Do we really want peace

Do We Really Want Peace?
Swami Chidānanda

They were a group of very learned religious scholars. They met this young lady in a small village of South India, who was regarded as illumined. Surely enough, she exuded so much peace and had such a commanding presence that the elderly specialists felt small about themselves. They asked her, “Revered lady, we know a lot of scriptures and we have been observing many a religious practice too. Yet we are not free from conflict. Kindly guide us.” “Do you really want that ‘true peace’?” asked the woman from a humble background, “You can definitely be free from all conflict but it seems you are not prepared for such freedom!” In the Prashna Upanishad (1.2), when six erudite students meet Sage Pippalāda, he is in no mood to teach them the supreme truth. All that he says is, “Stay for a whole year here in proper self-discipline. We will go into your questions after that!” This may seem like a contradiction but our life is full of such scenarios.

A friend of mine has collected a large number of books, CDs and DVDs on several kinds of physical exercise – yoga, tai chi, Western fast workouts and what not. However, he hardly exercises. During my college days, there was somebody two years senior to me who had a wonderful collection of good books on important subjects. When I had to study them for a competitive examination, he guided me on which book to study and even lent them to me. I found out that he had failed in those very tests because of the simple reason that he had ‘collected’ the best books but had ‘not studied’ them at all! Didn’t they say long ago, “You can take a horse to the water but not make him drink!”

Living the values, adopting a healthy lifestyle and being honest to oneself are easier said than done. Using such words as tapah, brahmacharya and shraddhā (austerity, selfcontrol and faithful learning of a spiritually conducive lifestyle), the Upanishads insist on living a life of integrity. The truth that liberates us will then gatecrash on to us. Profound peace will enter our life uninvited.

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