The Solution to World Conflict
A speech delivered by
Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Vämana Gosvämé Mahäräja
[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font
for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English]
Çré Meghalaya Gauòéya Maöha,
A speech delivered by
First of all I offer my unlimited prostrated obeisances at the lotus feet of my gurupädapadma,
jagad-guru nitya-lélä-praviñöa oà viñëupäda Çréla Bhakti Prajïäna Keçava Gosvämé Mahäräja, and my due pranämas and regards to the assembled Vaiñëavas and wise listeners respectively.
The subject of our discussion today is sanätanadharma and the problems of the world; or, rather, sanätana-dharma as the solution to the problems of the world. We have up till now been hearing various learned speakers discuss the nature of sanätanadharma. We must begin by understanding that most of the dharmas, or types of socio-religious duties, prevalent in the world today are mundane and perishable.
påthivéte yäha kichu dharma näme cale
bhägavata kähe taha paripürëa chale
Çré Våndävana däsa Öhäkura
The Çrémad-Bhägavatam condemns whatever goes on in this world in the name of dharma, or religion, as nothing but deception.
The various dharmas in this world deal with its mundane attributes. Sanätana-dharma, however, illuminates the function of the soul. It is the dharma in which the soul and the Supersoul, or Bhagavän, ,exist eternally. The soul bound in this world must investigate how he can be released. Is there any means for him to achieve such freedom?
Asking the Right Questions
Çré Çaìkaräcärya has provided us a weapon to cut
away our delusion in this regard in the following
kä tava käntä kaste putraù
saàsäro ’hyamativa vicitraù
kasya tvaà vä kuta äyätaù
tattvam cintaya tadaidam bhrätaù
O brother, where were you before you came
this? And after death where will you go? Did your
dear relatives - your wife, son and other family
members - come to this world with you? Can you
take them with you when you leave? How long will
you remain here? You should inquire into these
This is precisely the subject of our deliberation and the realm of our sädhana, or spiritual practice. “Who are you?” “Where were you before coming to this world?” “For what purpose have you come here?” “What activities have you performed in your life so far and have they made you happy?”
The scriptures invite us to ask these questions. In this world, we are flanked by birth and death, and whatever we do in between these two is temporary. One poet has therefore written, “We are but actors on the stage of this world.” The human condition has also been described as follows:
yävajjananaà tävan maraëam
tavajjanané jaöhare çayanam
iti saàsäre sphuöatara-doñaù
kathama-iha mänava tava santoñaù
O human being, you have come to this world for
some time, and after playing your part you must
leave it. So long as there is birth there will also be
death, and you will again have to enter into the
womb of a mother. Whatever peace and happiness
you hope to attain from this world is not real peace
Therefore, in the scriptures on sanätana-dharma, the ärya-åñis have said:
bälas tävat kriòäsaktas
taruëas tävat taruëé-raktaù
våddhas tävat cinta-magnaù
parame brahmaëi ko ’pi na magnaù
In childhood one is engrossed in playing, in youth
he becomes captivated by the opposite sex, and in
age he becomes immersed in anxiety; thus henever
becomes absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Truth.
In this world we pass our time eating, sleeping, defending and so on; rather, we should consider that the time allotted to us in this body is fixed.
The Secret to World Unity and Peace
To develop love for Bhagavän, the supreme object of love, is the fundamental message of sanätanadharma. Thus far, we have discussed the temporary nature of religious activities, both bodily and mental. The dharma of the soul, however, is eternal. Today’s thinkers claim that the Twentieth Century is the age of science and mechanisation. However, there is no peace in today’s world. If this is indeed the great scientific age, why isn’t mankind attaining peace?
There is a well-known saying in the West: “Science ends in philosophy and philosophy ends in religion.” The science referred to here is material science. Dharma, or religion, is the sole subject of our discussion today. Dharma can completely reverse the world’s present situation.
In a religious assembly in the West, a Pope
once admitted, “
demented. It can, however, be reformed by spiritual
The whole world is looking to the true inner
Where is peace? The last speaker mentioned the United Nations Organisation (UNO). This organization has taken responsibility for our welfare, but has it brought any peace to the world? When everything is driven by politics, can we ever hope to gain anything? The world today is divided into two camps, each willing to help anyone who submits to it. When such politics prevail, how can we ever offer the real recipe for peace? We will be unable to find it.
Unable to remedy the troubles facing humanity, the scientific and Western worlds are gripped by anxiety and fear. How can we, who are troubled by limitless problems, ever attain peace? We can never attain it simply by shouting, in various assemblies, “Peace! Peace!” However, our sanätana-åñis, or great sages on the path of sanätana-dharma, have given us a clue by which we may attain peace: if we love Bhagavän, the Supreme Controller, and place our faith in Him, all human beings will come to see themselves as part of a single race.
