The thing most sought after in the world and at the same time the most disliked by men is peace. When it is there, women or men, are bored. When it is absent, they complain “I haven’t got a minute of respite! I am harassed mercilessly by a thousand things – it is a real hell.” Peace is always there, like the air we breathe. It is always accessible. It can become permanent in our consciousness, in our being. It is, in short, the presence of God, the Spirit, an aspect of the tangible form of the Supreme Creator. It is accessible, present, at all levels of consciousness –in the body, in the vital domain of the life, in the mental domain and in our soul. The trees and the plants, the stones, the sea or the matter just vitalized emanate a great peace. That is why those who seek peace often retire to deserted places. The explorers who have been to the North Pole, or the summit of mountains, the seamen lost in the immensity of the ocean, the travelers resting at night in the deserts, even the cosmonauts far from this world, without being spiritual beings, have very often felt a great peace, a living Peace which penetrated them and brought them an ineffable happiness. One can find a living peace in the forest, especially near giant trees, one can feel the Peace in the sap itself.
With the progressive awakening of life begins the torment. The awakening of life is, at the same time, the awakening of desire, thirst, hunger, the fire which can be appeased only for a moment. With the most evolved animals we find an alternation between peace and perturbation – a lion hunting is not peaceful; the male tigers fighting for a female are violence incarnated. A lion well fed is an image of peace. The animals have the natural capacity to be truly peaceful when their simple and primordial needs are satisfied.
Even the human primitive tribes had an entry into a deep peace. In them, the mental, the supreme tyrant, the tormentor was as yet hardly born. The real torture of man starts with the awakening of the mental being or the mind when he ate the “apple of knowledge.” With the awakening of the ideas of what is good, what is bad, what is true, what is not true, of what he must have, of his own rights, his needs and claims, his whims and caprices, of his hope and aspiration, he is exiled from the Paradise – Peace has gone. The true reason? He is always a victim of his own thoughts, of his own way to see the world. He is himself a place of immense incessant contradiction and at each step he is in contradiction with the world around him. Ages ago, the search for peace had started. The sages, gradually, have revealed to us many means to attain it. The Buddha has shown us that by the abolition of desire, we can arrive at an absolute Peace. Long before Him, there were sages who recommended mostly the practice of detachment. We must see things in ourselves … in the mental part, the witness who truly exists. For most of the things we are truly witnesses; but for the things which touch us personally, it is difficult to be a peaceful, unshakable witness. It is the first aim. We must practice fundamentally the discipline for becoming a witness. It is the key of the spirituality of India. Then progressively we will discover that the witness has an inherent power of appeasing and quieting even the most violent assaults of the vital .impulsions, it can even appease the physical sufferings. The witness can quiet the mental relatively easily. That is why the great disinterested intellectuals feel a peace in themselves. But there are levels, degrees, intensities, even different substances of Peace.
What we can say as a resume – The abolition of desire, at least a luminous control of the desires, then a progressive detachment and the discovery of the witness in ourselves, are means at our disposal. But there is an all-powerful, sovereign, infallible means -the Prayer. If we can abandon ourselves to the Lord, to the Divine Mother, to the Divine Creator, to this Mystery, this perceptible invisible Personality, in a gesture of humility, of supplication, with some informal words of a child: “Help me, sustain me, protect me, give me peace,” then the miracle appears, the great mystery never refuses its Blessings of Peace and Love to anyone, to the weakest being, the most miserable, the inhospitable, the most disinherited in the world. He envelops us with his Peace which is an indelible happiness. To pray like a child, to open one’s heart, to express our torments, our suffering, simply, to get near Him with the faith of a dog. Then, He takes care of His child, who will never feel abandoned — left aside, forlorn. Peace will be with him. Peace will bring him the great comprehension. Peace contains in itself the Light. In Peace, one understands infinitely better. Peace will bring a beneficial rest. Peace at the same time will free us from what is called in the Indian spiritual tradition the recoil, fear, shame, hatred etc. It will abolish inwardly, psychologically the sense of separation from the others. We will feel deep inside us a unity with all beings, all the creation, as if all is oneself, and all is in an eternal infinite Peace.
If we widen ourselves, if we can pray for peace, for the whole earth, if we can impersonalise ourselves, we will be able to feel the Peace everywhere, in everything, the sole Reality, the basis of all existence.
May he Peace appease the blind desires.
May the peace pacify the violence, relieve the suffering.
Peace, Peace for everyone and the whole earth.
In this peace we can feel the Supreme Being, the Peace, the durable Happiness above all conflict, all contradiction. -The immutable Peace.
Niranjan Guha Roy
Sri Aurobindo Ashram 1977