There is so much disquiet; where have all the peacemakers gone?

by | Jul 15, 2020

There is negativity everywhere; oozing out of people in the form of anger, frustration, arguments, and general acrimony in the society. The uncertainties brought in by the coronavirus pandemic are not dispersing away. Four phased lockdowns were somehow endured but the unlock stages are bringing with them new fears and anxieties. 

No one seems to have any clue of what next. The media jumping on to every new sensation is the least bothered to tell people about the real struggles on the ground – the plight of students, housemaids, street vendors, courier people. Experts are strangely divided in their opinions as if science has turned dubious. The beautiful world of many hues and shades has been painted black and white. 

Where are people like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – spreading hope, confidence and belief in goodness? There is not even one voice in this cacophony of concerns, accusations, and arguments, talking peace. Everyone seems to have taken a ‘for or against’ stand on every issue and the pursuit of the Golden Mean, preached by Buddha, seems to be abandoned in this country. 

Let us not be fooled by this dance of opposites. Whatever is bad, harmful and stressful is almost always man-made. Nature is full of peace and harmony. We are born as blissful – Sat-chit-ananda. English poet William Blake (1757-1827) described a man so nicely. 

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Peace must be sought from within and must first be practiced amongst the immediate family members, and the workplace colleagues. More and more people doing this will create a peaceful and harmonious society and once it becomes a norm, good effects will start manifesting. So, the question is not how to find peace. The question is how not to lose peace. 

First, understand peace as serenity – calmness of the mind, and harmony of the bodily functions. This understanding comes from health, clean and comfortable surroundings and living in a society of justice. A balance or equilibrium of powers tilted towards goodness is essential. Only then can you manage emotions like fear, anger, and hatred so that they do not harm you and others.  

Now see the engines of conflict around you – power plays among interests, capabilities, and wills – from simple ones like which TV channel is to be played, to food and fashion, to complex things like income disparity, to a corruptible criminal-justice system, and politics of vested interests – at every level there is a power play going on.  

In his 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey (1932-2012) distinguishes between people who focus on what they can do and can influence – and people who focus their energy on things beyond their control. He calls them proactive and reactive people respectively. Reactive people maintain an attitude of being victimised and blame others. This is the root cause of loss of peace. 

There is a Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” There may be little you can do about many things, since they are outside your influence. But blaming others and living like a victim does no good to anyone – neither to you, nor to the others around you. 

The negative cognitive surplus created by electronic media is making people depressed. Devoting energy to issues beyond our control is such a waste of time – confinement due to coronavirus, the content shown on TV, noisy politics – you can’t change any of them. But what you can definitely do is to focus your energy on those things that you can influence.

You can follow a strict 8-8-8 hour regimen of work, leisure and sleep – equal hours for each. You can pick up a hobby from your childhood that you lost somewhere in the struggle of growing up. You can buy noise-cancellers and shut the TV off for yourself, when other family members are indulging with it. You can start waking up an hour earlier and sleeping an hour earlier to have valuable ‘me time’.

By making these small changes, you will feel peace, little and gentle, like a whiff of fresh air. All people are basically the same – names and forms differ. Everybody wants to be happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous, secure, and above all, to be loved and liked by others. What is life but a struggle to make tomorrow better than today! In their own way, everyone is doing just that, why interfere? 

Finally, write by your hand on a paper, The Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Read it once in the morning and again before going to bed and you will not only feel peace but will become a peacemaker. The Bible declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). The Hindu prayer of peace seeks harmony not only among people but in everything. सर्वँ शान्ति:, शान्तिरेव शान्ति:, सा मा शान्तिरेधि May there be Peace in All, May there be Peace Indeed within Peace, Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me.

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44 Comments

  1. Respected Sir, It’s different experience always by going through information posted by you regularly.

    We should be balanced, take what comes and do not be perturbed or succumb. Perception, evaluation, analysis, appropriate action and acceptance are the keys to inner peace.

  2. My regards for penning thoughts for living with joy at this restless situation..the traits of becoming a human being- leading a path of eternal joy is seeded in your writings ,I say the inner voice manifested with care and in lucid manne

  3. Prof Tiwari Jee, what a beautiful expression of our thoughts which comes out of our surroundings. we know these, but do not realise. Your writing offers us the perspective and a chance to look within. Let us follow the golden tips for peace and positivity offered by you and make a positive change in society.

  4. While reflecting, I have the advantage of seeing all 40 comments. Reading them once is not enough for full comprehension; however, these are very valuable and show the enormous utility of the blog.

    The conversations are immersive and make one think as to what makes Prof. Tiwari write so simple yet so profoundly motivating texts.

    Which concepts would I like to revisit routinely?

    8+8+8 regimen, fresh air and exercise, taking out “me time”, and focussing on what I can do and influence. Peace must be sought from within and must first be worked amongst the immediate family members.

    Here is a place with profound positivity, and there is no room for gloom or negativity.

  5. Dear Respected Arun Sir, Every dose of your blog which comes after every 15 days is unique , full of wisdom and provides discrimination ability (विवेक). Sir first sentence of your blog very aptly defines the current status of society not only local, regional , National but also of global.

    Sir sometimes I feel negativity is also nature of Human Being, But it is not, as you beautifully wrote “We are born as blissful – Sat-chit-ananda” and His holiness Dalai Lama always says we should be compassionate, kind towards every human being because it’s our nature.

