Prem Rawat in conversation
With Peace Day Founder Jeremy Gilley
Visible onscreen, book title:
Peace Is Possible
You know, is peace a kind of a universal language, right—[PR: Umm-hmm, right.] because of course, it could be different in Italian and it could be different in Japanese or in French or in German or in English, whatever—Arabic. [PR: Umm.]
Is, is peace—you know, can it be talked about in one way; do you see what I mean? [PR: Yeah.] Is there any differentiation between, you know, cultures, in relation to the essence of peace?
Not so much the cultures, but the human beings themselves. Everybody has different-colored glasses. So when you mention the word “peace,” they have their own definition of what peace is.
So, if somebody’s in a country where it’s, food is the problem, then it’s like, “Okay, if everybody had food we would have peace.” If somebody is in a war-torn situation like Syria or Iraq or so many other places, “that’s peace.” [JG: And, yeah.] But you have to get—you have to establish that, and get beyond that to really define and talk about what peace really is.
Yeah, yeah—it’s very interesting, this, because I know exactly what you mean. Having traveled like you have, (I mean, it’s 133 countries)—or wherever, whatever it is, whatever the number is, [PR: Umm-hmm.] but we’re traveled a lot. And you’re absolutely right; the conversation of peace is completely different, you know, in each place.
And interestingly—you know, we’re sort of getting into technology now, and I know that you’re a great lover of technology; [PR: Umm-hmm.] I mean, that’s why—I spoke to you, the sort of, [PR: Yeah.] “the Jedi!” [PR: The Jedi.] You know, I mean, what you do, flying, filming, you know, writing—I mean it’s just, it’s inspirational.
But, I was sort of thinking that, you know, technology—sometimes I hear people say, “Oh, yeah, but, you don’t need to worry about what’s going on in the developed world; you need to be thinking about, you know, what’s going on in places where these conflicts are going.”
And I’m thinking to myself, “No, actually—no, they’re not—you’re not worried about food right now. And that, you know, you’ve got a roof over your head. We, who have the privilege of that situation, must be, really come involved. We, we’ve been given that gift and that opportunity to become involved.” Do you think along those lines sometimes?
Yeah, I do. And because, one of the things I see is, the conflict that is happening in what we consider the “Third World countries” is actually initiated by the First World countries.
You know, it takes a lot of money and it takes a lot of technology to start a war these days. And that technology is not technology that was born in the Third World countries—it’s First World country technology that comes and starts, [JG: Umm-hmm.] you know, devastating people’s lives. [JG: Yeah.]
To me, the peace that I talk about—because, you know, “no war,” or “no this problem” or “no that problem”—these are results of something that is amiss inside us.
So, is there a reason why people go hungry? There is absolutely no logical reason—because the amount of food that is thrown away—every day, if it was gathered and handled properly….
Because the earth produces more food than is required, even at this stage of the game. But why are people going hungry, then—if there is more food than is necessary, and plenty to feed everybody, why are people…? It is not about food—it is about distribution, (as people start to hoard)—not food, but distribution of that food, then people start to become hungry.
So, I just see that so much, in the Western world…. And look at it, you know—are you really voting for lawmakers in the Western world? Because that’s what we’re told, “Oh, yeah, you know, vote for this person; they’re going to, yeah….”
But when they are elected, they go into their—it is the lobbyists who are creating the laws. [JG: And, yeah.] And what is being protected; not the people….
Will this change, should this change, can this change? I’m not a politician—but I know one thing. That there is enough goodness in every single human being on the face of this earth, that if that was brought out, if that was allowed to be nurtured, that there would be one simple thing that would happen—not sympathy, but empathy.
It would be the first time that the world will start to use knowledge wisely.
We are after accruing knowledge, but we don’t accrue wisdom. And so it’s like, in a cockpit, pilots know there is a checklist—all pilots know there is a checklist—but to use the checklist is wisdom.
And it’s the same thing. To accrue knowledge, (yeah, I mean), invent new things—like even the phones. And all of a sudden, when you don’t use the phone wisely, it can actually land you in the hospital; people have been killed because they were using their phone. [JG: Yeah. Yeah.]
So, to me, these are the little things that need to happen, and understanding yourself is the first primary step to peace.
Umm, umm. Yeah, wow. I mean, I’m just—I mean, there are so many things that I’m thinking as I hear you talk. (And I’m sure, you know, people who are listening to it are, of course, we’re all thinking you’re inspiring us and provoking thoughts….)
