Shanti. I see God as Shanti. Shanti is the nature of God. My God is Shanti and has no form no other name. God is all peaceful, all serenity—the peace that cannot be expressed by words. Even to say the word “peace,” in a way limits, the expression of that very peace. It is to be felt, to be experienced within oneself. Fortunate are such people who see God as peace in themselves. Those who have seen God as the peace within can see God everywhere as peace: in the midst of calamities, even in the midst of terrible wars. In all circumstances they feel peace everywhere. Because when you are in peace, you are in God, you are with God. That is why, knowingly or unknowingly, the whole world is now after peace. Everywhere you see people waiting for peace, hurting for peace, in a way, hunting for peace. Through everything they want peace. Some people want peace through fighting and wars, some through music, some through art, some through learning. Maybe some through sleeping. The ultimate quest of the entire world is peace, peace, peace.
Only in peace do we have joy. Not by acquiring things. Not by doing things. Not by earning or learning. Not by reaching a position. But by dedication. Without peace there is no joy and without dedication there is no peace.
Your entire life must be a sacrifice. Complete selflessness. You should think for the sake of others, eat for the sake of others, and breathe for the sake of others. So every action, even these so-called selfish actions—our own eating, sleeping, drinking, breathing, dressing—even such very personal acts should ultimately aim at bringing some benefit to others, serving others.
Sacrifice is the law of life. But it is for our sake, and we are not really sacrificing anything. When we say, “Be selfless, be dedicated, become sacrificed,” it’s not to make you a loser, but, on the other hand, to make you the great, great profiteer. In a way, the most selfish people becomes the most selfless. Why? They don’t want to lose their joy, lose their peace. It is in them always. That’s their property, given to them, and they want to cling to that. They want to protect that; they don’t want to lose it. In that respect, they are selfish—selfish in retaining the peace. But selfless also in that they become dedicated. Because they know that by running after things they disturb their peace, by acquiring things they disturb their peace, by living a selfish life they disturb their peace, so they want to be selfless. So the selfless people are the most selfish. But that selfishness will not only make them happy, but will make everybody that comes in contact with them happy. Because they are peace personified; the very presence of such people will make you peaceful, make you happy. In that sense they are not selfish.
A candle when it is lit, expresses itself, and it expresses the other things around it. Can we say that the candle wants to show itself to us and therefore it’s burning? No, we can’t. The candle shows itself by burning, but at the same time it shows every other thing also. That is why those who have found peace in themselves, who are rooted in that peace, will bring peace unto others. Not peaceless people—they might talk, but they can’t bring peace. Talking will not bring peace. The peace must be found within. That is found by a dedicated life: Ishvara Pranidhana, dedicating everything in the name of God. That’s why we bow down to God, we kneel down, we offer ourselves. That’s why we say, “I am Thine, all is Thine.”
If everybody thinks of others, and their benefit, where is the war? All these calamities, wars, fights, and quarrels are because people think of themselves. “I want something. I want the preference. Let me have this place,” while the other person also says, “Why not me? Let me also have this.” Then there is a fight. All these border disputes and this and that. Each one wants to possess something for themselves. But if there is loving and giving even under very difficult situations, critical conditions, then hundreds of thousands of people can live comfortably, sleep comfortably, eat comfortably, smile at each other.
To a dedicated person, peace is guaranteed. That person is always in supreme peace and supreme joy. That is the peace we want.
By Sri Swami Satchidananda, from the Integral Yoga Magazine Archives. This is the first article by Swami Satchidananda that appeared in the very first issue of Integral Yoga Magazine, December 1969.