    To my mind if one is not doing one’s duty genuinely then outcome will be contrasting to expected. That would have destructive impact on society, As you explained about media’s tendency towards sensationalisation, Division in Experts opinion etc.

    Yes we are lacking people like Dr Kalam who can boost our confidence , who can enthuse us all to find opportunity to help our fellow beings & who can show path towards light at end of tunnel.

    Dear Sir the way you explained peace and how to sought it from within is simple and also teach us to understand our real nature. “Devoting energy to issues beyond our control is such a waste of time – confinement due to coronavirus, the content shown on TV, noisy politics – you can’t change any of them. But what you can definitely do is to focus your energy on those things that you can influence.” This lines are so simple and powerful; I read these many times. It gives us clarity to distinguish what we should do or not.

    Dear sir, I just not read your blog but also read all comment made by all Good people. My heartiest thanks to all for putting their views. Sir your blog and comments are Gold mines of Thought.

  6. Dear Sir, you have chosen a very apt subject for this blog. This is the most burning issue, “There is so much disquiet. Where have all the peace makers gone?” Obviously, you are seriously disturbed by the present day situation. Negativity is oozing out, anger, frustration, arguments and general acrimony in society is so much disturbing.”HAAL BEHAAL HAI”. The corona virus has further added to the already existing problems of present day society and has brought uncertainty.

    The situation seems to be totally hopeless where no body knows what to do? Media is creating sensation and experts are divided in their opinion. Beautiful world of many colors has turned into black and white. Sir, you are definitely disturbed by the situation so much that you are looking for peace makers in the society like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to spread hope, confidence and belief in goodness. You want people to talk peace instead of, “For and against ” stand on issues of serious concern. The disturbance has reached to such an level that the path shown by BHAGWAN BUDDHA has faded today.

    You are alarming the society when you say that let us not be fooled by dance of opposites. Man made disturbances are bad, harmful and stressful, whereas nature is full of peace and harmony. You are one with SAT-CHIT-ANANDA and it describes the original nature of mankind in Vedic period. You are rightly advising people for peace from within and practice it within immediate family members, work place colleagues and thus create a peaceful serenity and harmonious society.

    To make it understand better, you have defined peace as serenity – calmness of mind and harmony of bodily functions. So we have to create a healthy, clear and comfortable surroundings and justice. All this should be in abundance and the balance should be tilted towards goodness.One can then manage emotions well.The reactive people are always blaming others and they are the root cause of the loss of peace. You have even given an example of serenity prayer to achieve peace. Your advise is to focus your energy on things that you can influence. You have even advised to improve the quality of life by following a 8-8-8 regimen of work, leisure and sleep. You have suggested many small small changes which can bring big changes to one’s quality of life. To make life simple for people you have even advised the morning and evening prayers and thus achieve peace.

    You have thus raised the burning issues, causes of the problems and finally given easy solutions to mankind to achieve peace. Jai Ho. Jai Hind.

  7. Reading your thought-instilling write up on the quest for peace, which includes justice, I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964 containing the clarion call for an utopian order. The following extracts from the speech is illuminating of the times that was and that is. But it is in our hands that the future ‘will not be’ the times that ‘will be’.

    “……Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress…….

    Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers…….

    Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau1: “Improved means to an unimproved end”. This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual “lag” must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the “without” of man’s nature subjugates the “within”, dark storm clouds begin to form in the world……

    This problem of spiritual and moral lag, which constitutes modern man’s chief dilemma,,,,,

    We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say “We must not wage war.” It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. …..So we must fix our vision not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. …. If we have the will and determination to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment.

    … the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony. Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested story plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: “A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together.” This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a big house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other….

    This means that more and more our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. We must now give an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies.

    ………….Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of men”.

  8. Arun Tiwari sir’s 15th July blog on ‘disquiet and peacemakers’ in the midst of the pandemic of COVID19, plants a strong implication that there is a path-to-reach the perkier side.
    References on the dispersion of negative thoughts in the current society in this document, is precisely what experts have concluded that a second pandemic also parallelly exists, in the form of mental health illness.

    Like COVID19 which initially was in imported phase but now moved almost into community transmission phase, people have traversed the fear of unknown/anxiety phase to frustration phase in their mental acuities. Polarization of media on whole lot of issues (including balance of health-economy ) has now been perceived as, adding fuel to the fire and was appropriately highlighted.

    Recommendation of 8+8+8 schedule, pooled with Prayer is alluring for people from all faiths.
    I more than agree for the need for ROLE MODELS and Goodness ambassadors like DR APJ ABDUL KALAM in these turbulent times. In a modest way we fondly remember him for his qualities of
    Kindness – Altruism, Learned, Accessible, Magnificent aura.

    Professor Tiwari succinctly identified the DHARMA to be practiced when a dilemma dominates decision making. In other words, this blog not only assessed and analyzed the physical, mental, social standing of people at large, but directed action to be taken in the form of a holistic approach. I perceive the role of Bharat Ratna Kalam is equated to that of Krishna in Gita. ……. Sambhavami Yuge Yuge.

  9. Hello Arun, Very timely advice. We are at such a discontinuity in our lives that is bound to depress everything and everyone. Mental peace with what we have and in what we can or cannot do will help us go through this period of disquiet.

