Amma’s address at the Interfaith Celebration in honour of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, delivered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, 21 October 1995.
In 1995, for the 50th Anniversary Summit of the United Nations, Amma spoke on her visions for the 21st Century.
Unity is Peace
Salutations to all those present, who are verily of the nature of Supreme Love.
Amma would like to take this opportunity to express her appreciation for the dedicated efforts of those serving the United Nations and the Temple of Understanding in the interest of world peace. May their work find growing support amongst the people and nations of the world.
To grow and develop is the slogan of all nations and individuals in the modern age. Isn’t it good to grow and develop? Certainly! Those are the signs of real life. Life itself would wither away if there were no growth and development. Without these two factors, life has no meaning. Many countries have experienced amazing economic growth. Nevertheless, there remain unending problems within these countries. There may exist external threats from other countries as well. In general, people in every country are unsatisfied and restless, their minds are filled with fear and suspicion. The world is burning like a volcano; people and nations are ready to trample and destroy each other if given the opportunity.
Amma is not saying that goodness and good people have completely disappeared from the face of the earth. There are, of course, virtuous people and organisations like the United Nations, that are striving hard to restore the lost peace and harmony of this planet. But the goodness in the world is not growing at a pace to withstand the rapidly growing forces of evil. We have forgotten the love, concern, and trust that human beings are supposed to show each other. “As long as I get what I want, I don’t care how it’s done!” This is how many people think, and the thoughts of each individual are reflected and become part of the collective thoughts of a nation.
Life has almost become a battlefield, where there are no near and dear ones, but only enemies. Those fighting side by side today, later become divided and can be found fighting each other. The ego and selfishness of man has turned human relationships into a cheap businesslike endeavour. Our concern for our fellow beings has been lost. Our qualities as real human beings are being sacrificed.
Many countries claim that they have made great progress in many fields. This may be true, but as a whole, their growth is stunted. A country may be growing externally, but the inner soul is becoming weaker.
A person is very handsome and has an attractive personality. But what if he is actually gravely ill? What if this same man happens to be dying of heart disease? This is the condition of many countries: the outer facade is greatly embellished, but the inside is falling apart.
There was a time when human beings would gaze at natural phenomena in utter wonderment. As time went on, they began observing and inquiring deeper into these phenomena, rather than simply watching them. Now, in this age of science, man is striving hard to dive deep into the mysteries of the universe. Science and intellect has reached its peak. Yet there is one thing that remains unknown, beyond man’s reach, and that is the infinite power of the Inner Self. The man remains ignorant of the truth that the Universal Power exists within himself. This belief has not yet taken root in him. The Supreme Truth can only be known through faith and meditation. Science, which so far has developed through the human intellect, can only be perfected through meditation. Only through the knowledge of the Inner Self can science reach its highest peak.
Let our effort to discover our own essential nature—that indwelling Universal Power—be a characteristic feature of the new millennium we are about to enter. Let this be recognised as one of the important goals of the next century. We have nothing to lose by trusting the infinite power of the Self, except the bondage of our own ignorance. The chain of limitations that binds us must break, in order to open our hearts, to know each other, and to understand the pain and suffering of others by putting ourselves in their place.
As far as modern science is concerned, the entire world falls into two categories: the known and the unknown. In the future scientists may discover much of what is not yet known. But it is the unknowable, that which is far beyond the intellect, that we must seek to discover, and that is God, or our own True Self.
We may deny God, but the intellect cannot prove or disprove God. A god under the control of the intellect is not what we need. – Amma
We may deny God, but the intellect cannot prove or disprove God. If the intellect were able to prove God’s existence—if the intellect could contain God within its grasp—it would only mean that the intellect is greater than God. If God could be understood through the intellect, then God and religion wouldn’t be necessary at all. Science and the intellect would be enough. A god under the control of the intellect is not what we need. What we need is faith in a Supreme Power that controls the entire universe, that is beyond the mind and senses, and which makes even the intellect function. We should enquire into the very Source of that Power, which exists within ourselves. Faith in that Cosmic Power, together with meditation to know that Supreme Power, alone will help us attain knowledge of the Self, unity, peace, and tranquillity.
That Power is the very substratum of our existence—and our existence cannot be denied. The truth “I exist” is self-evident. You may deny God by saying, “God is just a belief,” but existence cannot be refuted. That existence, that Cosmic Power, is God. God has no separate hands, legs, eyes, or body, other than our own. He moves through our hands, He walks with our legs, He sees through our eyes, and it is He who beats within the heart of each one of us.
This universe is one, not many. Man has divided the world into fragments, not God. It is man, who, through his thoughts and actions, creates turmoil and disintegration in the natural, harmonious unity of the world. Each atom serves as a building block of this universe and is intrinsically connected to every other atom. This planet where we live is not an isolated entity functioning separately from the universe. Everything is part of the Whole. When something good and elevating happens somewhere, those vibrations are reflected in the one Universal Mind. In the case of an evil act, negative vibrations will be reflected. The intensity of the reflection depends on the intensity of the good and bad actions we perform. Unfortunately, in the modern world, human selfishness and evil have become predominant. As a result, the vibrations of the one world family reflects that negativity.
The people dwelling on this planet are the life of this world. We should show the same eagerness to create harmony in the inner world, as we show towards material progress in the external world. The thoughts and actions of the people give each country its power, vitality, and its peace.
