World Peace in the Atomic Age
Address to the Ninth General Session of Unesco, held in
Delhi India, 1956
Mr. President, Delegates, Leaders, and Friends:
It is a happy event to meet the distinguished delegates
and members of the different countries of the world who have
come to discuss plans and demonstrate universal brotherhood
in action, in the spirit of peace and loving kindness for
all the world. I have love for God and for all humanity.
Fully knowing that men and women of high attainments are
present here, I venture to speak to you frankly what strikes
my mind on the subject which is a main objective before us:
namely, Peace of the World.
Man does not live by bread alone. He has to live on the
Bread of life. He is a conscious being and has to know
himself to live on God consciousness. Man is a conscious
entity which expresses itself through mind and physical
body. Unless he is liberated from bondage of mind and
matter, he cannot have knowledge of self and of God. If his
mind is turned to the physical body and its needs, he
becomes earthly. The inevitable result is jealousies and
strives. But if it is directed toward soul, he becomes
spiritual; the result will be love and peace. The preamble
to the UNESCO Constitution says that since war began in the
minds of men, it is in the minds of men that defences of
peace must be constructed. All Masters who came in the past
turned mans attention to the purification of the
heart. If we want to change the outside, we should change
our hearts first, because out of the abundance of the heart
man speaks. What does it avail one to wash himself outside
if deceitfulness is in his heart? Purity in thought, word,
and deed is what is required. The world is awakening to this
truth, as is apparent from the fact that religion
conferences and such organizations as this one are coming
into existence for the purpose of helping mankind uplift
himself, but violence and hatred still dominate the world
and the doctrine of inequality of men and races is preached
and practiced. Some like to dominate over others and exact
and squeeze from others all that they can, and give little
or nothing in return. All this has, as it were, formed
habits that have entered into our nature. How can we change
our mind and turn it to a higher purpose? Mind, like fire,
is a good servant, but a bad master.
Guru Nanak said,
Victory over the mind is victory over the world.
Let us consider how we can conquer our mind and change
our hearts. Man is composed of body, mind (intellect) and
soul. We have to develop all around. We have sufficiently
developed physically, socially and politically. We have made
wonderful inventions, such as telephone, telegraphy, radios,
televisions, airplanes, rockets, atom bombs, etc., but both
physical body and intellect depend on the soul within, about
which we know little or nothing.
What does it profit a man if he gains the
possessions the whole world and loses his own soul? As
we have not known ourselves, all advancements we have made
on the physical and intellectual plane are going against us.
In a European conference of scientists held recently, the
President of the conference said that we have gained control
over the forces of Nature before knowing our own selves.
That is why various inventions are going to help in the
destruction of mankind. Had we known ourselves before we got
control over the forces of nature, all these inventions
would have gone to help in our uplift. All Masters in the
olden times, namely, Buddha, Nanak, Christ, Prophet
Mohammed, exhort us to Know Thyself. For knowing
ourselves we have to rise above the body consciousness by
practical self-analysis. The scriptures say, Learn to
die so that you may begin to live. Christ said,
Except ye be born again, you cannot enter the kingdom
of God. Nicodemus was a very learned man. He came up
to Christ and said to Him, Master, how can a man be
born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his
mothers womb and be born? You will see
intellectual people fail very badly when the practical side
is concerned. Christ replied, Art thou a master of
Israel and knowest not these things? Dont you know
that flesh is born of flesh and spirit of spirit? To
be born anew is to rise above the body-consciousness by
practical self-analysis so that one may know himself and the
Overself which is called by so any names. Kabir says the
same thing, Learn to die a hundred times a day, not
once. You must know how to rise above the body
consciousness so as to know who you are or what you are.
Intellectually we know so much about it, but practically we
know little or nothing. It is a matter rising above the body
consciousness and opening the inner eye or the single eye to
see the Light of God by Practical self-analysis, which we
have forgotten. It is an old, old science.
All Masters who came in the past were fully conversant
with these facts but unfortunately we have forgotten them.
Can we rise above the body consciousness? Can we leave the
body and then come back? These are teachings given by almost
all the Masters whether the came in one country or in the
other. Maulana Rumi said My dear friends, learn to die
so that you may have ever lasting life. So this is not
a new thing, but an old, old thing which we have forgotten.