    One thing I wish to emphasize upon though. People should do what they can. There is lot of peace in doing something constructive. It can be as simple as supporting, and assisting someone who is doing something good. My Regards!

  10. Where have all the peacemakers gone?!”
    Is a question Arjun might have asked himself too. As he saw events hurtle down towards eventual dust and ruin. And learning.
    Wonderful introduction to the inner world, Bhai saab!
    This is where we came from, and this is where we return after the ‘bumpy bus ride’ in this material world.
    Are we on the cusp of a similar period in history?!

  11. So beautifully written and so meaningful. Your are right. We live in world of disquiet. I am sure there are people of Dr. Kalam’s ilk but may be silent. Every generation ultimately brings out these individuals. Let us hope for one or more of these soon.

  12. Arun Bhaisab, a very timely written blog on current scenario.
    There can not be peace unless the opportunist politicians and TRP hungry media stop exploiting the situation created by the pandemic.
    The only way as you rightly said is to practice and follow spirituality. Respected
    Dr Kalam sir has also mentioned his interaction with PPu Pramukhswami Maharaj, in his book Transcendence, that peace and progress in 21st century needs Spirituality besides others.
    A very well written article, only if everybody could read and follow. Meanwhile we pray –
    “ओम शांति शांति”

  13. “The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence” – Norman Vincent Peale

    Sir, Today, our life is very speedy. Speed in life leads to the exhausting of our body energy. There is no renunciation, greetings and coexistence only untimely, unhealthy competition lacks our commitment. This is my insight on current life in a chaotic situation. Patience, effort to solve the problem etc is needed on forward movement but destruction is the action happening everywhere. So peace never happens in minds to nurture all beings around in our surroundings, Conservation is the solution only for human existence but it is not for the good sake. Conservation of religious faith, political ideology, the people of protectionism or leaders destructs ordinary human life. So there is no peace, leadership like APJ in our world. Thank you. God bless.

  14. Dear Arun bhai, What a lovely piece of writing you have written. The topic simply fascinated me. Achieving peace in life is the prime objective of life. As you said, all of us work for betterment of our future, bring harmony and peace. And probably this can be achieved by our positivity and there is no place for gloom or negativity.

    At the moment, whole world is reeling under pandemic Covid-19, people are despair and trying to find remedy for it. Those who are having positivity are untiringly working to find answer to Covid-19 and fighting the disease.

    You rightly said “Peace must be sought from within and must first be practiced amongst the immediate family members, and the workplace colleagues. More and more people doing this will create a peaceful and harmonious society” This is more apt in present turbulent times. If we want to bring change in the family or society, it has to start from you only. Keeping things simple in life may bring serenity and calm.

    Saint Tulsidas has pointed out six faults (दोष) in a human being viz ‘kam, krodh, mad, lobh, moh & maatsarya’ (काम, क्रोध, मद, लोभ, मोह, मात्सर्य). All these are peace destroyers. Nowadays, many times loss of peace happens due to ‘matsarya’. ‘Matsarya’ nearly means competitiveness. If two persons are walking and if one is leading and other one is lagging behind, the feeling laggard may be having can be called ‘matsarya’. People are doing good works like charity, organizing religious ceremonies etc just because of matsarya. But ‘matsarya’ induced good work will not fructify in creating peace in society, it will nourish doer’s ego only.

    Let us chant peace benediction and pray to GOD-

    ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः।
    सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः।
    सर्वे भद्रे पश्यन्तु।
    मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्।
    ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः।।

    “Let all be happy, Let all be healthy, Let all see/experience auspiciousness, Let no one be supressed/overwhelmed by grief. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.”

    Like always, your write up has been admirable. Continue to do so. Wish you Good luck in your all endeavours.

  15. First of all, its refreshing to see the picture of you and Dr Kalam. Dr Kalam has influenced many peoples’ life by his work as well as his personality.

    Nowadays, negativity has become the most popular word as nobody has a solution but all have problems. Corona situation has made us aware of the importance of peace of mind and a healthy body. As well said, I can’t do anything about COVID but I can start 8-8-8 schedule for a healthy life.

    People around us have really started to look at life with a different angle understanding the meaning of family time, indulgence in good practises and taking up a hobby. As good leaders and peacekeepers are missing from our life right now, I believe to be one own peacekeeper to remain sane.

  16. Timely blog post. This pandemic has put many through their most difficult and trying times forcing people to withdraw into their shells in fright, uncertainty and anxiety. A lot of us becoming less willing to go out and serve therefore does not come as a surprise. Finding peace and purpose during troubled times or otherwise is a prerequisite for a meaningful life. Great men have always made peace in their individual capacity.

    Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is one such scientist, teacher and leader. Wherever he was with whoever, holding whatever position Dr. Kalam made sure nothing/nobody compromised peace. He pursued peace with all and promoted world peace even through small gestures- over a cup of tea and informal chats. Other than taking every opportunity to mention Kural (couplet) 314 of Thirukural that says, “To punish wrong, with kindly benefits the doers ply; Thus shame their souls; but pass the ill unheeded by”, Dr. Kalam was faithful and honest from deep inside which made it easier for him to practice peace. And practice definitely made progress.

    His vision of a world at peace began at home and Dr. Kalam held peaceful coexistence as a priority and goal, with his family, colleagues, neighbours, friends and acquaintances. As our country’s first citizen, he is still one of the most celebrated humans across the world for he talked and lived in a way that helped people take inspiration from him to live an inclusive life.

