Education for Peace (19 May 2008, Salwan Public School, Delhi) - Audio

To begin with I want to ask some questions to all of you. I want to make, first of all, a think tank out of you. I want 12 students here, six on this side, six on that side, − it's a think tank, a group of students who think. Would you like to be here, good, six here and six here. No, you be here so that I can see you all. Those who volunteer to receive my questions and the first answers will be given by you, others will give answers afterwards. Since you are members of a think tank, I want to ask you: what is thinking? First question is what is thinking? Your main point is a capacity, an exercise in analysis right, any other answer?

Answer: Brain is used to come up with innovative ideas.

Good, is it better than analysis? All thinking is connected with a process of ideas. Idea is a very important element and we are not normally aware what exactly is the idea. I would like you to think on this question, what is an idea?

Answer: Something innovative.

Innovative, anything else?

Answer: Imaginary.

What is an idea? Idea which is a solution to a problem, any other answer, what is an idea, have you seen an idea? It is felt but you are not seen; it can't be seen, why? It is subtle. Is there an image in an idea? You know what is an image? You take a flower and I say what is the idea of a flower? Immediately you have an image of the flower. Something to do with an image but that image is not physical, so you can't see with your eyes therefore she said it is imagination, somebody has said imagination. It's not exactly imagination, imagination can also be something that doesn't exist, you can imagine. Flowers exist and you have an idea of a flower. Any other characteristics you have? It is not concerning a flower, when you have an idea of a flower; it is not an idea of a flower. Therefore it's an idea of the whole class of flowers that is called universal. An idea is an image which represents something that is universal. We start with this because you are all thinkers now. Twelve people around here are thinkers and I like to react and interact with them. The subject that is given to me is education for peace. I am told to move about wherever I like, which I will do in a general way but first of all I would like you to tell me what idea you have of peace? What is peace? Is that an idea, do you have an image?

Answer: It is a state of harmony.

Good answer. You also give the answer.

Answer: Clarity of the mind.

It is an element by which man has been sustained till now.

But that is freedom, not exactly peace

Answer: Sir! It is an undisturbed lake where nothing moves.

Good. 'An undisturbed lake', it is an image that you have got now. You know there is one very fine sentence of Jesus Christ. You have heard of Jesus Christ, you have. He said: 'Peace that passeth understanding'. Now reflect on this idea. 'Peace that passeth understanding'; passeth means passes, it is an old English word. Peace that passes over understanding. What does it mean? Peace is that which passes understanding. It says only with peace you can understand because of understanding you have got peace. Now how will you answer, very good counter-action. When there is no violence then all come to understanding, you can understand everything only when there is a condition of peace. I think all the answers are good answers, very good answers but when it says it passes understanding, means understanding as I said an idea is an instrument of understanding. It is another definition I’m giving you, − idea is not only an image, not only the image that is universal but idea is the instrument of understanding, do you follow? It is something more, an image that is universal and that which gives you understanding.

What's the meaning of understanding? When do you say I have understood? Here is a very good answer, one answer is when the idea is clear then understanding comes. When the idea is clear, who said this answer, tell me?

You know there is a great philosopher whose name was Descartes, 16th century great philosopher and he said exactly what you said. He said: 'when the idea is clear, truth shines out', 'when the idea is clear, truth shines out'. I am very pleased with your answer. That is what Descartes thought at a very high level, you are able to say at this stage of your life. What does it mean, that means that idea is like a mirror, which is transparent. When it is transparent then you look through the idea and the truth shines out. It is a very interesting concept. There must be a mind, not only eyes, but a mind, there must be an idea which occurs in the mind. That idea must be absolutely clear like a mirror, which is transparent. Then when you look through it, the truth shines out. There is something else than an idea that is to say an idea is something that catches the truth. The idea catches the truth that is the truth-idea yourself; the idea is like a mirror. When Christ said: 'Peace passeth beyond understanding' means beyond ideas. What does it mean? We normally experience things through our senses or we understand through ideas but now Christ says peace transcends understanding, you can't even understand. This is the essence of what I want to tell you.

Education for peace is not only an idea, it's not only a figure of a lake which is undisturbed. It's a good idea, good image; it's not only that what Christ wants to say is that it is even beyond. There is something that can't be described in words at all. You have seen sheets of cold water, almost frozen water, not fully frozen, cold and colder and colder and colder and colder, an a huge lake as you said: a lake not a single ripple in it at all that experience when you get in your mind then you will say it is beyond idea because an idea is still some kind of a ripple. All ideas are ripples. So when there is no ripple at all, no vibration at all. In Sanskrit you have got the word nirava; rava is sound, ripple, nirava means without sound, soundless, nirva shanti is a peace that is without any sound whatsoever.