In the past, nature protected, nourished, and sustained us. But, man’s unintelligent interference and selfish exploitation of Mother Nature has upset her delicate balance. This is manifesting in negative effects throughout the world. The rain, wind, and sunshine, which used to come in proper proportion and season, now come irregularly, often with devastating effects. It is our responsibility to restore the lost harmony of nature.
People, especially the younger generation, are becoming addicted to drugs and other intoxicants, thus losing their vitality, creativity, and capacity to benefit themselves and the world. The younger generation, which is meant to blossom and give fragrance to the world, is instead withering away in the bud stage. One generation has already strayed from the path of righteousness. In order to rebuild a healthy and wholesome society, children must be taught moral and spiritual values. This emphasis should be integrated into the world’s educational systems.
Redressing these crucial conditions, which affect the future of the world, should be recognised as an important goal of the 21st century.
The life force that pulsates in the trees, plants, and animals is the same life force that pulsates within us. The same life energy that gives us the power to speak and to sing, is the power behind the song of the bird and the roar of the lion. The same consciousness that flows in and through every human being, lends its power to the movement of the wind, to the flow of the river, and to the light of the sun. How can there be any sense of difference once this subtle principle is understood? When we evaluate our growth and development in the light of this great Truth, we may wonder whether we human beings have really developed or grown at all. The progress that we see today is divided growth. Only some parts are growing—the world as a whole remains unhealthy. We cannot call this real progress.
Let us take the human body as an example. The body as a whole, with all its internal and external organs, must grow in proper proportion to maintain its health and well-being. If the head alone grows, while other parts of the body remain undeveloped, such a person would become deformed and unhealthy.
The same principle applies to the world. Like the body, the world is a whole, a unity. The different nations are its different organs. Yet, today every country is concerned only with its own progress. The traditions and feelings of other nations and their people are completely ignored. If each nation is an organ, a part of the one world body, how can the growth of just one country be considered whole and integrated growth?
Human beings categorise and compartmentalise all areas of life. These divisions in the minds of individuals can cause division in the family, which in turn will be reflected in the society, in the nation, and in the whole world. This attitude of division is spreading like a contagious disease. The entire human race is being divided. People are becoming divided both internally and externally. It is a far cry from unity and integration. The reason for this division and confusion is our ignorance of the essential principle of life.
One and the same rhythm and tune pulsates within all of creation. Once we realise this truth, all the contradictions and differences will dissolve and disappear. Then we will hear the eternal music of the Self, both within and without. The divine flower of peace, love, and tranquillity will blossom, and its fragrance will spread all over the world.
We have forgotten that working for the restoration of peace and unity in this world is the first and foremost duty of all human beings. To fulfil this duty, we must grow spiritually along with our material progress. Each nation should develop an attitude of oneness, giving up feelings of division. Each country should take steps towards material prosperity by planting its feet firmly on that foundation of oneness.
Each country should make a conscious effort to be more sensitive towards other nations. We should see each nation as an integral part of every other nation. Only when we make the effort to understand the difficulties and the pain of other countries, can we act and work together in the unitary spirit of love. Only then will this world grow perfectly, as a unity, as a whole. Such growth alone will bring equanimity, brotherhood, and peace. Otherwise, the result is weakness and deterioration. No real growth will occur.
This world is like a flower. Each nation is a petal. If one petal is infested, does it not affect all the other petals? Does not the disease destroy the life and beauty of the flower? Is it not the duty of each one of us to protect and preserve the beauty and fragrance of this one world flower from being destroyed? This world of ours is a big, wonderful flower with many petals. Only when this is understood and becomes deeply ingrained in us, will there be any real peace and unity. The tug of war between nations is like a tug of war between the petals of a flower. Competition between the petals will only result in all the petals withering away. The entire flower will be destroyed. The division will only dissipate our energy and vitality; real power is to be found in unity, not in division.
The entire world will become our family once we realise our oneness with that Universal Power. Once this knowledge dawns in us, we can no longer work for just a few people, or for a single community, or for one particular nation. Once we realise this truth, the entire universe becomes our own abode. All of creation becomes our own. We behold that everything is pervaded with God-consciousness, with the Supreme Divine Power. Everything is seen as different names and forms of that Divine Power. This universe becomes our own body; the different nations and its people become parts of our universal body. People who experience this are beyond any division. They become totally undivided and integrated personalities. Such personalities are embodiments of pure, untainted Love. Expressing that Divine Love through all their words and deeds, they inspire people and transform their lives.
Together we are a power, an undefeatable power. When we work together, hand in hand, with love,…and we will see the birth of peace. – Amma
Together we are a power, an undefeatable power. When we work together, hand in hand, with love, it is not just one life force but the life energy of countless people, of the group, that flows in harmony, unimpeded. From that constant stream of unity, real progress will take place, and we will see the birth of peace.
A drop of water cannot be a river; a river is formed by numerous water drops. It is the joining together of countless drops that creates a flow. The real flow of life lies in unity, in the oneness that arises out of love.
Let us pray and meditate together. That is the way to reach the shore of peace. When we meditate and pray as a group, the life energy of all of us will harmoniously flow to a single stream spreading a divine fragrance soaked in the sweetness of love. This will create vibrations of peace and unity in the atmosphere. Attuning our minds with the one Supreme Power and forgetting all thoughts of division, let us open our hearts and sincerely utter the following prayer: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. Let all beings in this world and in all the other worlds be peaceful and happy.
During such moments of prayer, the vibrations of the prayer will reflect in the minds of everyone, thus giving peace and tranquillity.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. Peace Peace Peace.