International Peace Day Message by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Karnataka, India

Message from Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the occasion of the United Nations International Peace Day

We are so fortunate that we have been able to find some peace within ourselves. Now, we have a challenge to reach out to all those who are not at peace with themselves as well as to those countries and parts of the world where there is conflict.

We all have the responsibility of bringing peace to every nook and corner of the world. Unless every member of our global family is peaceful, our peace is incomplete.

Peace is needed at three levels: first is inner peace, which is of the mind. It brings dynamism in our action and makes us more powerful. The second level is peace in our immediate environment, our family, friends and workplace. The third level is peace between nations and continents, which is most important.

The arms race between countries has to be put to an end. Nuclear disarmament has to happen so that there is no fear between countries. It is fear that drives countries on the arms race. We must persuade the governments and institutions in the world to promote peace between nations.

If you see, there are very few people who are extremists. Most people who are peace-loving are passive and silent. What is needed now is the dynamism of the peaceful people. I hope we can create a platform where we communicate from heart to heart. For, the heart knows no conflict. Concepts may bring conflict; an attitude of 'other'. Lack of belongingness and ignorance of other traditions gives rise to conflict.

We need to broaden the vision of our people. We need to celebrate our differences and rejoice the commonness. What our children need is a multicultural and multi-religious education.

Together let us resolve to educate our people about every religion in order to have a broader vision about life. No doubt, one must delve deep in one's own religion; at the same time a little understanding about every religion is essential today. We need to work towards that. When we pray, we see the Divinity within us. Without prayer and meditation, which are the spiritual aspects of life, religion becomes just a dry skin. I often say, religion is the banana skin and spirituality is the banana. The misery in the world is because we throw away the banana and we are holding on to the dry skin. So we need to enhance that spiritual aspect of our life.

Let each one of us become a peace messenger and a peace soldier. Peace soldiers are dynamic with a will to stop any wrong. They expose the wrong deeds and wrong-doers in society, and stand up in protest. Peace does not mean inaction. We want a revolution but we want a peace revolution. Mahatma Gandhi advocated peace, but he did not sit back and allow injustice to happen. His actions were born out of peace.

The previous century has been an era of uniforms and unions. Now let us move to an era of communion. So we need to bring a wave of social transformation, and each one of us here will need to take responsibility for the same.