When we speak of education for peace, we want to tell students, teachers, everyone that there is a condition of the mind so cool, so cool that there is no ripple at all; so vast like a sky and in that state of consciousness there is no possibility of a sound and you arrive in a sense of great release. You had spoken of freedom, who had spoken of freedom here, somebody had spoken of freedom in that sense you get free.

Education for peace means such a process of learning, teaching, exercising, analyzing, ideation, whatever you do, you ultimately arrive at that point and all ideas cease. There is a complete soundless nothingness and yet it is so full, nothingness that is full that's why it can't be understood. When you have fullness, a sense of complete freedom, freedom comes only when you are full. So complete silence in which you really feel freedom, it is nothing and yet it is everything therefore it passes understanding. In understanding you are always something but when peace is that in which there is nothing and everything. Therefore in the old Upanishads, I don't know if you've heard of Upanishads, have you heard of Upanishads? I will tell you later on. In the Upanishads there is a word which is used that there is a non-being from where being comes out; there is a non-being which can't be conceived. There is no idea of non-being, a non-being from where being is brought out.

Now that state of absolute shunya, you know the word shunya? Complete silence in which you don't hold anything, in all ideation you hold, understanding means what? You know the word understanding? If you stand below a bridge and look up then you are under, you stand under the bridge and you look up, all understanding is this kind of understanding. But when you are in a state of peace it is over standing. So peace is that passeth understanding means when you go beyond understanding, you are able to over stand, do you follow not standing under a bridge. When you go on the top of the Himalayas and the top and still top, completely highest top that's why it is said there is a non-being from where the being comes out; when you reach that stage it is called peace.

Education ultimately should lead you to that state of consciousness; it's a very big program. First of all we are all the time in a marketplace, our mind is a marketplace, it's a bazaar, hundreds of ideas go on coming, going. Even if the idea is also not understood, that clarity of idea is not at all there, what is a clear idea? The truth also does not shine out through the clarity of the idea, you go still beyond that is the idea of freedom that our friend was speaking. Go beyond, be free from all the shackles, you fly higher and higher and higher and higher, you become vaster and vaster and vaster and in that great vastness, huge ocean without ripples, no waves.

Pardon. Yes, it can be outside the galaxy that is the idea of the Upanishad.

Satchidananda is one idea but even beyond that is the idea of Asat. Satchidananda starts with Sat but there is Asat. It says in the beginning there was no non-being and there was no being; it is even beyond. One of the most important things to be done to any student in the world is to say that there is a beyond and beyond, beyond and still beyond and still beyond, when you begin to imagine this beyond, beyond, beyond, beyond, then you have a glimpse in your idea but Christ says this is not only an idea, it is more than an idea. It is as if tons of ice is kept on your brain and the coolness that will come and you'll feel the concreteness of it, it is not really nothing, it is nothing which is all. It's a very peculiar idea. It is non-being that is being this is a state of consciousness to which all of us should rise. When we speak of education for peace, it is to lead students with the idea of peace and then to go beyond the idea of peace and to enter into a state of consciousness, not an idea anymore. It is now a state of consciousness so beyond idea is a state of consciousness and beyond all that is a state of being.

What Christ was saying was that peace can be experienced by all of us. It may take years and years to reach but you must keep your goal. I must reach a point in my state of consciousness where there will be complete peace. You know when you finish your work in the day, when you go to sleep it is something like that. When you've done the whole work as long as you've not done the work you say: oh I've got to do this, tomorrow morning I’ll do that, all these ideas trouble you but when everything is done, nothing remains to be done, everything is accomplished, you are unburdened absolutely, no burden whatsoever that is a state of peace.

The question is how do I educate all of you in that state of peace. What is the method by which I can give? There are many methods, not one because different individuals have different approaches. I leave out this question for you to think about because these questions are best answered over years and years and years. I am only putting an idea before you that you should put before you − a goal, you should be able to arrive after many, many years of struggle and effort, after many stages of freedom, you should be able to arrive at that state of complete peace. This is my first lesson I would like to give you. It is possible to arrive at it, like Christ many people have experienced it. In India, for example Buddha even before Christ, he spoke of a state of nirvana, have you heard the word nirvana? Nirvana is a state of non-being, even more than moksha, even moksha is Sat, this is beyond moksha.So Buddha spoke of something that transcends all and in that state is your highest. If you can rise to that point then you think that now your life is fulfilled.

