A couple of little thoughts out here—about family, love, and death. We all need help, Prem.
I thought we could start.... I mean, I just wanted to know—there’s a few things to talk about. I mean, obviously, Peace Is Possible is one of them, that I’d love to mention. And you’d be very kind to give us a few copies of the book that we can give to people and then we’re going to run something on social media and let people know all about it.
But could you tell me—I mean, Peace Is Possible, I suppose, the inspiration for that is probably the last forty years of you dedicating yourself to the issue. I mean, what’s the story behind it?
Well, the story behind it is, there’s something that happened with this book; this book has actually come out in different names and it’s Splitting the Arrow, When the Desert Blooms. And the message is very simple and it’s got a few stories in it that are poignant, I think, to our everyday existence.
And what I have really, really liked—and I didn’t design this or I didn’t do this on purpose—but this book has become localized. And so, different—like the Spanish and the Italians, they brought out this book and it’s all about “When your desert blooms”—the same, same book. And then here in England, it’s being called “Peace Is Possible.”
So the different countries are taking the book and localizing it to what connects them to this book—and I think it’s just wonderful!
Yeah, and is that in relation particularly to the title? When we say “When your Desert Blooms” or “Peace Is Possible” or “Splitting the Arrow,” are you talking specifically in relationship to the way in which the title is translated?
You are—because it made me think about, “Is peace a kind of a universal language,” right? Because, of course, it could be different in Italian and it can be different in Japanese or in French or in German or in English, whatever—Arabic.
Is peace, you know—can it be talked about in one way; do you see what I mean? Is there any differentiation between cultures in relation to the essence of peace?
Not so much the cultures, but the human beings themselves. Everybody has different-colored glasses. So when you mention the word “peace,” they have their own definition of what peace is.
So, if somebody’s in a country where food is the problem, then, “Okay, if everybody had food, we would have peace.” If somebody is in a war-torn situation like Syria or Iraq or so many other places, “That’s peace.”
But you have to establish that and get beyond that to really define and talk about what peace really is.
Yeah. It’s very interesting, this, because I know exactly what you mean. Having traveled like you have—I know it’s 133 countries or whatever it is, whatever the number is—but we’ve traveled a lot. And you’re absolutely right; the conversation of peace is completely different in each place.
And interestingly, you know, we’re sort of getting into technology now. And I know that you’re a great lover of technology; I mean, as I spoke to you as the sort of “the Jedi.” I mean, what you do, flying, filming, writing—I mean, it’s just, it’s inspirational.
But I was thinking that technology—sometimes I hear people say, “Oh, yeah, but, you don’t need to worry about what’s going on in the developed world; you need to be thinking about, you know, what’s going on in places where these conflicts are.
And I’m thinking to myself, “No, actually, you’re not worried about food right now and you’ve got a roof over your head.” We, who have the privilege of that situation, must become really involved; we’ve been given that gift and that opportunity to become involved.
Do you think along those lines sometimes?
Yeah, I do, because one of the things I see is the conflict that is happening in what we consider the “Third World” countries is actually initiated by the “First World” countries.
You know, it takes a lot of money and it takes a lot of technology to start a war these days. And that technology is not technology that was born in the Third World countries; it’s First-World-country technology that comes and starts devastating people’s lives.
To me, the peace that I talk about—because, you know, “no war” or “no, this problem” or “no, that problem....” These are results of something that is amiss inside us.
So, is there a reason why people go hungry? There is absolutely no logical reason, because the amount of food that is thrown away every day, if it was gathered and handled properly...? Because the earth produces more food than is required, even at this stage of the game.
But why are people going hungry, then—if there is more food than is necessary and plenty to feed everybody, why are people...? It is not about food; it is about distribution, as people start to hoard—not food, but distribution of that food. Then people start to become hungry.
So, I just see that, so much in the Western world—and look at it, you know—are you really voting for lawmakers in the Western world? Because that’s what we’re told, “Oh, yeah, you know, vote for this person; they’re going to be, yeah....”
But when they are elected, they go into their—it is the lobbyists who are creating the laws. And what is being protected? Not the people.
Will this change; should this change; can this change? I’m not a politician, but I know one thing: that there is enough goodness in every single human being on the face of this earth, that if that was brought out, if that was allowed to be nurtured, that there would be one simple thing that would happen—not sympathy, but empathy.
It would be the first time that the world will start to use knowledge wisely. We are after accruing knowledge, but we don’t accrue wisdom. And so it’s like, in a cockpit, pilots know there is a checklist; all pilots know there’s a checklist. But to use the checklist is wisdom.
And it’s the same thing. To accrue knowledge and invent new things—like even the phones—and all of a sudden when you don’t use the phone wisely, it can actually land you in the hospital! People have been killed because they were using their phone.
So, to me, these are the little things that need to happen—and understanding yourself is the first primary step to peace.
Yeah, wow. I mean, there are so many things that I’m thinking as I hear you talk and I’m sure people who are listening to it, of course, we’re all thinking that you’re inspiring us and provoking thoughts.