So the Master says: Yes we can have this experience as
surely as two and two make four, very definitely, at the
feet of a competent Master, as King Janaka had at the feet
of Ashtavakra in a very short time. I need not dwell
on this subject any longer. Those who may be interested in
solving the mystery life can refer to the pamphlet which has
been distributed to everyone here, for further
To achieve this end, man must have an ethical or moral
life which is a stepping stone to spirituality. Christ said
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see
God. Guru Nanak said, Be pure that truth may be
While pressing for the moral and intellectual solidarity
of mankind, we have not laid any stress on the spiritual
aspect of man which is the most vital but a sadly ignored
proposition. It is a cementing factor running throughout all
humanity without which all our attempts in the intellectual
and moral planes may succumb and collapse. On my tour of
England, Germany and the U.S.A. last year I was asked,
How can we avoid the danger of atomic war? I
told the listeners that we can avoid this if we but live up
to what the scriptures say. We know so much about the Sermon
on the Mount, the Ten Commandments and the Eight-fold Path
of the Buddha, for preaching to others, but we do not live
up to what we preach. Be the doers of the Word and not
hearers onlydeceiving your own selves. Reformers
are wanted, not of others but of Themselves. Learn to live
just as Yudishtra, one of the five Pandos, did. It is said
that the five Pandos werc placed under the tuition of a
teacher and the teacher gave them a book which started,
Tell the truth, dont be angry, and so on.
Four of the brothers memorized the full booklet. When the
turn of Yudishtra, the other brother, came, he said,
Well, Master, I have learned one sentence fully,
to tell the truth; and dont be
angry, I have learned only half of that. The
master was enraged. He said, What will I answer to the
king? In two or three months hed learned only
one sentence and another only half. He began slap the
boyonce, twice, thrice. Then he said, Why
cant you tell the truth? Yudishtra said, I
do tell the truth that I have learned one sentence to
tell the truth and the other only half, not to get
angry. And now I tell you the truth that in the beginning I
was not angry, but when you went on slapping me, I got angry
in my mind. So unless we learn to live as Yudishtra
did, there can be no advancement in any phase of our life.
Food which is digested gives strength. If we put in practice
what we have learned, all danger of an atomic war will be
Now let us see what the scriptures say for our guidance.
Men are all worshipers of the same power of God, called by
so many names. God made man, ensouled bodies. Our soul is
environed by mind and matter. God is all consciousness.
When we liberate ourselves from the bondage mind and
matter we find we are conscious entities souls. We
are, as it were, drops of the ocean of life. If we know
ourselves by analyzing ourselves from the physical body, we
will meet the world from the level of the soul. So we have
got a very strong background to stand on, viz.,
God-consciousness. But we have been living on up to the
shalts and donts. We shall do this
and do that or dont do this or dont do that, but
really we have no strong background to stand on. There
is no Hindu, no Mohammedan (I may add no Christian or any
other) by birth. That is what Guru Nanak said.
The Israelites came up to Christ and put to Him the
question, Our king demands a tribute from us, what
should we do? And He told them to bring Him a coin.
And when the coin was brought He asked whose inscription was
on it; when told it was Caesars, He said, Give
unto Caesar what is Caesars. Your souls are of God,
give unto God.
All Masters viewpoints have been the same. As man
is a social being, social institutions of various religions
were made for the uplift of soul, so that it may pass its
earthly sojourn amicably and prove to helping to all
humanity, as well as to aid one to know himself and know the
OverselfGod. God cannot known by intellect, the
outgoing faculties, or prana. It only the soul that can know
Godthat is why all Master who came in the past
enjoined Know Thyself. They further gave two
most important commandments:
Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and
with thy strength, and
Love thy neighbour as thyself. I God resides in all
We are all conscious entities being of the same essence
as that of God. There is one underlying unityas such
we are brothers and sisters in the true sense of the word
and form the universal brotherhood which can be cemented if
the much needed inner unity is realized. Now we know all
things intellectually. As we have not known ourselves, our
inner eye is not all pervading. When your inner eye, single
eye, or latent eye is opened then only you will see the same
light of God working throughout all. You will have true love
for all and true regard for all scriptures left by the past
Masters. All scriptures say that God resides in all creation
and is immanent in every form.
Guru Nanak said,
We live and have our being in God. We should treat
everyone as our own flesh and blood.
Prophet Mohammed said,
We are all members of the same family of God.