So education for peace means, it puts a goal before you and says all of you are seeking fulfillment, no question about everybody wants to be fulfilled. What is the fulfillment? Until you reach the stage of complete peace and peace beyond peace, peace beyond understanding, just think of it, by thinking a time will come that you'll go beyond thinking, there's a trick in it. It has been found that thinking itself begins from peace, if you go into the thinking and go into depth and depth of thinking, a point will be reached when you're open out to peace. You look into the mirror of an idea and the truth shines out and you go into it and into it and into it and into it, you will arrive ultimately at that stage; when you arrive at that stage you think now you've reached. This is the teaching of the Buddha, the teaching of Upanishad, the teaching of Christ and we think that is the end. According to Buddha that is the beginning, when you reach that point that is the beginning.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, Shri Krishna says that I am absolutely peaceful and it is from that peace all my actions proceed, from that peace. So peace is the beginning, in the way you may say it is the end. So it's the end which is the beginning. Shri Krishna says: you should not merely aim at peace, arrive at a point where peace gives rise to action, all actions.

We normally do action out of agitation; somebody calls you so you react. Yes, you are reacting. All our actions are basically reactions. You examine all actions; actually all of us are reacting. Something is dropped at you and you react to it. It is only when you reach the state of peace that action can really proceed, not reaction but action proceeds. The origin of action is in a state of peace. This is a second lesson of education for peace. First, try to arrive at a state of complete peace then you have the next step, all action must proceed from that state of peace. When you do that, that is the definition of perfection.

What is perfection? My think tank will answer the question.

Answer: Education is the manifestation of perfection.

Education is the manifestation of perfection, you agree, all of you? But what is perfection? You're not defined by perfection? You are also free to answer, anyone of you.

Answer: Sense of fulfillment when you have achieved the goal.

Answer: Flawlessness...

Flawlessness, in which there is no flaw. Excellent. You can't find any mistake in it, flawless action, stable, when you arrive at stable. Good.

The highest point is called maximum. Small things also make perfect. Mark less white sheet. It's a very good image, markless blank sheet; from the beginning to the end everything is right, that is perfect. Excellent.

Answer: The result of clarity of mind and commitment.

It's a result of clarity and commitment. You have an answer, give me.

Question: Can a person become perfect, how?

Excellent question. I will dwell upon it; it is a very good question.

When start and end are the same, that is perfection, exceedingly beautiful, you require claps. Highest point of achievement in which there are no mistakes is perfection.

When there is no possibility of criticizing. Good.

Sharp, clear, I will give you an example and tell me if it is perfect or not? When you have a goal and when you achieve it that's called perfect, right. So there are no mistakes or pollution.

I think all of you are giving good answers but I will give a problem before you. You know small children in the beginning they can't speak and you await a moment, when you say now the child ought to be able to speak and suddenly one day the child speaks out, one sound,− maa, papa, something of this kind. And as soon as the child speaks out this word, it's perfect, right, do you? Perfect, it is neither achieved after the highest, nothing maximum and yet you say it is perfect, what does it mean? Now here is another amendment, a very good amendment, perfection differs from person to person, do you agree? Perfection differs from person to person, from stage to stage.

Comment: Perfection has no end.

Accurate, result of self-analysis and practise.

What one tries to achieve but cannot achieve is perfection. What about you?

Answer: You take a shirt, you give it for washing. The person tries to remove the stain but it remains. We can't really determine the definition of perfection. It depends on person to person.

I’m welcoming all these answers because they are good answers.

Answer: Perfection is eternal bliss.

Yes! Perfection is supreme consciousness and from there, there is no mistake at all. Excellent, depends upon the level of your thinking. Perfection is that after which nothing can be done, it differs from person to person.

All right, I give another definition. Perfection is a state of equilibrium. You know the meaning of equilibrium? Equilibrium is neither excessive nor deficient. The question is when a child speaks the first word we say perfect, why, because it's the first stage of equilibrium. He's neither excessive nor deficient; exactly what a child can speak. Some of you are doing economics; you are doing economics, some of you? In economics the law of demand and supply, the price is equal to a point where demand and supply are in equilibrium.

Question: (Inaudible)

It is a transition. Then after three days or four days you don't expect only that much, you will not say perfect now. For the first time when the child uttered the first word it was perfect, after four days, you won't say that because now there is a movement, further movement and now you will expect another equilibrium. So that was the idea that perfection to perfection, to perfection, to perfection. If you give this definition, − perfection is a state of equilibrium and the highest perfection is when there is equilibrium between silence and action, do you follow? When silence remains undisturbed even when there's an outpouring of action. You know this was the state of consciousness in which Buddha was seated. You've heard of Buddha's story but you asked the question: what was his state of consciousness? Yes, what was his experience? His experience was that you must remember that he was very active.

