Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path  
by Swami Amar Jyoti
Swami Amar Jyoti: Do you pray?

Seeker: Yes.

Try to.
What do you pray for?

Peace of mind.
If it’s not too private, what disturbs you?

The world in general. The way man has structured society.
You know, of course, that you alone cannot change the whole world? Jesus tried, Buddha tried and Krishna tried; it is not one man’s job. But long back I had heard that whatever you want to change, let it start with you. If I want peace in the world, for example, it has to start with me. I need to see what I should change so I do not contribute to more disturbances and contribute to more peace.

I am not disagreeing with what you say about the way man has structured society—whether it is air pollution or nuclear armaments or various social or political aspects. But the question is, if you and I are waiting till the world re-structures itself, we have a long way to go and it may not be achieved while we are living. And if people are wrong, governments are wrong, society is wrong or some structures or systems are wrong, then where does compassion fit in with such analysis or criticism?

Compassion means you are feeling what others feel and see. Not that you are accepting it. You are being with them. Compassion on the surface, as a courtesy, is not real compassion. In other words, if you truly become compassionate, I think criticism ends. If I do not criticize, analyze or find wrong with others, my whole perspective of the world changes.

As a human being, I cannot live with my neighbors or friends or countrymen if I am not compassionate. Without having compassion, everything that goes wrong will disturb me. To be practical, we need to recognize that most people are imperfect and will do wrongs. To help others we should have a large heart and be compassionate and at the same time do our duties and meet with others as they are—not with a rod in hand but with love in our heart. We can contribute to the circumstances in whichever way our duties or propensities or temperaments allow. If we do this we may not see that it has changed the world but at the same time we will have peace of mind.

Peace is within you. It is your own inheritance, your unconditional wealth. You have to discover that within you without basing it on anything outside. Peace of mind is itself a condition for something higher. If we have peace of mind, we can allow God to work through us as instruments or vehicles. We can only let the Light work through us or God work through us when “me”—ego— reduces. However sinful or virtuous, however wrong or right we may be, we can only start from where we are. This needs compassion, patience and peace.

Change is psychological, transformation is spiritual; our whole being is transformed through spiritual growth. If we remain on the same plane of existence—politically, socially or humanly—we can only make certain limited changes. We have seen that history is replete with revolutions, wars and battles. We should not deceive ourselves that these “horizontal” changes are going to solve our world problems. What I call “vertical” change is needed, which is transformation, when you and I begin to change inside.

If we want others to be peaceful, it has to start with you and me. Even if I believe: I am in peace, I don’t hurt anyone, I don’t harm anyone, I’m a good person, is there some structure in me that needs change and transformation? Am I a victim of habits that I cannot give up? Spiritual growth, inner opening, the awakening of consciousness is totally dependent upon the work on the self: self-introspection, self-transformation, prayer and meditation. When we awaken spiritually, we begin to see the hand of God in various ways. We will see that nothing is happening unjustifiably. That does not mean we should let others suffer. We should help them with compassion and loving-kindness, at the same time accepting the basic reality that there is no injustice in God’s kingdom. Man has yet to believe this.

Any imperfection in any human being will itself be a cause of disturbance on the earth. Spiritually and scientifically, nothing happens in any corner of the universe that does not affect everything else. We contribute our goodness or badness, whatever it may be, knowingly or unknowingly, to the wellbeing of all. We may think we do not hurt anyone but if we have negative thoughts or wrong doings, these are going to disturb the atmosphere. That is why purity of heart has been preached in all religions. If you send pure thoughts and feelings, this energy and vibration will reach others, whether they know it or not.

Practices such as yoga, meditation and prayer are needed to purify our hearts and minds. If I cannot change something lacking in myself, how can I help others change? I will lack the strength and power to do that. In this way we live and let live. We radiate vibrations of peace to others, or you might say vibrations of sanity. If I can be relaxed, if I can change myself, if I can be awakened, if I can be released, I have done my best. That is a tremendous job but much less than if I were trying to change the whole world. If each one of us changes only one person—ourselves—the world will change. If you have achieved genuine peace of mind, you will find peace everywhere you go.

What is true of the mind is true of the world. This is a yogic aphorism. Or put it otherwise: what is true of the world is true of our minds. If you can bring peace to your mind, the same process will bring peace to the world. You can conquer hatred only with love, not with hatred. The mind subsides not by reaction but by relaxation, which means letting go. This brings peace.

We have to let go on the world scale and that is what Jesus, Buddha and Krishna taught. It is hard to do, even hard to believe, but that is the only way. Let go—you will not lose anything. Peace of mind is needed to live the life of higher consciousness, God’s life. Therefore we forgive, love and are compassionate to others. This is what is meant by oneness, when the whole world is your family and there are no strangers wherever you go.

You can only express what you are. If you have transformed yourself, you can dream of world transformation. A peaceful mind opens your consciousness so that you see more clearly and your perspective changes. You experience a higher touch where God speaks to you within, you see the hand of God in creation, you hear His voice, and that is a totally transformed reality. 

Excerpted from a Satsang by Swami Amar Jyoti titled, Peace In the World (K-154). Please see for information on how you can hear the original live presentation of this and other Satsangs.