Verses for universal peace

In the context of the current global scenario where religious, sectarian and linguistic hatred, violence and bigotry are playing havoc on man’s peace of mind, where fear and intimidation are the favoured tools of the evil minded, it would be relevant to understand what Indian spirituality has to say about universal peace and well being. The Vedas, the fount of all systems of Indian knowledge are the first source of ancient Indian spiritual thought on man’s origin in this universe, his place in the ladder of creation, his duties and responsibilities, the role of religion in man’s life, his relationship with all other beings including the environment, what and how his conduct should be and so on, clearly, unequivocally laying down the rules to be followed by man for peaceful and harmonious existence in order to realise the true purpose of life.

The Vedas have engendered a vast ocean of spiritual and philosophical literature, authored and expounded by countless magnificent and accomplished minds. Even a cursory glance at verses scattered across this boundless expanse is enough to give an idea of the truly secular, catholic and universal approach of true Indian spirituality.

The first step before talking about true peace and harmony would be to examine the state of our own inner selves. Inner peace in turn requires abiding faith in the power of the supreme as also contentment with one’s lot in life. Thus it is that one verse says, “May our faith in you never wane in intensity, may we have plenty to give away to the needy, may we never beg of others and may others never beg of us”. “May greed never take hold of me. I desire not riches, nor heaven nor even freedom from rebirth. But, pray, grant me the ability to help those in pain and suffering,” says another, highlighting the importance that Indian spirituality gave to serving others and limiting one’s wants.

That names are many, but there is only one supreme power is demonstrated in this verse which says, “he whom the Buddhists call the Buddha, the Shaivaites call Shiva, the votaries of logic call the creator, may he, the Lord of all protect us. This universal consciousness leads to humility where one says, “whatever I do with body, mind, speech, senses and intellect – all that I dedicate to the Lord”. In this spirit of surrender and supplication, the mind asks, “may the wicked become good, may the good realise peace, may the peaceful be released from materialistic bondage and may the released liberate others.

May those who govern be righteous, may there be all-round welfare, may the world be happy. May the clouds bring rains at the proper time, may the earth give bountifully, may the land be free from unrest and may the learned be free from persecution. May everyone be free from disease and misery, may everyone be joyous”. Easy to dismiss as poetic imagination, but very relevant today!

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