Question: Will the consciousness of all the individuals in the world have to be transformed before we have world peace?

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent it is true that each and every individual must change totally, or radically, before world peace will take place. Again, from a deeper point of view, it is world peace that will be able to radically change the consciousness of each and every individual.

It is like this. A seeker has quite a few members in his family. But all of them are not praying and meditating; he is the only one that prays and meditates. He receives Peace, Light and Bliss, then he goes and offers these to the other members of the family. The Light and the Bliss that he gets are coming directly from one Source, let us say, the Universal Source. This Universal Source is the Source not only of Light and Bliss, but also of Peace. And he is distributing this Light and Bliss, which is nothing other than Peace. The Light that he is getting gives Peace, the Delight that he is getting gives Peace, and this Peace he gives to the members of his family. But they have to be receptive, to some extent. They want it, they need it; but, at the same time, they may not accept it cheerfully and wholeheartedly.

Peace has to descend; and again, our aspiration has to ascend. Each human being can be perfect, to some extent, on the strength of his aspiration. At the same time, we have to know that Peace is slowly descending. When Compassion from Above and aspiration from below one day come together, then only will we have world peace. It is not one-sided; from both sides there has to be a response. The individual has to cry for peace, and peace has also to descend. If peace descends and the individual wants it and accepts it, then only will the whole world have peace.

Sometimes we want something that we don't need. And sometimes we need a thing, but we don't do anything to get it. Suppose somebody is very poor. He definitely needs money, but he doesn't work for it. Opportunity looms large. Opportunity knocks at his door, but he won't open the door, although he badly needs money-power. Similarly, we as individuals need peace. But when peace descends, if we don't accept it immediately, then the opportunity will disappear. So first we all have to feel the need of peace, universal peace, world peace. And then we have to go one step further and accept it when it comes. But if we have to depend on the perfection of each individual human being on earth for peace to descend, then peace will never, never descend.