Question: Will the consciousness of all the individuals in the world have to be transformed before we have world peace?1

Sri Chinmoy: To some extent it is true that each and every individual must change radically before world-peace can be achieved. 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. Suppose somebody has quite a few members in his family, but he is one of the very few who prays and meditates. He receives light and bliss, which come directly from one universal Source, which is also the Source of peace. When that person goes and offers the light and bliss that he has received to the other members of the family, what he is distributing is nothing other than pure peace.

But the rest of the members of his family have to want and need peace; they have to be sincerely crying for it. Otherwise, they will not be receptive when it descends. It is not enough for peace to descend; our aspiration also has to ascend. Each human being can be perfect, to some extent, on the strength of his aspiration. At the same time, he has 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 movement or response.

Suppose somebody is very poor; he definitely needs money. Then opportunity knocks at his door, but he will not open the door. Similarly, we as individuals need peace. But when peace descends, if we do not accept it immediately, cheerfully and wholeheartedly, then the opportunity disappears. So first we have to feel the need of world-peace, and then we have to go one step further and accept it when it comes. Only then will the whole world have peace. But if we have to wait for the perfection of each individual human being on earth before peace descends, then peace will not come for thousands of years.

  1. MUN 303. 6 August 1976.