Buddha was if you read the whole history of the world and if you ask who was the most active man in the world, the one man who produced the greatest results of his action, − it is Buddha. Light of Asia is a state of consciousness in which there is complete equilibrium with action and peace, the two conditions are absolutely in equilibrium. This is what Shri Krishna says is the highest.

Somebody has asked the question: can perfection be achieved, if so, how?

Let us try to answer that question. We have defined perfection as a state of equilibrium between perfect silence and most potent action. Whatever is to be done, exactly that is done, neither more nor less, neither excessive nor deficient. I have come to talk to you, if I go beyond 1:30, it is excessive; if I leave you earlier, it is deficient therefore my lecture is not perfect, right, so we still have 20 minutes more.

You are not tired? Now let us move forward. A state of complete silence from which action proceeds so that silence is not disturbed at all and action is exactly how much you need it; neither excessive, nor deficient that's a state which you want to arrive at.

Comment: (Inaudible)

Steps of a cat, beautiful, no? You require an applause, excellent. You can see the stability of the cat and the way in which it moves, exactly the amount of measure. You will see so many conditions of the world, when the bird flies in the sky keeping both the wings absolutely in equilibrium there is also force coming out and yet there is a stability in flying, soaring high and higher and higher and higher. You think that you have reached perfection when you reach this condition of a bird flying in the sky and a perfect balance. You have to achieve that condition that is called education for peace.

There are many lectures on peace; I am giving you a lecture on peace in its fundamentals. There are lectures on peace when you are told when there is no war, there is international understanding, you understand this country, you understand that country, then there is a dialogue, all these questions are raised and if you have time we can discuss many other things also but I thought I’ll take you to the most fundamental thing. If you understand this, other things become easier.

Question: You have already said that perfection is from stage to stage and between the stages we start learning to achieve perfection so why can't perfection be constant learning.

You are right, absolutely, is perfection not a state of constant learning? How to reconcile the two statements which I said earlier, a perfect silence manifesting the exact amount of action that is needed − that is one idea of perfection.

Here is another that perfection is a constant process of learning, is it not perfection?

Comment: In nature everything is perfect the sun moves around the.....

In nature everything should be perfect I am told.

Comment: But man is being endowed with the sixth sense so he competes with his own self to make his perfect performance much more perfect.

To make perfect, more perfect is another idea. To make perfect more perfect, is there something which can be called more perfect or less perfect? I must tell you that all of you are answering very well.

Comment: (Inaudible)

You see there is a difference between two states − the state of silence, silence is a state in which there is no movement therefore there is nothing more than that. In action it is always possible therefore when you say this is a constant learning, it refers to the movement of action. So you can say in a state of silence when you move at every step there should be one equilibrium to the other equilibrium and if you can maintain equilibrium after equilibrium you can say like Buddha − every action is exactly what he had to say. If you read his teachings, I don't know if you read the teachings of Buddha. There is a book called Dhammapada. Have you heard of it, have you seen the book? No, when you go home or go to your school, you should ask for a copy of the book called Dhammapada. Actually, I brought with me the book Dhammapada so that in case there was a need I can show you but later on.

Dhammapada is a text which consists of the words of Buddha. There are long sentences of Buddha, short sentences of Buddha but every word is in equilibrium. So you can say that whatever he spoke was absolutely measured, whether he spoke at length or spoke briefly it was absolutely according to the need. Now when you can reach that point...

Comment: We should not only think that we should be perfect and we should work it with our heart and soul then we will definitely reach there.

Good, I am so happy.

Comment: (Inaudible)

It is a very good analogy. If you see you see a bud. Bud as a bud is perfect then it begins to open up. At any stage where it opens up it is perfect, until it becomes completely opened, it's also perfect. Our life should be of that kind − a bud which opens petal by petal and grows smoothly, is again the same bird soaring high with equilibrium all the time.

These are very good images you have got today and you should keep before you that you should reach that point then you can say I have been educated in peace not with a dialogue and all that it is all good but unless you reach this point, remember that you have been educated in peace when you can reach a point where there is a complete silence from where action proceeds and in every action there is a rhythm from perfection to perfection. All questions are answered now, all right.

Now the question is how do we achieve it? We should not only work hard but you should work with will and wish. You should have an idea of the goal. I have told you what the goal is, − attainment of peace from where action proceeds. We should take the guide of all the texts. Yes, you have to say something?

