Inner peace… Outer peace…

I scanned the BBC website yesterday. Unfortunately, some things never change. The top 15 headlines were riddled with global issues and tribulations; conflict and corruption in the political arena, instability and exploitation in the economic world, intolerance and loneliness in our communities, and immorality and baseness in personal dealings. Our attempts at creating world peace seem ineffective, short-lived, and all-in-all quite futile. By now, most of us can safely agree that political treaties and media campaigns can only go so far in solving a global trend that is becoming quite worrying.

At the prestigious IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) they were experiencing a recurring trend of students who would commit suicide by hanging themselves from dormitory fans. After an emergency meeting to address the issue, they proposed their solution – “take the fans out of the rooms, and introduce air conditioning units instead!” While it may sound crazy, such an approach portrays the failure of modern philanthropists, social workers and political leaders. Though having good intentions, they fail to address root of the problem, and instead simply make solutions that address the immediate symptoms.

When someone falls sick we intuitively follow a train of thought. First we observe the symptoms, then we discern the root cause, and finally we administer an appropriate remedy. The Bhagavad-gita offers a fresh perspective on world peace – only when there is inner peace can there be world peace. While people are experiencing a vacuum within, they will invariably exploit the external world to fill that void. While there is conflict and agitation within, people will recreate that in their relationships and communities. All the political, economic and social problems of the world are essentially caused by neglect and disregard of spiritual values. The Bhagavad-gita explains the qualities of a spiritually fulfilled person: non-envious, friendly to all beings, free from false ego, equal in happiness and distress, always tolerant, satisfied and self-controlled (Bhagavad-gita 12.13-14). Such people will create the biggest changes in the quest for world peace.

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