  17. Dear Arun sir, thank you once again for wonderful blog that inspires to think how we as individual can make a tiny contribute towards a peaceful existence of humankind, especially in current critical times.

    Truly, the need of an hour is the character bound peacemaker leader everywhere. I recall the words of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam sir from the opening ceremony of Akshardham Delhi in presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He said during his speech that – “Those who are spiritually strong, only those could sincerely server the society!” The basic missing ingredient in current times is maybe this virtue in those who are potential influencer.

    The book ‘Transcendence’ by APJ Abdul Kalam sir and you, narrates a great conversation between the two greats of our times – Pramukh Swami and Kalam sir. It was about the vision of bright India – termed as Vision 2020. We are in the 2020 and seems that we missed the key attribute that was discussed during the conversation in 2001. Kalam sir presented the vision 2020 idea as to work towards five important areas to transform India. They were Education and health care, agriculture, information and communication, infrastructure and critical technology. Kalam sir asked Pramukh Swami’s advice on this subject. Pramukh Swami Maharaj smiled and said, “Along with your five areas to transform India, add a sixth one – faith in God and developing people through spirituality. This is very important!”

    All our actions in life mostly have a purpose. The higher the purpose, the greater the efforts in our actions; the greater the efforts in our actions, the greater the outcome! Until we do not have a strong purpose in our life, we do not have a meaningful purpose in the actions of our life. For example, the purpose when playing football is to score a goal. If there was no aim to this game it would amount to the ball being kicked here and there with no higher purpose and no higher gain.

    Therefore, the learning from above conversation of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Kalam sir, Kalam sir’s words of wisdom from the speech, and this blog of Arun sir, gives us the same message. If we want to play a tiny role towards better society, it will being from being self as spiritually pure and to align our purpose of life toward higher spiritual goals – so that we can make our every action a tiny contribution of peaceful and better society. That will help us sail through these tough and uncertain times for self and others. Thank you Arun sir once again for wonderful thought provoking blog. Keep inspiring.

  18. Thank you for pinpointing and highlighting the exact need of the hour, Dr Tiwari. One often hears people saying — “Covid is not going anywhere in the near future; we have to learn to live with it, by building our immunity”. Similarly, the era of disquiet is not going any time soon…in fact, may even get more intense! We need to build our resilience.

    Peace is the basic minimum requirement for survival, the absence of which can rattle families, disturb children, and then society and the nation, and lead them all to utter ruin. As you point out, peace has to come from within an individual and then influence the surroundings. Realising this, perhaps, people are trying to invest in themselves and their routines. One has also seen any number of online counselling and therapy sessions suggesting different techniques, across age groups.

    Your suggestions of setting a regimen, fresh air and exercise, taking up a hobby, taking out “me time”, and affirmation through reading the prayer of St Francis are valuable. At least one person in each family simply must adopt these, making a conscious choice to be a peacemaker. In fact, with disturbances set to increase, one `peacemaker-soldier’ per family will soon be not just a “nice to have”, but a “need to have”!

    The more sensible individuals in families must do it and keep at it. This does not mean one has to eschew normal living — but it may certainly require some bit of sacrifice at times; it will necessarily mean developing stamina, both physical and mental. And they will need to be in it for the long haul. For the sake of ‘rescuing’ our own people, and most importantly, our children, this will need to be done!

    The practice of Pranayama, intake of appropriate diet and other positive impressions, and certain chants and stotrams are known to be good aids in the process of building inner courage. For those weak moments, when even such individuals will feel like victims, there is always God.

  19. Dear Sir , Namaste … As always , wonderfully articulated with not only appropriate examples but with very practical solutions too…!!!!! Many a times , I read your blog and feel like ..’ Still the Mother Earth is blessed with Soulful Sons/ Daughters ….

    Since childhood , I was told to do something better, however greater, darker situation it could be … and that send me on the street and market to search for the people in need …. There is an occupation where people collect our old used clothes and in return give us a new vessel … These people are almost daily wagers and now have completely lost the livelihood…. Somehow, God was graceful to make me capable to help them … Today , one such fine lady met me at the gates of D-Mart selling garbage bags and earning enough to provide to her fatherless three children … I was very happy to see her that she found a way to earn instead of relying on freebies… She also ran towards me I thought to buy those bags too … She gave me one extra , saying Didi … You did so much for me .. at least “itna to me kar sakti hu“. I was speechless to see the humbleness of the lady….

    Few minutes later, I checked WhatsApp… there were 63 msgs… in a group belong to a very high society people complaining about menial topics and discussing the matter that hardly had any significance in today’s testing times ….!!!!!!!!!

    I was wondering…. in which school that lady has learnt all those Values … and what this high class, international schools have missed??? Is it that tough lessons Imparted by streets make you benevolent while luxury and comfort , financial , social security develops the self sense of self importance only …..????? Are we only creating money machines who can only generate money and nothing else ????? And then I read your blog … and I thanked GOD …. Thank you very much Sir ..!!!

  20. Prof Tiwari, Thank you once again for reflecting albeit softly on the climate affecting our social linkages and existence in the world we live in, the anger, frustration, arguments, and general acrimony in the society, is a product of the investment that each has made prior to the crisis, sadly none is exempt as this pandemic has revealed, hence the universal reflection of the individual responses to the crisis.