Let us see this question having defined − what is perfection. Having seen the role of peace in perfection, you can see that without peace there is no perfection, without perfection there is no peace the two words are interchangeable you might say. Education and peace is actually education in perfection but we have to ask how do I achieve that condition? And a few answers which I have got are that you should study all the texts of religions and they will teach you how to reach that point, constant learning and understanding, contemplation, whatever you do, you do with all your heart; practice, what?

Comment: (Inaudible)

Constant practice in the right way, excellent. Purity of the mind, purity of the heart and calmness of the mind.

Comment: Always doing good deeds.

Comment: Perfection can be achieved by creating a balance between silence and action.

Good that is what we already said that is called perfection. Question is how do we arrive at it? The answer is, constantly develop peace and constantly do action out of peace that is her answer.

Comment: Having noble ideas.

I will tell you something to put all these ideas together. First of all you can achieve this by a process of culture. This is the one word I’m using; it's a new word I’m using. Up to now nobody has used this word but I am deliberately using this word because I want to explain to you. Perfection can be achieved by a process of culture. Now the question is what is culture? What is culture, we speak of Indian culture, traditions, eating , practise, way of life, the code of conduct. Is dance culture? Is music culture? Is drama culture? What is culture? It is a process by which you can uplift yourself. I’ll give another definition of culture. We should practice what we think.

Answer: Habit of the people living in a certain area.

Comment: Sir, love, respect and honour for everybody's culture.

I’ll now collect all the answers that you have put together. Culture is like a flower, it has three petals. When you ask a question, what is your culture? You are asking the question: what is the flower that you are looking for? A culture is a flower which has three petals. All your ideas are good, somebody has said practice, somebody has said ideas, somebody has said some kind of organization, arrangement, dance, music all that. If you put these three ideas together, you get a better idea. All ideas when you pursue, you arrive at truth. When you practice best you arrive at the good, when you practice all beautiful things you arrive at beauty. So culture is a flower which consists of three petals of truth, beauty and goodness.

When you go to any country and tell me what is your culture? What you are asking actually is: are there philosophers who have thought of the truth, do you have artists that are manifesting beauty; do you have benevolent people who are doing good acts? And moreover are there people who do all the three? A great culture is one in which all the three are done by a large number of people. When I see for example all of you are sitting so quietly, you are listening for one hour nearly, more than an hour and I see so much of attention, it is very rare in the world, so I am very happy. You are listening with so much attention. What do you do then? I can see that all of you are practicing, it's a peace education. We are already in a state of peace education.

Comment: (Not clearly audible)

It is a very painful argument. What she says is we are all having great peace here but in Jaipur there was terrorism only a few days ago, there's a blast, a lot of quarrel, all that is happening. What is to be done about that, what do I think about it, tell me what I should think about it? I should say: I must give education for peace to everybody because all that is happening is because people are not properly educated. Even those who call themselves white-collar people, who are educated, are not really educated, unless they do these three petals. Unless they pursue truth, beauty and goodness, unless they flower out in all the three ideas, we are not educated. Real education is education of truth, beauty and goodness. You should move toward these three things all the time. The answer to your question is we should feel pain about it and out of pain we should say we should spread education for peace all over the world, very important.

Question: What are the means of spreading this kind of peace education?

What is the means? First of all I must talk to children like you, have a dialogue with you and I must be able to tell you what is peace, what is action, what is equilibrium, what is perfection, I should then say what is culture, the union of beauty and truth and goodness. Now comes the last question. I have only five minutes more.

Question: One should find peace by negotiation.

Violence should be replaced by negotiation, correct. I am negotiating with you now.

Question: Wondering for students like this, this can be done about the lay public, so much illiteracy in our country. How do we preach the gospel of peace to everybody?

The answer is that I should make you Education Minister of this country. I will tell you my fateful experience. When I joined the Ministry of Education, Dr Sharma was my colleague at that time. We had worked together for many years, I had many, many ideas on how to educate all people of the country and my Minister said: we don't have money. According to me it was not true. The country has the money first of all, remember this point, I’m telling you. A country which can produce 1 billion people and to say we don't have the money is a shame, it's not true, you should not accept it. If you become Education Minister and if anybody says you don't have the money, you should say you are not telling the truth. You have the money, only people do not want to work hard because if you have money and then you have to work, you have to work day and night, you have no rest, you will go on meeting children. You know, to meet children is one of the greatest happiness of life, all like flowers, like sunflowers.

Comment: (Inaudible)

I think my time is up now because it is exactly 1:29 and anyway this question remains to be answered. How do we attain the state of perfection and my immediate answer was culture, practice, truth, beauty and goodness; put them together this is my brief answer, if I have time or if you have time later on when we meet again tomorrow or day after tomorrow or like after years we shall continue all right. Thank you so much.