Peace and Freedom Go Together

There is in Sanskrit a long prayer to peace. It was written many, many centuries ago by someone to whom peace was an absolute necessity, and perhaps his daily life had its roots in that. It was written before the creeping poison of nationalism, the immorality of the power of money and the insistence on worldliness that industrialism has brought about. The prayer is to enduring peace: May there be peace among the gods, in heaven and among the stars; may there be peace on earth, among men and four-footed animals; may we not hurt each other; may we be generous to each other; may we have that intelligence which will guide our life and action; may there be peace in our prayer, on our lips and in our hearts.

There is no mention of individuality in this peace; that came much later. There is only ourselves our peace, our intelligence our knowledge, our enlightenment. The sound of Sanskrit chants seems to have a strange effect. In a temple, about fifty priests were chanting in Sanskrit and the very walls seemed to be vibrating.

There is a path that goes through the green, shining field, through a sunlit wood and beyond. Hardly anyone comes to these woods, full of light and shadows. It is very peaceful there, quiet and isolated. There are squirrels and an occasional deer, shyly watchful and dashing away; the squirrels watch you from a branch and sometimes scold you. These woods have the perfume of summer and the smell of damp earth. There are enormous trees, old and moss-laden; they welcome you and you feel the warmth of their welcome. Each time you sit there and look up through the branches and leaves at the wonderful blue sky, that peace and welcome are waiting for you. You went with others through the woods but there was aloofness and silence; the people were chattering, indifferent and unaware of the dignity and grandeur of the trees; they had no relationship with them and so in all probability, no relationship with each other. The relationship between the trees and you was complete and immediate; they and you were friends and thus you were the friend of every tree, bush and flower on earth. You were not there to destroy and there was peace between them and you.

Peace is not an interval between the ending and beginning of conflict, of pain and of sorrow. No government can bring peace; its peace is of corruption and decay; the orderly rule of a people breeds degeneration for it is not concerned with all the people of the earth. Tyrannies can never hold peace for they destroy freedom: peace and freedom go together. To kill another for peace is the idiocy of ideologies. You cannot buy peace; it is not the invention of an intellect; it is not to be purchased through prayer, through bargaining. It is not in any holy building, in any book, in any person. No one can lead you to it, no guru, no priest, no symbol.

In meditation it is. Meditation itself is the movement of peace.

It is not an end to be found; it is not put together by thought or word. The action of meditation is intelligence. Meditation is none of those things you have been taught or experienced. The putting away of what you have learnt or experienced is meditation. The freedom from the experiencer is meditation. When there is no peace in relationship, there is no peace in meditation; it is an escape into illusion and fanciful dreams. It cannot be demonstrated or described. You are no judge of peace. You will be aware of it, if it is there, through the activities of your daily life, the order, the virtue of your life.

Heavy clouds and mists were there that morning; it was going to rain. It would take several days to see the blue sky again. But as you came into the wood, there was no diminishing of that peace and welcome. There was utter stillness and incomprehensible peace. The squirrels were hiding and the grasshoppers in the meadows were silent and beyond the hills and valleys was the restless sea.