Maharaji at the Universal Forum of Cultures
So often peace is defined as the absence of war. There is war that happens between two countries. There is war that takes place between two people. There is war that doesn't even require two people; it takes place inside of a person. For a war on the outside, maybe a cease‑fire can be negotiated. Between two people, maybe an understanding can be negotiated. But even in the absence of those kinds of wars, there is a war that takes place inside a human being—a much more ferocious war that devastates the very elements that are the foundation of a person. Which of these wars will become absent so that one day we can stand up and say, "Now there is peace"?
Those people who have talked about peace in earnest have said, "What you are looking for is within you. You are the source and you are the resource for peace on the face of this earth." This is the realization, the understanding, and the challenge of feeling peace in this life—not being distracted by all our agendas, but accepting and understanding the agenda we have been given with the opportunity to be alive.
Maybe we cannot create breath, but we have the potential to appreciate breath. Maybe we cannot create love, but we have the potential to experience love. When we begin to look at our own possibilities, at what we have been given and what potential we do have, we can also begin to shine in our lives, just like that beautiful full moon. All of us have that potential. It begins with fundamental understandings. It begins with understanding our similarities, not our differences.
Right now in this world, we look at what country people are from, what language they speak, what they do. In a survival situation where, let's say, people are in a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere, they're not talking about where they are from. Anything that is unnecessary is dropped in favor of what is necessary to survive. It is necessary to collect water, to stay away from the hostile elements, and to have food.
With all our differences, we're not that different. Our quests are similar. The need for peace is not created by a document. It is created by a fundamental desire innate to all human beings, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful. It is that innate desire that has, throughout history, pushed us again and again to find peace. The want, the concept, the idea of peace did not start this year or last year or the year before.
Peace is so fundamental that, for as long as people have been on the face of the earth, this is what they have looked forward to. This is what they have wanted.
The precedence for peace has to begin somewhere; it cannot just be ignored. There is plenty of precedence for ignoring peace, and it has brought so much misery. It is incumbent upon us to have the strength to say, "Peace today, not tomorrow." It would be sad if another generation were to go by ignoring the very basic and fundamental call to have peace on this earth.
This is a vessel and we are its inhabitants. We have the possibility of making a difference. I am not telling anyone what to do so there will be peace. I am saying, "Whatever it takes, let us have peace. Whatever it takes." If we can go to the moon, we surely should be able to figure that out. Why does it have to be such a mystery? Why is it that, when it comes to going to the moon, nobody has a problem, but when it comes to having peace, everybody has their own opinion? Why can't we put aside our differences? Why can't we put aside our opinions for the sake of peace? What is so wrong with peace? What is so bad about having peace?
Is it a dream? It cannot be. Dreams only happen when you're asleep. Peace will only happen if we awaken. People say, "I have too many responsibilities." But this is your responsibility, too. You may be fulfilling all the other ones and ignoring this very fundamental one. Let today be the day when you take a step toward yourself in the truest and most earnest way of looking for peace. The day you start looking for peace, peace will start looking for you. The day you start recognizing your potential, your potential will start recognizing you. This is how it works.
Whatever it takes, find that peace, and for the rest of your life, enjoy that beautiful peace that has been lying in wait within you. It begins with you. You are the source. You are the source for the thirst, and you are the well in which the sweetest water resides. Within you are both the thirst and the means to quench it. Begin by accepting this possibility in your life. That is where your answer lies. You have had the question for a long time. Now it is time to get the answer and get on with your life—in joy, in harmony, and with understanding. Now is the time to begin to enjoy the rest of your life.
Enjoy every day for the rest of your life. If there ever was a gift, this is the gift. If there ever was a time, this is the time. If ever there was an opportunity, then this is the opportunity. This is my message.
It begins with each one of you. It will be everyone's effort that will make peace possible—each one of us. And yes, peace is very, very possible. I see the possibility, and you need to see it, too.
After all, wherever you go and whatever you do, your heart will not leave you alone because it, alone, holds the quest for peace. You cannot run from it. You cannot evade it. Be sincere toward this existence. Be sincere toward today. Be sincere toward tomorrow as it comes and unfolds itself into today. All those promises will only come together today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is just an idea. Today is when all tomorrows manifest. In today, find your reality; in today, find your courage. And today, find the possibility of being in peace, being in joy, being in the reality that you are.