When I saw you six years ago, I…. I mean, I was thinking about Peace Day; you know, you’re obviously thinking about Peace Is Possible. We’re talking; we’re trying to inspire; we’re trying to promote—we’re doing anything that we can—I mean, the incredible work that you’ve been doing in prisons for years, I mean, extraordinary….
There’s something that’s really, now, worrying, isn’t there—and that is the amount of time that we have left in terms of our resources, and the way in which we’ve treated this beautiful planet that we have, and….
More and more my conversations now, Prem, over the last, (I don’t know), five years, I would say—really in the last five years, particularly in the last couple—as I’ve spoken with people who are very, very knowledgeable, (I’ve ended up on a platform with them), they’ve said, “You know, 350 to 400 years left of human beings.” I mean—and they’re very, very knowledgeable people.
You know, you talk about the checklist? You know, we know the checklist. And with the wisdom, is there time? I mean, I am…. Also personal experiences in understanding human beings and what they say and what they do—I mean, I am concerned; I’m worried; I’m frightened and I’m sad.
So, the analogy that comes to mind, hearing this is, your house is on fire—and you’re standing outside—you’re fine but [JG: Yeah.] your house is on fire.
So, you can stand there and you go, “Guess what, guys; my house is on fire.” Five minutes later, “You know what? My house is on fire.” [JG: Yeah.] Six minutes later: “My house is on fire. My house is on fire; my house is on fire; my house is on fire; my house is on—my, my house is burning down; my house is going to burn down; my house is going to burn down….”
And if you keep doing this, that’s exactly what’s going to happen—your house is going to burn down. [JG: Right, yeah.]
Because what you need to do—is grab a bucket; grab a hose—and don’t sit there and lecture about how the house is on fire. Do something about that fire!
And I’m just saying that because just very recently there was a huge fire where I live—and many, many houses, unfortunately, were devastated; my neighbor’s house was devastated.
But it takes a proactive approach to alter this, to change this scenario. And my thing is, we have the possibility to change it—but we have to stop looking at it as “we,” and we have to say, “Every single individual has to be empowered.”
We don’t, when we walk on a stage…. And it really needs to be, “I am here”—not “we are here”—“I am here on this stage. I want to tell you the possibility of what we, (collectively and as individuals) can do to change this scenario.”
The problem happens—is, as soon as that “I” goes to “we”—as soon as it goes to “we,” people say, “He’ll fix it. He needs to change. I don’t need to change; I don’t need to fix it; I don’t have the problem.”
I’ve seen this; this is sixty years of experience talking, you know?
And it can be changed. It can be changed, and it can be changed. It can be changed, and the reason why it can be changed is because this problem that we are addressing right now is created by human beings—and if it is created by human beings, they can reverse it too. [JG: Yeah.]
You know, this is—this is a gift that we are here—this planet, the beautiful ocean, the rivers, the forests, the butterflies, that every bit of it is spectacular. And what we have done is taken it and used it without understanding the consequences of our actions. This is a disease with human beings—we act like we know what the consequence will be—but we actually don’t.
And so we have done a lot of things that we thought are good—but we didn’t really understand what their consequences were. [JG: Yeah.] And now, those consequences are starting to surface. And they’re reversible; they can be reversed. Every scientist I listen to, that’s the good news about everything that they have to say at the end of it: “It can be reversed.”
Right. So, yeah, I mean, but what we know and what you know, and what I’m listening to and what I’m hearing is that, you know, we’ve got to get to the individuals—whether it’s in that place where the rocks are, in the middle of absolutely nowhere—or whether it’s in New York City, or in London, Sydney, whatever.
We’ve got to, you know, we’ve got to try and engage, (haven’t we), that sense of individuals understanding that they, they are the ones who can change the world—and then, collectively, obviously, we can—you know, we can shift the level of consciousness around the fundamental issues that we face.
And that’s all it takes. [JG: Yeah.] It’s, and you don’t have to push the box all the way. Just enough, [JG: Yeah.] just enough, and once it tips the balance? It’s fine.
Yeah. I want—I just wanted to talk about three things, just to help me—and maybe it helps some others. Can you just talk to me a little bit about the importance of family?
And, you know, when I think about the world and I think about peace, I think about, you know, if my family—and if my family’s together and one…. And if we can do that on a global scale, then we’d sort of create world peace. Can you just tell me about the importance of us really holding ourselves together? (Talk to me a little bit about that.)
