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Purnima Ramakrishnan Headshot

Pray on International Day of Peace

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"It is world peace day on Sept. 21," I told my 6-year-old son.

"So," he asked?

"So, we pray for World peace on that day," I told him.

"Oh, mom, but we have to be peaceful on all days, just not Sept. 21," retorted my little boy and ran away to join his friends for a game of football.

This innate wisdom can be seen only in young children these days. Why so? Because as adults we are so much into our own murky self-centred world of hatred, jealousy, prejudice and violence.

Personal change is so easy, but global change is so much more difficult, we all generally think. So, I say, do the easy part first. Since personal change which we think is so easy, why not we all individually change so much so for the better?

Take it one day at a time. Remove all feelings of jealousy for your co-worker. Feel genuine good will and warmth for all your colleagues.

And then, forgive and forget your religious neighbours for any snide remarks they could have made which is still making you harbour prejudice for him in a religious perspective. Don't say, "Oh, he is Jewish (or Christian or Muslim or Hindu or whatever else), so he is expected to behave like that." Think, "because he is all that, I will love him."

Stop hating your ex-spouse, your in-laws, your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, your relative or that prodigal sibling and everyone else you hate right now. I know, that is so much easier said than done. At least call them up on World Peace day and say hello. That is so much simpler and easier, right? OK, please, let us go, do it. It is also easy in this digital age to post a message on their Facebook or Twitter profiles if you dread that phone call.

Start easy. Slowly build it!

We may not be able to directly work for stopping wars or national/international corruption. But we can surely try to spread peace, harmony and love within our family, society and community. And voila, this spreads across the universe.

Remove thoughts of violence from your mind. I say "mind" and not heart because the heart is not capable of any of these negative feelings. It only knows love and peace. So, remove feelings of negativity and violence from your hearts. Treat everyone with understanding and tolerance. Call your colleague for a coffee break -- that colleague with whom you had an unresolved tiff six months ago.

Hey, did I forget the most important thing? Love yourself. That is primary. I don't mean it in a self-conceited narcissistic way, but in that beautiful way you are supposed to. Close your eyes every day and tell yourself, you are the most beautiful person you have met and your heart is filled with so much love that it will explode and fill the whole world with love. Oh, the cosmetics are no match for the beauty you obtain this way!

Work on yourself. Make yourself dedicated and sincere for the purpose of humanity. Your love filling the whole world will bring about a difference. How? Because you are changed and this change spreads. Offer yourself to "change."

I do not say peace comes in a day. But we can start it today. Like my son says, "He is at peace since the time he was born." Why? Because children are happy. And in that happiness, they find their peace. So, let us all be happy. And in that happiness, of course, we find a way to end all grief. To come up to the level of real happiness we must necessarily rise above ourselves, which is essential for the creation of atmosphere of universal love. Paradoxical, huh? Because, I just said love yourself and now I say love the universe. Start doing it. You will know what I mean!

So, how do I intend to spend my day on Friday, which has been declared as the International Day of Peace by the U.N. General Assembly? (The U.N. declared in 1981 that this would be a "day of global ceasefire and non-violence" and invited all member states, organisations and individuals to commemorate the day through education and public awareness.) As part of and on behalf of the international NGO, the Shri Ram Chandra Mission, which is associated with the U.N. since 2005 and works in support of the public good and fulfils the principles outlined in the U.N. Charter, I invite you for a day of non-denominational prayer. Since its founding in 1945, the Shri Ram Chandra Mission has been providing a platform for spiritual and practical living used by people in more than 90 nations.

So, on this day I invite you to sit at the appointed hour and pray for universal peace. For more information on this, you can write to un.info@srcm.org, which will help you contact your nearest SRCM centre.

I conclude this post quoting the words of the founder of Shri Ram Chandra Mission:

We must learn how to create within the heart a feeling of universal love, which is surest remedy of all evils and can help to free us from the horrors of war ... It is only the spiritual force that can remove the causes of war from the minds of people ... If my opinion were to be invited, I would lay down the simplest possible method: Let all brothers and sisters sit daily at a fixed hour individually at our respective places and meditate for about an hour thinking that all people of the World are growing peace loving and pious."

To read more about the response letter sent by Shri Ram Chandraji Maharaj to the UN in 1957, click here. To know more about the organization, click here.