Who Classifies as Being Human?
Yesterday I explained the meaning of “man” or “human”. The ärya-åñis have undertaken meticulous philosophical research into what is meant by the term “human”. One poet has written, “More than man you cannot be.” What does he mean? Does his use of the word “human” or “man” refer simply to facial features? No. When humaneness is lacking, man is known as a brute; and when humaneness is developed to its highest extent, a person is to be regarded as a human being. Such humaneness is divine. Why, then, are we not endeavouring
to love Bhagavän, the embodiment of love, who is one without a second?
Three words are often used in the religious rhetoric of today - “equality”, “liberty” and “friendship”. How can we attain these qualities? How can we establish the true ideal of communism in the world? How can we demonstrate that one man is in universal brotherhood
with another? Many people are quick to declare that we are all humans, but what is there to support this claim? Man’s humanity lies in his being governed by moral principles and ideals. Thus, only when we love Bhagavän can we love each and every living entity. How can one who does not even love his own father, mother or guardian, preach world-brotherhood?
These days, in an effort to create social unity, many people will try to say that the same blood flows through everyone’s veins. According to medical scientists, however, this claim is quite false. Blood is graded A, B, AB, O and so forth; a person cannot be given any type of blood. Thus, even in blood there is differentiation. It is therefore impossible to forge a universal brotherhood or socialism on the basis of this phenomenal world.
How, then, can it be created? It can be established perfectly by considering how one can bring
auspiciousness to the self through the process of selfrealization. The ärya-åñis have described a type of communist ideal that is able to situate us in real universal brotherhood. We can never attain peace through mere material endeavours.
The Solution to All Problems
In the Gétä, we see that Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa directs His instructions on self-realization to Arjuna. He did not, however, intend these teachings for Arjuna. By making His dear friend Arjuna His instrument, He instructs us all on how to treat the disease that is causing the entire world to suffer.
Arjuna asked, “How can one attain peace?” Çré
samudram äpaù praviçanti yadvat
tadvat kämä yaà praviçanti sarve
sa çäntim äpnoti na käma-kämé
Although countless rivers flow into the ocean, it
never overflows. Similarly, various desires flow into
the mind of one who is fixed in transcendence, yet
his equilibrium is never disturbed. Such a person
can attain peace, not he who strives always to
fulfil his desires.
In this world our hopes and desires are endless. We are advised to limit our hankerings, because they have caused us to be afflicted by multifarious problems. If we do not control them we are not safe.
In today’s world, it is indeed we who generate our own feelings of scarcity. We are at the root of our own vociferous complaints. Upon reflection, we see that we no longer feel the level of satisfaction we felt twenty or twenty-five years ago. Rather, our sense of scarcity has increased a million-fold. The çästras inform us that we will only attain peace when we put an end to this imagined sense of scarcity. But how will we find peace when this world is filled with restlessness? Çästra has provided a clue:
eva çaraëaà gaccha
tat-prasädät paräà çäntià
sthänaà präpsyasi çäçvatam
O scion of Bharata, surrender fully to the Supreme
Lord in every respect. By His grace you will attain
transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal
Bhagavän is instructing His devotees “tam eva çaraëaà gaccha - surrender unto Me.” Until a person does this he will never attain peace. As long as we think we can solve our own problems, we will be unable to discover a solution. Wherever we find a solution, we should embrace it. Bhagavän has given us instructions on “complete surrender” through the
medium of the Géta, Bhägavatam, Vedas, Vedänta and so on, so that these teachings never escape our memory.
The world’s unlimited problems, such as lack of food, clothing, accommodation and education, can be solved if we lead our lives by properly maintaining a focus on the original centre. This means establishing our trust in Bhagavän and our faith in and devotion to
Him. Who is that Bhagavän? Is He devoid of form, qualities and variety? No, he is not devoid of potency. He has everything. He is çaktimän, the possessor of all potency, and He has form and attributes. His form, which is composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss, is that of Çyämasundara.
Çré Kåñëa is indeed that Bhagavän who is the embodiment of love. He can give love to unlimited jévas and He knows how to receive love from them. Only when we, the minutely conscious jévas, try to love Bhagavän, is it understood that our actual perception of ourselves (ätma-darçana) has awakened fully. At that time we are able to execute our duty admirably and properly. Only by accepting the instructions of the ärya-åñis and ärya-çästras can all the problems of the world be resolved.
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