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Rome City Hall Part 1
Councilors, General Council and distinguished guests, this truly is a great honor to be here, and to take a moment and talk about peace. I have been coming to Rome for quite a long time. In fact, when I left India when I was a teenager, the first stop outside of India that I had ever come to was Rome.
And, then of course, the flight continued on to England. But my challenge, in the few days that I had, which was a vacation, a summer vacation—and I came, really, to explore the possibility of what would happen: “How would people react to my message?” I didn’t know if the West was going to be open to the message of peace.
And this is where I would like to clarify. We use the word “peace.” Having talked about this subject for over forty-nine years, I can tell you that the word “peace” does not mean the same thing to everyone. To some people it’s absence of war; to some people it’s a place up on a mountain.
And I don’t care what people call it. You know, when you’re really, really hungry, and you’re dying of hunger, and you come across food, you don’t say, “What is this called?” You eat. If you come across water and you’re dying of thirst, you don’t ask the person, “What do you call ‘water’ in your language?” You drink.
It doesn’t matter what we call peace. But away from the ideas of peace, there is an understanding of peace. In fact, yesterday this is what I was talking about to the students, that, “Let’s just forget about the word ‘peace,’ and let’s just try to understand what it is.”
A place from where a person flourishes, where a human being comes to their full potential as a human being—fulfilled, not filled with doubts and questions, but with clarity, in an understanding deep within themselves that emanates from their heart.
There are some things in this world that are not subject to thought; they’re subject to feeling. When you are tired, and you start to fall asleep, you can try to tell yourself, “This shouldn’t be happening.” You can try to tell yourself this is not the appropriate time. You can try to tell yourself this is not the appropriate place.
But if you’re tired, you are tired—and the body says “bye-bye” to all your reservations, to all your ideas. I mean, I have seen pictures of U.S. presidents in the most important of conferences, and they’re falling asleep. I have seen grown men in a train, in front of everybody, snoring away.
Because it is what it is. The quest for peace does not begin here. It is a feeling, and it comes from the heart of every human being. And so, to truly understand this subject of peace, one also has to understand it from the very heart of one’s being—not analysis.
Because obviously, the need for peace, at this moment of time, is incredible. Everywhere we look, it’s like the fuse of the bomb is lit, and the only difference is how long the fuse is. It’s only a matter of time.
Some have a short fuse, already blowing up; others have a long fuse, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly burning. Because the basic core understanding of “what is a human being” is gone! Now the only thing that exists is reasons and logic.
We have armies, but believe me, no soldier wants to fight. No soldier wants to fight. If they don’t have to fight, risk their life...? Because those soldiers have a baby waiting for them at home, have a wife waiting at home—and in their imagination, a future waiting at home. And they want to come home.
But, there is something in us that also makes us fight. There is something in us that also makes us fight. We are a projector—everything, we project. When we are happy, we smile! Not on purpose—we just smile! When we are sad, we have a very long face.
It doesn’t matter how funny the situation is—still, we express! And the war outside is the expression of the film that’s playing on the inside.
– Prem Rawat