    Tomorrow is not assured to any one, however high, mid or low placed is. A son of an African extraction called his mom in Kenya seeking for assistance in addressing certain challenges he was facing in the big democracy gone bad also known as the United States of America. The mother patiently listen to the litany of challenges as the son would describe them, then she paused two questions to her son:

    1. Do you go to church?
    2. Do you pray to God?

    The son responded in the affirmative to each of the two questions, to the son’s surprise she went on to say, then you are alright my son, any other things are decorations of our existence in this sin loaded World, they must confront us else we would not be humans!

    May be the other problem we are confronted with in the world today is a misplacement of priorities and moral values to the point that we have forgotten investing in the most important, yet the most needful, educating the person that we are and those around us, on how to live with ourselves, how to coexist with fellow human beings and how to live in the world with the God given elements.

    When we are taken to school, we learn the arts and sciences for the sake of knowledge acquisition that will enable us pass exams, there has not been a curriculum developed to help learners develop skills in facing real life challenges, it is not surprising to see famed counsellors committing suicide, a reflection of the hopelessness that has engulfed us in the world today.

    I see the current pandemic and the obvious global ignorance at addressing it as a wake up call, when we are bankrupt of solutions within and among our kind, the best solution is to go where we should have started with at the beginning….UP to God the creator of heaven and earth, He has candidly told us in the Bible that if we turned to Him, He will show us great and wonderful things – “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. “ Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV), if only we paid attention!

    People like the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, our passionate friend, are in short supply if any, but we collectively can learn from their experience of living for others in spreading hope where hope was inadequate or hopelessness existed, confidence where none existed and belief in goodness without expecting anything in return while living in the world today. After all none of the properties we are amassing today (without thinking what a relief a certain degree of sacrifice will bring to those not so privileged around us) will last forever, neither will be of use once this life is done with. Where are the 7 wonders of the ancient world and their splendor, where are the world famed riches of King Solomon, what of Mansa Musa? For illustration on the illusory nature of wealth and fame.

    As you correctly pointed out ‘Peace must be sought from within and must first be practiced amongst the immediate family members, and the workplace colleagues. More and more people doing this will create a peaceful and harmonious society and once it becomes a norm, good effects will start manifesting’ then we shall lead purposeful lives.

    May we all be encouraged by the serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Without forgetting that no human being is an island, we need each other hence Ubuntu: ‘I am because you are’ at all times

    The Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is a prayer for humanity all the time:

    Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    And where there is sadness, joy.

    May we say these words while meaning them by God’s grace.

  21. Thanks for this timely and pertinent piece Arunji. Four phases of lockdown followed by an unlockdown phase, a few shorter lockdowns, the jugglery with statistics and the vaccine race, bribes and black marketing, arguments and acrimony, but the fear and anxiety is only increasing with new ones being added. I don’t think this pandemic is going anywhere as long as we don’t learn the lessons it has come to teach and wait champing at our bits to get back to our consumerist rampage! And even if it goes and we fall back with relish and abandon to a rapacious plunder of nature again, I am sure it (or something akin) will be revisited to restrain us to seek fulfilment of need but not greed.

    You are right to be asking where people like Kalam are. For it is the individual who must seek within and flower, spreading hope, faith, peace, harmony and love. The so called great revolutions of history driven by idealistic mob fervour- French, Russian, Chinese, American, Spanish etc., – have all eventually resulted in another regime carrying on the tyranny, despotism, discrimination and exploitation, replacing the earlier. It is not such revolutions that can help in the betterment of the world and the human condition but it is individuals achieving enlightenment and every enlightened individual spreading the truth of the oneness of each self with all that is to millions of his/her own contemporaries and future generations that will.

    This progress towards the ultimate truth that will reveal our all encompassing consciousness leading to unbounded bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda) is indeed happening as a gradual process of evolution towards universal liberation. But it is not just the gradual evolutionary process: it is periodically catalysed by revolutionary personal effort that results in individual enlightenment followed by the inspiration to millions of others.

    You hit nail on the head when you say peace must first be sought within oneself. The endeavour that needs no be encouraged and embarked upon is the revolutionary individual effort to achieve enlightenment and the focus indeed needs to be on what one can work upon to change for the better, and difficult though it is to control one’s own thoughts, emotions, attachments and actions (breathing) – all largely essential avenues to ultimate realisation, it is obviously a lot easier than trying to control someone else’s thoughts, emotions, attachments & actions! The idea being that more the number of individuals who have seen the light, the more equitable, peaceful and blissful will be the world order. I feel we have reached the limit of our physical evolution (standing upright, dropping tails, developing opposing thumbs etc- which have largely been involuntary processes) and our further progress lies in the (conscious) evolution and expansion of our consciousness to realise tat-tvam-asi!

    I’ve gone on a bit of a spiritual detour I’m afraid but I do believe that it’s the only path and process of further evolution for achievement of our ultimate potential and for the earth to become the paradise we all seek. Meanwhile, let us continue our prayers for an effective Covid vaccine at the earliest and for good sense to prevail upon the entitled or fatalistic folk flaunting their naked faces risking themselves and others: there are so many of these in India too!

  22. Dear Prof Arun, As always, thank you for your insights on the troubling messages coming from all corners of the earth.

    No one can give what he/she doesn’t have. The disquiet, the hopeless messaging, fear mongering and extreme negativism; aren’t they signs of the sickness of the originators?