When I saw you six years ago, I mean, I was thinking about Peace Day; you know, you’re obviously thinking about Peace Is Possible. We’re talking; we’re trying to inspire; we’re trying to promote; we’re doing anything that we can—I mean, the incredible work that you’ve been doing in prisons for years—I mean, extraordinary!
There’s something now that’s really worrying, isn’t there—and that is the amount of time that we have left in terms of our resources. And the way in which we’ve treated this beautiful planet that we have.
And more and more, my conversation is now, Prem, in the last, I don’t know, five years, I would say—really in the last five years, particularly in the last couple, as I’ve spoken with people who are very, very knowledgeable; I’ve ended up on a platform with them—they’ve said, “You know, 350 to 400 years left of human beings.” And they’re very, very knowledgeable people.
You know, you talk about the checklist; we know the checklist. And with the wisdom, is there time? I mean, I am—also from personal experiences and understanding human beings and what they say and what they do—I mean, I am concerned. I’m worried; I’m frightened and I’m sad at what’s going on.
I don’t understand it—and I have faith and I have hope and I will work every day as hard as I can, Prem. But, you know, are we going to turn this around? I mean, do human beings—are we going to turn it around?
Yeah, have to. So, the analogy that comes to mind, hearing this is: your house is on fire and you’re standing outside. You’re fine, but your house is on fire. So, you can stand there and you go, “Guess what, guys? My house is on fire.”
Five minutes later, “You know what? My house is on fire.” Six minutes later, “My house is on fire. My house is on fire; my house is on fire; my house is on fire; my house is on—my house is burning down; my house is going to burn down; my house is going to burn down.”
And if you keep doing this, that’s exactly what’s going to happen—your house is going to burn down.
Because what you need to do is grab a bucket, grab a hose. And don’t sit there and lecture about how the house is on fire; do something about that fire!
And I’m just saying that because, just very recently, there was a huge fire where I live—and many, many houses, unfortunately, were devastated; my neighbor’s house was devastated.
But it takes a proactive approach to alter this, to change this scenario. And my thing is, we have the possibility to change it, but we have to stop looking at it as “we”—and we have to say, “Every single individual has to be empowered.”
When we walk on a stage—and it really needs to be, “I am here,” not “we are here.” “I am here on this stage. I want to tell you the possibility of what we, collectively and as individuals, can do to change this scenario.”
The problem that happens is as soon as that “I” goes to “we”—as soon as it goes to “we,” people say, “He’ll fix it. He needs to change; I don’t need to change; I don’t need to fix it; I don’t have the problem.” I’ve seen this; this is sixty years of experience talking, you know?
And it can be changed. It can be changed and it can be changed; it can be changed and the reason why it can be changed is because this problem that we are addressing right now is created by human beings—and if it is created by human beings, they can reverse it, too.
This is a gift that we are here—this planet, the beautiful ocean, the rivers, the forests, the butterflies, that every bit of it is spectacular. And what we have done is, taken it and used it without understanding the consequences of our actions.
And this is a disease with human beings; we act like we know what the consequence will be, but we actually don’t. And so we’ve done a lot of things that we thought are good, but we didn’t really understand what their consequences were.
And now those consequences are starting to surface—and they’re reversible. They can be reversed. Every scientist I listen to, that’s the good news about everything that they have to say at the end of it: “It can be reversed.”
Right. So, yeah, I mean, but what we know and what you know and what I’m listening to and what I’m hearing is that, you know, we’ve got to get to the individuals, whether it’s in that place where the rocks are, in the middle of absolutely nowhere—or whether it’s in New York City—or in London, Sydney, whatever.
We’ve got to try and engage—haven’t we—that sense of individuals understanding that they, they are the ones who can change the world—and then, collectively, obviously, we can shift the level of consciousness around the fundamental issues that we face.
And that’s all it takes! You don’t have to push the box all the way—just enough, just enough, and once it tips the balance? It’s fine.
Yeah. So, briefly, just to update you, because your team asked me to—I wanted to just let you know about, to update you about what’s happening on the 21st of September.
So, I mean, effectively, we think now there are probably 1.5, 1.6 billion people fully aware of the Day; they don’t need to be told. I mean, that number grows every year. So, we’re exposed to a half billion people; you know, 1.4 billion are now totally aware....
And behavioral change: 18, 19, 20 million people not being involved in violence around that day, than they would have been. We see it in the schools; we can see it in the homes. The NGOs do things; the faiths talk about it, etc., etc. Behavioral change.
So, in terms of the progression of the Day: exciting. On the 21st of September, it’s our twentieth year of work, so we’re going to celebrate twenty years of work, obviously. And we’re excited about that, and we’ll launch another five-year campaign.
And the five-year campaign that we’ll launch on the 21st of September is to reach three billion people. And we think that when three billion people are fully aware of the Day, then it will have the life of its own.
And so, we’re going to go for another five years and we’re going to really get involved in technology.
