who you are. Understand what is inside of you. And be fulfilled.
Individual: [male, translated onscreen]
Good morning to everybody. I am an officer of the army. I am somebody who is very deeply involved in the rehabilitation process. And after this program, this peace, the peace between people, between races, to develop these, this program became a great resource.
And we are very happy; we have to be happy—that we are able to engage and connect on this occasion. And we wish that the peace in Sri Lanka, peace in the world, and the peace in the universe, to make it happen. We pray that you will have the strength and the courage to make it happen, now and in the future.
Thank you; thank you.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
As I travel the world and I say to people, “peace”—and people have no idea what peace is, no idea. For most people, escaping from their problems is peace.
You see, let me ask you a question, “Why do you want peace? Why? Why do you want peace?” [Individual: We want peace—because we are human.] Well, so what? You want dahl too. No? Do you like rice? [Individual: Yes, definitely.] Do you like rice? [Individual: Certainly.] So, you like rice too!
But that doesn’t say “rice is possible”; that says, “Peace is Possible.” Why do you want peace? [Individual: To be happy.] Ah, to be happy! Oh, how many of you want peace because it makes you happy? Raise your hand.
So, next question, “Why do you want to be happy?” [Individual: Because it feels good.] It feels good? And that’s why you want to be happy, because it feels good? [Audience: Yes, because it feels good.]
Why do you want to feel good? [Individual: Yeah…. It’s our nature.] Well, you have many natures. You have a nature to itch when it itches—but your parents have told, “Don’t stick your finger up your nose.” And sometimes your nose itches, but it’s not nice, so you resist, right?
You want to resist peace? [Audience: No.] You want to resist feeling good? [Audience: No.] You want to resist being happy? [Individuals: No, that’s what it’s for.]
So the question again becomes, “Why do you want to feel good? Why do you want to be happy? Why do you want peace?”
So, is your happiness not always there? Does happiness fall from the sky? Does happiness grow in the field? What is your happiness? I am asking these questions because I want to engage you. I want you to think! I want you to understand that peace isn’t running away from your problems. Peace isn’t about your problems. Peace isn’t about the good and bad; peace isn’t about the confusion. What is peace?
As human beings—as human beings, we have two parts to us. Why? It’s just a physical rule; you cannot have a one-sided coin. Every coin has two sides; even if you split the coin to get rid of one side, you will still have two sides. Just the law of nature, right?
So, every time you are confused, guess what the other side of that is—clarity, that far away. When you find yourself in darkness, light is that far away. When you find yourself in sorrow—happiness, joy is that far away. That—I’m just being, so you can see. It’s less distance than that, believe me.
And you have two natures in you. You have kindness; you have clarity; this is your nature too. Kindness, clarity, compassion, joy, light is your nature too—and confusion, anger, frustration is also your nature.
So, don’t get, you know, like, “Oh, yeah, yeah. I like that. I like, ‘Light is my nature.’”—no, darkness is your nature too. Darkness is your nature too—but so is light. So is light.
So there is a place in you, the place where that light is, where that joy is, where that clarity is, where that understanding is. And that, experiencing that place will bring you peace. That’s what peace is. That’s what peace is. If you want to call that “the Divine,” feel free. (It doesn’t matter, not to the Divine; it matters to you, not to the Divine. Never has; never will.)
What I tell you today is so that you can benefit in your life—that this life that you have is the most precious thing there is. Nothing will be more precious than this life that you have.
The tragedy—the tragedy is to have this life and not know it, to have the wealth and not recognize it, to have the Divine and never find it. That’s a tragedy. That’s a tragedy. Looking for what you always had and you never found it—because you didn’t need to look; you needed to discover.
This relationship of absence and presence—we don’t understand the presence; the presence is real. Absence is nothing.
What is the presence? The presence is, this breath just came into you; this is the presence. And we forget. We forget—we forget because we are playing the wrong game, not of the presence, but of the absence. And so far we keep this, this is the game, my friends, of ignorance. And what you are looking for—that word “peace” indicates knowledge, not ignorance.
And the world is trying to figure out, in the world of ignorance, “what knowledge means.” “Impossible.” I say, “Impossible. Impossible.” It’ll never figure it out—that’s why the world doesn’t know what peace is. Because we’re playing a game of ignorance with ourselves—and wars that we hate are a result, not of knowledge, but of ignorance.
So, which world do you want to live in? Which world do you want to live in? The world of presence? Or the world of absence?
If you want to live in the world of presence—not beliefs, but knowledge…. That’s what happens; when you live in the world of absence, you have to have beliefs because there’s nothing present. So, belief: “Believe it’s there; believe that’s there. Believe this there; believe this there; believe this there; believe this; gods live just slightly above the clouds….”
I’m a pilot—and I, when I travel around the world, I fly myself. And don’t you think, also being born in India, I keep a lookout? So, you’re climbing above the clouds and you’re going, “Hmm, anybody there; anybody there?”
Because you don’t want to hit a god…. And that will be messy. (Some of those gods go around in their own vessels, you know, and you don’t want—that would be messy.) There’s nothing there. Just clouds, more clouds, more clouds, more clouds, more clouds.
But, you live in the world of beliefs: “They are there.” You live in the world of “present,” in the world of knowledge…. “Where, where, where?” Then the answer is, “Here, here, here, here.”
Look within; turn within—it’s the most beautiful journey, most incredible journey. That’s the world of knowledge; that’s the world of peace; that’s the world of understanding that we are human beings, that we can all make a difference. And this is the possibility. This is the possibility.
In your life, goodness awaits—the Divine, for you, awaits to be discovered—joy, treasures! Hey, listen, you have no limit for joy. Pain, you do. After a little while, it’s too much; “Aaaah, I want out.” Joy, no limit.
You can be joyful every day for the rest of your life—not a problem. Not a problem. Not a problem. Sadness every day? Ugh, uh-huh, and you will find a big cliff somewhere—“Whsht.” And that’s what people do.
A lot of people think they’re insignificant. Right? “I’m nothing….” Ah! But this is where the Divine lives. This is where the light lives; this is where the goodness lives; this is where compassion lives; this is where kindness lives. What are you talking about, “insignificant”?
The only reason why you would want to pretend to be insignificant is so you can offload your responsibilities. “I’m nothing; I can’t do anything.”
And what is God? Presence or absence? Who are you, presence or absence? Are you beliefs? Because if you do not know yourself, you’re just beliefs—absence, not presence. When there is the possibility to know, you don’t stay in beliefs; you come to knowledge. And Knowledge of the self is the most beautiful knowledge there is.
Socrates said, “Know thyself. Know thyself.” Aristotle said, “To know others is wisdom; to know the self is Knowledge.” Then everything changes. Now you’re not taking a bucket—and trying to fill it with darkness and throw it out the window.
When sadness comes, you go, “Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa, whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa, whoa-whoa, wait-wait-wait-wait, wait-wait-wait-wait, wait-wait, wait.” Sadness comes; you go, “Wait-wait-wait-wait and where is the joy?” It’s like, “Oh, yeah, let me get rid of the sadness here.” No, bring the joy.
Welcome in your life, every day, the Divine—that is not only outside but also inside of you. Find the treasures within; live this life.
When everything is right in your life, there is something that happens—and let me tell you, (this is, again, sixty years talking), something happens—and you know everything is right…. You know how you know everything is right?
When your heart is full of gratitude, then you know—then you know. Not “gratitude to whom,” not “gratitude for what?” No, no, no, no, none of that; just when your heart is full of gratitude, then you know all is well. All is well. Life is blessed.