    “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama.

  23. Dear Tiwari, Yes, we require people like Dr Kalam. Let us invoke the Kalam in us and lives, the lives of those we love and the entire human kind. Let us look at the happenings impassionately and each of one spread this message of being calm, rationale. Let us educate the masses in our own small way and face the troubles. Let us be the solution – NOT be the problem – NOT take advantage of the others’ weakenss. Let us pray and be positive, but at the same timke take care – just like the British Admiral Nelson. He successfully defended Britain agains combined might of the Spanish and the French – He is reported to have said before the Battle of Trafalgar – “Let us pray and have hope, but let us keep the (gun) powder dry.”

    Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

  24. Everyone wants and needs peace, but not many will make an effort for it. Sometimes, as humans, we link our happiness to having peace. Only a few could understand that “what we have” can never bring peace, but “what we are” and “what we become” will surely help in the journey of seeking peace. Maybe wanting peace is just a start. The calmness of mind and soul, having them in harmony is hard, when we are all surrounded by just the noise. As mentioned in the article, the world has become a place where we have to rely on noise cancelling tools to focus on our inner self. The sad reality is that our emotions can easily be triggered by every possible external factor like family, friends and society we live in.

    We disturbed the dynamics of the world by taking nature for granted, consuming all that we can. As long as there is greed and false mirage of success, it’s hard for people to be peaceful. Even after a lot of advancement in the field of science and technology, we kept dropping many points on this life scale of living like a human and being human.

    I personally believe, everyone has their own definition of peace. There are only a few people who actually think about people around them, supporting them, or standing by them in times of need. Once the change begins with us, it just radiates and transforms the society around us. Its not just about achieving peace but also finding ways that help us maintain peace.

    Thank you Sir, for bringing up another thought provoking content. These really help us to understand the world we live in, the norms we built, and also for giving us a chance to reflect on our perception towards things.

  25. Hari Om sir

    It is true that the world is facing a dark time and in this times. of stress and strain, we are all searching for a beacon of hope. While the media is in its usual frenzy of feeding binaries of division fuelled by it own mindless consumerist agenda, all is not full lost in this dark time. The largest youth population of the world in India has been caged and from within this cage, there is an emotional and spiritual churning taking place in all of them and not all fallen into the binary trap.
    They are at peace for their idols are lit by their beacons who are alive in their hearts.

    As said by you, the peace will have to be sought but it cannot be sought by pursuit on the outside, just like happiness

    But concrete actions and right mental attitude will insure inner peace and when this is found, the ripple effect will spread through families and societies

    Both the prayers, The Serenity prayer and also the beautiful one on peace by St. Francis of Assisi are worth remembering and the suggestion to write it in paper is definitely a nice one in this time.

    Sat- Chit – Ananda … Truth-Consciousness and Bliss….When truth will manifest in one’s consciousness, bliss will radiate through the soul and its sphere of influence will keep on increasing and this is the only way for all of us to become peacemakers.

    But this is a process that will take its own sweet time and the only thing people can do is to savor the bliss in the little moments of life while striving for these ideals for in these times being able to spend a moment with our loved ones just having a cup of tea and biscuits is a providence divine

  26. Dear Arunji, Thank you so much for sharing this. One of the best blogs from you. It is too good and you gave lot of messages. It is apt that you have dedicated to “Sir” Dr Kalam.

    After SATYAM crisis, Dr Kalam spoke to me on 7th Jan 2009 and mentored me on coping with that crisis, particularly to be positive, patient, owning the situation, defeating it by captains it. When we came out of that crisis, with his guidance, he narrated a poem to describe how I defeated that crisis. Yes he came home for dinner on 12th August 2010 and spent almost three hours with family with his humility and as part of the family. We miss him badly during This Corona crisis to guide the country.

    Last four months, I am getting up an hour before and going to bed also an hour before for 8 hour sleep. I get equal time for work, Walk, Yoga and leisure activities including quality time with spouse. This is an excellent blog. Thank you Arunji.

  27. The present day world is often described as VUCA world. In this acronym, V stands for Volatile, U for Uncertain, C for Complex and A for Ambiguous. For dealing with these fast changing, VUCA times, your blog shows the enlightened path of inner peace and focus.

    As you have mentioned about ‘ Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey, we should identify and focus on ‘our circle of influence’ rather than worrying about things we have absolutely no control.

    The prayer included in your blog is very valuable for practicing calmness and peace in day-to-day life.

  28. Dear Uncle, This article beautifully captures the essence of peace. For me, peace is chemistry and interal process. But many think it as concept and external process. Peace must be sought from within. And yoga, meditation & prayers (mantras) are wonderful and proven tools to change your chemistry at fundamental level so that you attain a state of peacefulness within yourself at all the times and under all situations. Once you achieve that state, then your emotional response to external events will also be changed accordingly. And once humanity at large is peaceful within, then external world will also be peaceful.

    Hence this process of attaining inner peace has to start today. As somehow during process of evolution, humans are getting more and more disconnected with their innerself and have lost the art of how to be peaceful. Hence we have to go back to roots changing our chemistry at fundamental level to achieve that state of peacefulness.

