The Real Meaning of Peace


One may wonder, why did Krishna choose a battlefield to speak the Bhagavad-gita? Out of so many ways and different environments that He could speak in, why a battlefield? One explanation we could consider is that there is no arena more sensitive than a battlefield. A battlefield is designed for defeat and for victory. There is no other environment that brings out the worst and the best of people, than that of a war.

We should always remember as we take to devotional service to Krishna, that we are also declaring war on Maya, the illusory energy. In turn Maya is declaring war on us, in our battle to annihilate our own lust and greed, lying within us. Therefore the attainment of real peace is not dependent on our external environment but rather is measured by the state of our mind and heart in whatever situation we are in.

There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who could best depict ‘Peace’ on canvas. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. All who saw this picture thought that it was the perfect depiction of peace. The other picture also had mountains. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain, tumbled a foaming waterfall. This looked anything but peaceful. But there behind the waterfall, a tiny bush grew, in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.

The king chose the second picture, “because”, explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work”. “Peace means to be in the midst of all things and still be calm in your Heart”.

When detached, we are in a state of unruffled equanimity which permeates to those around us. Detachment is to live within. To be unshaken by outward happenings. If we remain calm at the centre, it is a source of strength and stability for people around us.

Hare Krishna!
Dhirasanta dasa Goswami