Well, a family is that unit that’s a bumper in the front, so when a blow comes, it can soften it. [JG: Wow.] The family is the nourishing, nurturing, somebody who can understand when nobody else will understand you. More than your friends…. And obviously, somebody who can give you advice, even at the peril of your anger—and give you good advice.
A family is you in another form. It’s like, not just one flower, but a tree that flowers—that’s a family. [JG: Yeah.] And to me, to have that family, to have an understanding of that family, and not to berate that family, not to second that family, but to understand that that’s number one….
And look at nature; it’s not about just one flower. A plant will not just be satisfied with one flower—another one, another one, another one, another one, and before you know it, it’s a family.
And its mission, its job, its purpose, whatever it is in this world, will be fulfilled far greater and far more beautifully when it is flowering and there are a whole bunch of flowers on that plant, not just one flower.
Yeah, amazing, amazing. And that, yeah, I mean, on Peace Day, 21st September, one of the things that we’ve always said is like, “Bring the….”
Somebody’s like, “You know, well, what can I do?” I’m like, “Well, you know, bring the family together.” You know, bring the family together; be one on that day, you know, with the sort of global family, and also the ones that we have. And so hopefully, we’ll see a lot of that, you know, going on, on the Day.
So, but a little bit about love. [PR: Umm-hmm-hmm.] Yeah, that’s like, you know—and I was sort of just thinking at the weekend, you know—I was with my little girl, and I, you know, I just sort of…. You know, I just adore her, right? My, my entire existence, like, nothing comes first, you know, like….
You know, when I’m with her, that’s, there’s no—it’s about Rose. It’s not about the work, right—and it has to, and it has to be that way for me and I love it. How do I contain it, you know? I mean, like, you know, I love her so much, [PR: Umm-hmm.] I kind of just sort of want to do everything….
I mean, have you ever sort of felt that? Have you, have you any sort of words of wisdom for us, you know, both in terms of personal relationships or with family relationships? When you love so much, you know, it can kind of almost sometimes be too much….
It never is.
It never is? Okay, great.
It never can be. It can never be. [JG: Okay.] Stop thinking—start loving. [JG: Yeah.]
Don’t think about love. Feel the love in your life; it’s a gift. It always won’t be the same. It won’t. [JG: Yeah.] It changes. You will change—and one day you won’t be here. [JG.: Yeah.] So, love like there is no tomorrow. Stop thinking about what it all means; start loving.
If we did that, this world would be a different place today.
Fantastic. And what about—and what about, (I mean, these are, yeah, these were big thoughts), but what about death? You know, I mean I, I’m getting—I’m now fifty years old. And I’m, you know, looking at my mum and dad, and I’m thinking, “Wow, you know, you guys are like, doing so well….”
But I think about, you know, not so long ago when I helped my mum say goodbye to her mum. I mean, and you know, is that the—is it the same as love—I mean, we just love…?
I mean, you know, it’s like, I look and I just, I, I get frightened. I think, “You know, and you guys are amazing in the support that you’ve given me and encouraged me,” and I’m just like—the idea of them not being around is a, just like….
Will they, will they—is that what you’re afraid of, that they won’t be around?
Yeah, I think it is, a little bit. Sometimes I look at them and I think, “Well, what would I do when I have the moments that are tough—and I would ring my mum or I’d ring my dad and go, ‘Hey…?’” You know, and it’s like, “Yeah, you’re there; you’re there.” And I worry about sometimes, that they’ll not be there.
Well, you won’t ever lose them. They live in you—and they will always live in you. You’ll never lose them. So far you’re alive, they will live inside of you. [JG: Yes….]
It’s just like the moon and earth. That moon was born of the earth. It is no longer part of the earth, but it is always part of the earth. It influences. That wisdom that they gave you when you called them in times of trouble, that’s in you. That’s not going away.
That, that’ll—it’s, don’t worry about death, because death is automatic; you don’t have to make an appointment; you don’t have to go see anybody—no, no, it comes.
Don’t be in fear of losing what you will not lose—because they will be in you. Genetically, you are a part—you’re just like a moon. You came from them. You will orbit. They will be there for you—in your memories, they will laugh; they will dance; they will tell you things; they—but it’s a wonderful thing, human beings.
And no fear, no fear. Take that energy that you use to be afraid, to be concerned—and use it just to love. Love them like there’s no tomorrow. And then they’ll be closer to you than you realize.
Wow, yeah. It’s a beautiful thought—thank you, Prem. It’s amazing to see you again.
Good to see you too, Jeremy.
Okay. Thank you.