2012 Nordic Peace Conference Address
A message from Prem Rawat to students, faculty, parents, and two generations of peace makers at the 2012 Nordic Peace Conference.
Today I'd like to talk to you about peace.
Now I know that just about everybody has their own interpretation of what peace is.
But peace for me is something that comes from the heart of human beings, not from the minds.
In this world there is so much greed, and really so much of this stuff that goes on - the wars, the differences.
And we need to look at what is real.
For me the reality exists within us, a simple reality, a simple understanding.
Peace is a requirement for us, each individual on the face of this earth.
Because, when we look at the this world today with all these things that are happening, you cannot but help understand one thing, and that is that people all around are starting to lose their humanity.
And what do I mean by humanity? We need to understand that we are human.
We need to understand that that's good, not bad.
Not mediocrity, but something that is good.
It seems like over the years the word "humanity" or being human has been associated with something negative.
We say, "To err is human." We are capable of making errors, this is true.
But we are also capable of making other things happen in this world.
If we can just remember that we have both things that we can do.
Yes we can create problems, yes we can create wars, yes we can be susceptible to greed, yes, we can be susceptible to anger, yes, we can be susceptible to fear.
But at the same time we have the capacity, we have the ability to have peace, to live in harmony with this world, to invent, to create those things that will help each other, and be on this earth, not as somebody who's just into making errors, but somebody who's there to uplift our own lives, to move beyond certain rationales, to move beyond certain thresholds that have limited us and that continue to limit us.
Those thresholds that we have placed, whether knowingly or unknowingly, they limit us in our perspective.
They limit us in expression of being human, of being here.
Because look at it - you know, single-handedly of all the species that are on the face of this earth, as human beings we are just into destroying the very planet that we exist on.
And yes, there are a lot of ideas, and people have written about it, and people have discussed about it.
But this isn't time for discussion.
This isn't time to just go, "Hmm, wonder what this is." No, this is time to act to be.
And where does it begin? It begins from every single individual.
It begins with us, with us, each one of us.
On the face of this earth, right now, tragedies abound.
And these tragedies are so incredibly unnecessary.
We have lost the ability to see their value of another being on this earth.
Everything has been compartmentalized: good, bad, right, wrong.
In the name of religion, people fight.
That is unconceivable.
How could that be? Because religion is about peace, religion is about wonderful things.
But people have taken that issue and they fight with each other.
Where they should be respecting life, they look at life as something that is trivial.
What happened? What happened that we got to this point where the respect, the basic respect for one another is gone? To see somebody, whether they are Muslim or they are Hindu or they're Christian, and say, "Enjoy.
Enjoy your connection, enjoy what you believe in." What happened, that all of a sudden it's like, "No, you are inferior, I am superior." is this what culture is about? I think there are a wonderful things.
But we are ignoring them every single day.
How long is it gonna go on? I am a voice for peace.
This is a small voice, but when it joins with the voice of all the people who want peace, who want peace, then this becomes a very, very big voice.
It is amazing to see anyone make effort, and to even ask, "What can i do so that we can have peace on this earth in our lifetime?" You know, there are people who are very greedy, there are people who don't care.
But, in my opinion that is a minority.
The majority of the people on the face of this earth want peace.
And if this is true, then peace on earth is a very achievable objective.
People say, "It's not going to happen." Well, let this time belong to those who believe it can happen, not to the ones who say it cannot.
They've tried it their way, and nothing has happened that is good.
Here, today, is the result card, is the report card.
And when you look at it, we are destroying our own atmosphere, we're destroying our own planet, we're destroying our own rivers, we're destroying our own oceans, we're destroying other species that have nothing to do with, you know, contributing thought or contributing ideas.
And we are, every day, every day, 24/7, destroying, destroying, destroying, destroying.
It is hard for us to create something without destroying something first.
For me, for you, peace is not just a solution to a problem.
Peace is important, peace is necessary for our well being, for the world being of all those that share this planet with us.
It's not just an idea, it is a necessity.
Peace has been talked about for ages.
Yes, wars have existed for ages, people have fought with each other for ages,but at the same time there has been that voice that has always existed, "Let there be peace." With all our technology, with all our understanding, with all our aspirations, why can't we aspire to have peace on the face of this earth? There's a small story, and the story is: there was once an archer, and he would go from town to town exhibiting his ability to shoot an arrow with deadly accuracy.
And as he would exhibit his forte, people would clap, people would applaud, and this would bring him gratification.
One day while he was exhibiting, he heard a voice in the back, and there was a man who used to sell oil, and you know he had his bamboo and a pot of oil in the front, pot of oil in the back, and he would go from village to village selling oil.
One day, while this archer was showing his abilities, he hears from the back of the crowd, "It's only a matter of practice." And this really really made him very angry.
He's like, "Who's saying that?" And after his exhibition was finished, he went back and he looked at the guy, and he said, "Were you saying this thing about where it's only a matter of practice?" and the guy said, "Yeah, it's only a matter of practice." "So how can you say that? You know, I'm so good at what I do and I have trained, and I'm just, I have this natural ability." And the guy who was selling the oil said, "Look, it is still a matter practice." He said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I'll show you." So he took an empty bottle, and he took one of these coins that had a hole in it, put it on top of the bottle, he picked up this huge pot full of oil that he had, and he started pouring the oil through the coin into the bottle without spilling a drop.
And he said, "Now you try it." And of course the archer saw that he couldn't do that.
And so he finally agreed that yes, it is a matter of practice.
I like to quote that story because I think it really is a matter of practice.
If we practice greed, that's what we're gonna get a good at.
If we practice peace, that's what we're gonna get good at.
If we practice anger, then that's what we're gonna get good at.
If we practice differences, then that's what we're gonna get good at.
If we practice looking at each other with compassion - what happened to compassion? Compassion.
- then that's what we're gonna get good at.
When you look at the realm of the people on the face of this earth, it has to be asked: "What are you practicing?" To see people interested in peace, people want to practice peace, people want to practice compassion, people want to practice those things that will bring the humanity back into human beings, is always incredibly admirable.