    You can definitely be peaceful momentarily if you are experiencing comfort, in company of nature, or experiencing any kind of pleasure and joy, in company of loved ones, while relaxing etc. But the idea is not to find momentarily peace in these external events. You have truly attained peace when its not dependent on any external factors whatsoever. And you are in this constant state of peaceful equilibrium even though there is chaos in external world.

    Also I don’t believe that we have to detach ourselves from worldly pleasures to be peaceful. As person I want to enjoy all the comforts, pleasures, good things that life has to offer. But the question is are you peaceful even when you are riding a bicycle uphill and while riding a Ferrari?

  29. This article indeed brings a lot more harmony in such disquiet times. This article explains what peace is and also how we can attain it. I have written down the prayer and will follow it regularly.

  30. Thank you Sir for once again sharing this wonderful article. COVID not only only led us to believe that physical health is beyond any of the worldly pleasures, but mental health plays an equal role for a harmonious life. Mental health is now being taken seriously and considered less of a taboo. We have a seen a sudden rise of people talking about their journey with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

    I personally took to meditation to seek solace and find my inner peace. Meditation does wonder when done correctly and taken seriously. Doing small things like baking, gardening or cooking which I never thought I would enjoy have given me tremendous pleasure in these times of lockdown.

    Life is not a competition. The media portrays everything as a race and the COVID situation too fell in the rat race trap. With all the negativity going around, I will make sure I follow your wise words and inculcate them in my daily routine. Thank you again for always guiding all of us by showing the light ahead.

  31. Patience, empathy and respect for law are fast disappearing commodities in the present day societies. Commercialization of religion has driven away the spirituality from it and the societies. Consequently, there is all around anger, frustration, arguments and acrimony.

    An individual is the basic unit of a society. If a society has to change, the change must occur at the individual level. If an individual is at peace and harmony with nature, so would be the societies. Leadership, which can inspire and motivate individuals, is regretfully missing from the scene.

  32. Where are people like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – spreading hope, confidence and belief in goodness?” You have spoken on behalf of thousands of peace-loving and rational people. You are showing a mirror, “There is not even one voice in this cacophony of concerns, accusations, and arguments, talking peace. Everyone seems to have taken a ‘for or against’ stand on every issue.” The evening TV debates and nonsense on social media have become a real nuisance. What was seen as a great convenience and expression medium has actually turned out as a curse. In fact, there is more trash on social media than on roads. I have always seen you a live example of ‘the Golden Mean’, preached by Buddha. Keep writing Sir.

  33. Sir, this blog article is very personal and useful. I felt like sitting in your class, which we all miss now. “By making these small changes, you will feel peace, little and gentle, like a whiff of fresh air.” I have been following your advice, “All people are basically the same – names and forms differ. Everybody wants to be happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous, secure, and above all, to be loved and liked by others.” It is indeed true. It works very effectively. Thank you for sending us positive energy through your blog.

  34. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is forever alive not only in our memory but in our work, which is inspired by his grounded approach and respect for another person’s viewpoint. Not only are we living in noisy and argumentative times there is also a lot of mistrust amongst people. Scientific institutions have already taken a beating in their failure to speak in one voice about coronavirus.

    Now there is a competition in announcing a coronavirus vaccine. There is a big point of view against vaccination and unless coronavirus is fully understood followed by a rigorous study, we can’t rush a vaccine because some leader wants glory for winning elections, or some company wants to make millions overnight. Coronavirus is spreading unabated in spite of best efforts and precaution. I wish someone like Dr Kalam would get up and speak against this vaccine rush.

  35. Yes Uncle, Social distancing, financial challenges and extended periods of isolation can take a toll on one’s emotional and spiritual health in this Covid crisis. No wonder, we are daily hearing news related to this.

    I might sound selfish here but at least I have my peacemaker always with me – that’s you!
    Any amount of hopelessness vanishes when I seek advice from you. May all get such a Messiah in their lives whom they can look up to for bringing eternal peace in their lives.
    Having said that, I believe meditation is the key. Have been practicing it lately and never had I understood the importance of it the way I am understanding now. Meditation makes you go within, when everything out there seems disturbing.

    Now I’ll go ahead and write The Peace Prayer on a paper and will paste it right in front of my work table on the wall. Thanks for yet another insightful blog and a stupendous advice.

  36. Thank you Prof. Tiwari once again for a timely thought provoking blog post.

    The negativity is in fact everywhere here in the U.S., not only due to COVID-19 induced stress, but by the stress from widespread riots in the aftermath of black man murdered by a policeman. Then add to that an election year with the most politically-polarized America I’ve ever seen. So how does one find peace during this chaos? I agree with your suggested therapy. One must find it within. For me, I find myself enjoying a jog at the lake. Exercise is the best stress reducer! I also find myself watching less news and more films and documentaries on Netflix. More ‘my time’ as you say. And finally, I’m happy to be able to attend church each week to worship God. I find tremendous peace in His promises to us.

    Your blog reminded me of a saying that was given to me by a successful local businessman. I need to revisit it each day: “This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important, because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.”

    For what’s going on today, I would add the Serenity Prayer as well each day.

  37. Hello Tiwariji, As you have brought out, peace and propagators of peace are the need of the hour. However it’s easier said than done. Doctors and healthcare workers who are stretched beyond their capacity, engineers who work from home which is far hectic than their routine, students who miss schools and university who are forced with online lessons, there seems to be disorder everywhere around us. Though we would all love a 8-8-8 routine, but the environment around us hardly allows us to do so. The question is how to we strike a balance with it and even more, how long do we have to hold on like this.

