In order to have a better world we must learn to think of the globe as a whole. Our world leaders need to be more selfless and sacrificing. Only by having a universal and spiritual vision can we bring positive change into the political field. A person who is really interested in making positive changes will never resort to violence to effect political reform. The approach has to be nonviolent.
Anything achieved through violence will not last long; it will leave an enemy sitting somewhere plotting against you. If instead, you make a friend, you need not be afraid of the other person; and he or she need not be afraid of you. Permanent peace can never be achieved by violent means.
In war there is no winner. Who creates war? The bombs don’t drop by themselves. It is the people behind them, the human minds that create war. All the wars are in the human mind. A little peace can change the mind, and it doesn’t take that much time. By devoting a few minutes a day to meditation—to peace prayers—you can send out nice vibrations that will go around the globe and influence political leaders.
If we want peace, we cannot constantly talk about others as our enemies. The best way to achieve victory is to see that both parties are victors. How? Make the others your friends; see yourself in everybody. As long as you treat another group as your enemy, you will never find peace. If you want peace, bring friendship. By putting out positive thoughts, you can even make that enemy into a friend. I know that can be very hard to do. But we don’t necessarily have to treat people who do wrong things as enemies. They should be approached with compassion and friendliness.
Remember, there is no power higher than love. Hatred breeds hatred; violence breeds violence. If we sincerely want world peace, we have to depend on our soul force, not on anything else. When our efforts fail, when we have nothing else, then we think of a Higher Power and turn to that force. And that is what soul force is; that is what prayer is all about. Mahatma Gandhi was a great example of this principle. He demonstrated that, by being a peaceful activist and trusting in soul power, one could liberate an entire country. That is how India gained her independence. Mahatma Gandhi, U Thant, Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others were great humanitarians in public life. We need more people like these to lead and inspire.
We need to use the spiritual teachings of our chosen faith to help us have real love for one another. Do you realize that even war is based on love? Unfortunately, that love is misplaced or limited in some way. If you want to throw a bomb on another country, you may feel that you’re doing it for the sake of your country—because you love your country. Fine, you love your country, but don’t you think the other person will love his or her own country in the same way? If your love is universal, how can you bomb someone else?
If we want to be happy, we should work for the happiness of all people everywhere. That is the only way to achieve real peace and contentment. Unless the human mind is freed from greed, jealousy, and hatred, there will be more and more wars. If you free your own mind of all these problems, at least that little part of the world will be free from trouble. If we want a world free from violence, we should free ourselves from every kind of violence—in thought, word, and deed. If we want a peaceful world first we must have a peaceful mind. There is a saying, “As the person, so the world; as the mind, so the person.” Change the mind, you change the person; change the person, you change the community, the society, the nation, or the world.
We always can make our world a little better, more peaceful. How? If we maintain our own inner peace. My Guru, Swami Sivanandaji, used to say that you should always keep the magic wand of Yoga with you. Touch everything with that wand and you can transform every action into Yoga. Yoga is not only about standing on the head. It should help you to stand better on your own two feet. Everything should be done in the yogic spirit. If somebody is driving slowly, don’t keep on honking the horn at them. Even in the midst of the little botherations of everyday life, you should maintain a consciousness of Yoga and compassion.