Swami Satyadharma- Discussing Peace
“We all wish to live a happy life in a prosperous and peaceful society, but we are groping in the dark. The atmosphere that prevails in the world today is pervaded by fear and greed. In our personal lives too, the more we want, the more we need, the more we worry. Peace cannot be found in accumulation of wealth, property and external objects. Peace is a quality of life. In yoga we talk about three qualities: (i) tamas—stability, (ii) rajas—activity, and (iii) sattwa—peace. In order to attain peace, therefore, the quality of sattwa must prevail in our lives, as well as in the environment all around. When the quality of tamas prevails, it will lead to inertia and depression. When rajas prevails, there will be restlessness, desire and stress. Only when sattwa prevails, can we find peace, happiness and contentment.
Many people practice yoga in order to manage depression or stress. This means that yoga practices balance the qualities of tamas and rajas, and help us to cultivate sattwa. In this way, yoga is very helpful, and it can get us through a hard day, or a difficult week. But in order to cultivate peace on a more enduring basis, we need to look at making some important changes in our lifestyle and patterns of thinking. The yogic practitioner uses the methods of yoga to bring peace into his or her life, as and when needed. The yogi, on the other hand, lives in peace and removes all elements which hinder peace from his or her life. There is no place for worry or stress, when the primary motive in life is peace. Perhaps, as yoga teachers and practitioners, we may consider how important peace really is to us, and whether or not we are ready to make room for it.
At this point, many may think, well, I would like to have peace. But I would also like all the good things in life that I already have or wish to have. With this level of commitment, some peace may come, but one will swing on the pendulum of the guna, unable to establish peace in one’s life. What does it take to abide in peace? Where to begin? First of all, let us consider the yogic adage of simplicity. How can I live in simplicity? How can I raise my family in simplicity? Whatever we have now is enough. We do not need more or better. Even if more or better comes, we may not need or want that. Next consider how much we do, and what we actually need to do. Fewer activities mean more time to be at peace with ourselves and with our family.
In this way, we need to take a fresh look at ourselves, at our life, at our family, and try to understand where we are really going, what we are really doing, and how much of what we think is important really is. If peace is really important to us, then it is worth living for, it is worth working for, and it is worth meditating and praying for. We imagine that by attending a peace conference peace can be attained. But peace is not so superficial; it is not so easy to come by. In order to cultivate peace inside and out, our attention must be directed towards peace, our own inner peace, and the impact of our thoughts, words and actions on the peace of others around us and on the environment. Everything that we do or say is a reflection of our inner state of being, our state of inner peace.
Yoga is a path to peace, because it helps us to attune with ourselves and reflect that which is most positive, benevolent and peaceful. As yoga teachers we are all messengers of peace, not only in what we teach, but also in how we live our lives. A yogic life is a peaceful life. A teacher of yoga is a teacher of peace, and shows the pathway to peace through every class and through every action. Just think, towards the end of your life someone may ask, “So, what did you do to benefit the world during your life?” And you may be able to reply, “I taught yoga and I lived in peace”. “