  38. True Arunji, definitely likes of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam are rare not just in the country but across the globe.. And these are the times when peace is truly required.

    Feel truly fortunate & blessed to still have quite a few near and dear ones around who are still trying to make the best in their own capacity of this pandemic times.. Family times have increased, many families have developed new skills and at the same time I see lot of social organizations shying away from use of technology are embracing it for great causes.

    Also, since your blogs are always inspiring to do good and creating positivity around, would like to share one today’s example towards the same. Samskrita Bharati Telangana rolled out registration form for free Sanskrita classes for children between age 5-14 last week. In matter of 3-4 days, around 1500 children signed up. Just today 50+ batches of around 30 children each began. Around 100 volunteers are making things happen and around 1000+ children getting benefited. And all this happening absolutely free of cost.

    Similar IITR Sanskrit Club in collaboration with Samskrita Bharati had rolled out registration form for Online classes on 1st July. Classes were to start on 5th July (Guru Purnima Day). More than 13000 people signed up in 4 days. The series is going live for last 10 days, with thousands watching. The last day of this live public lecture series is tomorrow.

    While Dr Kalam Sir is missed for sure and not easy to fill the gap, still the blood that runs our civilization’s lifeline always finds interesting ways to keep new energy flowing.. It may be through manifestations of leaders like you or initiatives like examples shared above..

  39. Nicely written sir. I just want to add my perspective as an individual that I felt in this pandemic time. We all need a Good friend (which I feel that its very hard to find in the era of social-network) as we all are the cool generations of “Lonely people”. Frankly in today’s time people are not interested in listening to our problems they are just interested in their own perspectives. And the “sense of anger, frustrations and acrimony” is coming from these issues. Also when we think about our role-models, examples to whom we can look upto is very less. As in today’s “result oriented atmosphere” no one discuss about the “failures or guide them in saying that its ok to fail, its ok to STOP”. So that’s what I feel that we all need a GOOD FRIEND who can just sit with us, listen to us and lastly give us a HOPE. And I believe that things will change, our perspective from life will change. As Dr. Kalam said “In life no one will remember us how we looked, talked, walked or what we did. People remember us by the way we made them feel when they were with us”. And with right kind of people we will definitely gets PEACE and sense of SERENITY.

  40. Sir Everyone is facing this situation…. rightly said…. not to loose peace.
    I think two elements are also essential – set our limits and forget what others will think.

  41. Nice blog, but it misses the point. The search for peace is a nice thing to do, however these times call for a search for character. What is the stuff of which we are made? As the U.S. President John F. Kennedy, said in his famous “We choose to go to the moon speech” on September 12, 1962, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    There are now things we must do in this coronavirus pandemic not because they are easy, but because they are hard. And some of these things are very simple, like wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. And yet many Americans, regrettably, have failed this character test, like patrons trying to barge into a Walmart not wearing a face mask, or refusing to engage in social distancing. We are all being tested in this pandemic, and too many Americans have failed this character test. That is why the pandemic still rages in the United States. The conventional wisdom is to blame the lack of leadership in the United States. And it is true that leadership at the national level has been sorely lacking particularly at the presidential level. But we are not sheep; we are not followers.

    We must be leaders. Thus far, the pandemic has claimed over 140,000 lives in the United States, with the prediction of 250,000 lives to be lost by November. You are correct to note that there is negativity everywhere. But the correction to that negativity lies within ourselves. As Cassius notes in Julius Caesar:

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our starts,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

    The search for peace is a necessary antidote for these troubled times, but it is not sufficient. Far more important is the search for character, and that is what has been sorely lacking in the United States. India should study how the United States has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic to see what not to do.

  42. Sir, I have been fortunate to meet Dr APJ Abdul Kalam with you. He treated me with love and affection, asked about my well-being, what work I do, my parents, etc. This kindness is not shown by people who are not even one thousandth in stature of Dr Kalam. People have developed their egos so big that they are unable to carry it around properly. They get upset at every little inconvenience and talk in an argumentative tone. Media debates are further doing harm. The guests there talk loudly, even abusively and say irrelevant things. Children are picking wrong ways of talking from them. Thank you for writing this peaceful article and reminding us about the great soul Dr Kalam.

  43. Indeed search for a peacemaker external to us should end. No one can bring peace.. it is to be seeded, sprouted and cultivated to grow within ourselves and within community and society to bring peace across nation. Externalities should not bother us..but to be like this..we need to train our psyche.. but it is not easy…it calls for a balanced spiritual mindset. Let us plough our minds to prepare canvas for a green and sustainable peace everywhere. Let us turn ourselves to be harbingers of peace. This effort needs to replicate for a peaceful world order

  44. Dear Sir, You are right, we are missing a personality like Respected Kalam Sir today. Humanity is really in the worst phase and things all over the world is really bad.

    With blessings of God and Guru like you, I am in a country where things are comparatively good and under control. I should be happy for that but I am very sad these days and feeling helpless yhat my contribution towards my country men & society is nothing.

    The motivational posts from you are in lighting and guiding me. I think it is helping not only me but all the blessed people in touch with you. We can feel Sir Kalam’s energy and guidance coming through you and touching us for the betterment of all. Keep us in-lightened by your posts. Warm Regards.

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