Question: Most people in this area of South Africa suffer a lot because of daily violence. I am interested to hear your views on the causes of violence and any message that you might have as to what we can do about it.

Sri Chinmoy: The causes of violence are the divisions created by the mind. The mind always separates; it gets tremendous satisfaction in dividing reality. Because it sees itself as separate from others, the mind always wants to exercise supremacy over others. Inside the mind is restlessness, which eventually becomes destruction. Long before violence is manifested on the outer plane, it takes place in the form of thoughts inside the mind.

If we listen to our mind when it tells us to strike someone, at that time the mind becomes our lord. But there is always something within us that reminds us that we have another boss: the heart. Unlike the mind, the heart only wants to establish intimacy and oneness with others; it gets satisfaction not in division but in unification. The heart tells us, "By destroying someone you will never get even an iota of joy, but by loving that person you will get abiding joy." So we have to pray and meditate to silence our restless mind and to illumine our unaspiring mind. If we can transform the mind and live in the heart, then there can be no violence.