One of the things to let you know about is the application and the platforms that we’re generating to say, “An individual’s contribution should be as important as their education or their job experience.” And we’re in that zone and in that space and we’ll look forward to seeing how that evolves.
The other thing that we’re doing new this time—which we’ve never done before—is looking at the cyberworld as an area of conflict—the extremism, the hate speech, the bullying, the violent imagery, etc.
And as a father with an eight-year-old—and because you’re a father yourself—this is an area that can be very constructive, but it can also be highly destructive. And we’re going to try and decrease negativity and increase positivity on the 21st September and measure it—so we’re excited about all of that.
Can I just talk to you about a couple of things, then—I just wanted to talk about three things, just to help me—and maybe it helps some others.
Can you just talk to me a little bit about the importance of family? And, you know, when I think about the world and I think about peace, I think about, you know, of my family. And if my family’s together and one—and if we can do that on a global scale, then we’d sort of create world peace.
Can you just tell me about the importance of us really holding ourselves together; talk to me a little bit about that.
Well, a family is that unit that’s a bumper in the front, so when a blow comes, it can soften it. The family is the nourishing, nurturing. Somebody who can understand when nobody else will understand you, more than your friends. And obviously, somebody who can give you advice, even at the peril of your anger, and give you good advice....
A family is you in another form. It’s like, not just one flower, but a tree that flowers. That’s a family. And to me, to have that family, to have an understanding of that family, and not to berate that family, not to second that family, but to understand that, that’s number one.
And look at nature—it’s not about just one flower. A plant will not just be satisfied with one flower. “Another one, another one, another one, another one” and before you know it, it’s a family.
And its mission, its job, its purpose, whatever it is in this world, will be fulfilled far greater—and far more beautifully when it is flowering—and there are a whole bunch of flowers on that plant, not just one flower.
Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. And that, yeah, on Peace Day, 21st of September, one of the things that we’ve always said is “Bring the family—” Somebody’s like, “You know, well, what can I do?”
I’m like, “Well, bring the family together. You know, bring the family together; be one on that day” with the sort of global family and also the ones that we have. And so, hopefully, we’ll see a lot of that going on, on the Day.
So, and but a little bit about love.
And I was just thinking on the weekend; I was with my little girl—and I just, you know, I just adore her, right? My entire existence, like, nothing comes first.
When I’m with her, it’s about Rose; it’s not about the work, right? It has to—and it has to be that way for me and I love it.
How do I contain it? I mean, I love her so much, I kind of want to do everything. I mean, have you ever sort of felt that? Have you any sort of words of wisdom for us, you know, both in terms of personal relationships or with family relationships?
When you love so much, you know, it can kind of almost sometimes be too much.
It never is.
It never is? Okay, great.
It never can be. It can never be. Stop thinking; start loving. Don’t think about love; feel the love in your life. It’s a gift. It always won’t be the same. It won’t. It changes. You will change—and one day you won’t be here.
So, love like there is no tomorrow. Stop thinking about what it all means; start loving. If we did that, this world would be a different place today.
Fantastic. And what about—I mean, yeah, these are big thoughts, but what about death? You know, I mean, I’m getting—I’m now, fifty years old! And I’m, you know, looking at my mum and dad and I’m thinking, “Wow, you know, you guys are, like, doing so well.”
But I think about, you know, not so long ago, when I helped my mum say goodbye to her mum. I mean, is that, is it the same as love? I mean, we just love...?
It’s like, I look and I just, I get frightened—I think, “You guys are amazing in the support that you’ve given me and encouraged me,” and I’m just like, the idea of them not being around is a...
Will they—is that what you’re afraid of, that they won’t be around?
Yeah, I think it is, a little bit.
Sometimes I look at them and I think, “Well, what would I do when I have the moments that are tough?” And I would ring my mum or I’d ring my dad and go, “Hey, you know,” and it’s like, “Yeah, you’re there; you’re there.”
And I worry about, sometimes, that they’ll not be there.
Well, you won’t ever lose them. They live in you. They will always live in you. You’ll never lose them. So far you’re alive, they will live inside of you.
It’s just like the moon and earth. That moon was born of the earth. It is no longer part of the earth, but it is always part of the earth. It influences. That wisdom that they gave you when you called them in times of trouble, that’s in you; that’s not going away.
Don’t worry about death—because death is automatic; you don’t have to make an appointment; you don’t have to go see anybody, no, no. It comes.
Don’t be in fear of losing what you will not lose, because they will be in you. Genetically, you are a part—you’re just like a moon. You came from them. You will orbit. They will be there for you in your memories; they will laugh; they will dance; they will tell you things. It’s a wonderful thing, human beings.
And no fear, no fear. Take that energy that you use to be afraid, to be concerned, and use it just to love. Love them like there’s no tomorrow—and then they’ll be closer to you than you realize.
Wow. Yeah, it’s a beautiful thought; thank you, Prem. It’s amazing to see you again.
Good to see you, Jeremy.
Cool. Thank you.
For more information please visit
Peace One Day: peaceoneday.org
Prem Rawat: premrawat.com