All other Saints said the same thing. We should,
therefore, love alllove of God and love of all mankind
are the two great fundamentals or main commandments on which
the work of all the Masters hang. If we follow them in
practice, there will be peace on earth; the kingdom of God
will come on earthand there can be left no danger of
an atomic war.
There is one reality working in all. All mankind is one.
The differences are man-madearisen out of
self-aggrandizement due to ignorance of ones own seh.
It is said of St. John that he was invited to a school. He
came over and was asked to give a talk. He stood up and
said, Boys, love one another, and sat down. The
secretary in charge asked him, Havent you got
anything more to say? He again got up and said,
Boys, love one another, and sat down. Again the
secretary asked him if he didnt have anything more to
say. The third time he got up and said, Boys, love one
another. Love and all things shall be added unto you.
To achieve this end man must be ethical or moral. This is
the gist of the teachings of all the Masters, whom we have
with us. Naturally whoever loves God will love all.
Without love no lasting peace can be maintained in the
world and without the spiritual aspect of man being realized
you cannot have true love. God is love and our so being of
the same essence as that of God, love is innately enshrined
in us. Shamas Tabrez, a Mohammedan, said, If you
perform outer rituals and ceremonies of worship for a
hundred years, you cannot be true worshipers. If by doing
these you have not developed love for Him, ye cannot be
aware of the mystery of God.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, said the
same truth, Hear ye all, I am telling you the
truth-those who love, they get to God. The Bible also
says the same thing. Those who do not love cannot know
God. All others spoke in the same terms. A lover of
God will be a lover of all Masters who came in the past, a
lover all holy scriptures, all holy places and aworshiper of
all places of pilgrimage. A lover of God will never think
molesting anyone in thought, word or deed.
He will be:
A true ahimsa, which is the highest of all Dharma.
He will live a life of truthfulness.
He will hold a high character.
He will have love for allhatred for none.
He will lead a life of selfless senice for the uplift all
These are the five pillars on which mansions of peace can
be built. These five pillars are cemented by developing the
spiritual contact within. He looks to the whole world and
the various countries as so many rooms therein.
The governments are raised as custodians for the good of
the people. They are doing their best to restore peace and
order in various ways in the world. The United Nations was
also formed to secure this end. The governments can control
the bodies of men, but cannot do man-making until the
hearts and minds change, the world situation cannot
Change must come from within. As I told you already,
Out of the abundance of his heart a man speaks.
The very words he utters are charged with love. Whatever
comes from the heart, that goes to the hearts of the people.
This is the sole work of really spiritual men and not
sectarian, who are to do this job, without which no
government can be fully successful. Paid preaching. I am
forced to mention this thing, because it has done more harm
to humanity than the helping of it. Paid preaching carried
on by professional and narrow-minded preachers has made
matters worse in all religions. They, instead of uniting
mankind, have assisted in separating man from man. Look to
the olden days. Four phases of life were prescribed for man.
The first twenty-five years of age were spent to learn all
the scriptures and other knowledge. After that twenty-five
years to attend to household affairs. After that, a man had
to go into seclusion for about twenty-five years in order to
realize his own self and to realize God. When he had
realized himself and God, he was to go around from place to
place for preaching to all mankind selflessly. Such persons
were called sanyasins who were required to preach. All
Masters enjoin us to love God and to love all humanity with
all our soul, with all our heart, and with all strength.
Masters who came in the past told us to go by the
scriptures. How many of us should do this? At least those
who are awakened to this truth should do that. Let them
start from themselves. God wants reformers, as told you
before, not of others but of themselves. So many people
sitting here, say six hundred to seven hundred, if we just
start doing thatthere will be a change. Those who come
in contact with you, they will also change. So you see it
requires a very rational way of preaching by those who have
universal love, who follow the true import of the holy
scriptures which are fortunately with us today. Had we come,
say a hundred years before or four hundred years before we
would not have the scriptures or experiences of those who
came within these periods, viz., Ramakrishna and others. Had
we come before five hundred years we would not have the
scriptures of the Sikh Gurus, which are a voluminous
treasure of divinity. Had we come another fourteen or
fifteen hundred years back we would not have the holy Koran
with us. Further, back to two thousand years, if we happened
to have come before that, we would not have even the Bible.
Twenty-five hundred years back had you come you would not
have even the scriptures of Buddha and Mahavira.
So we are fortunate these days in the twentieth century
that all those who came in the past with fine records of
their personal experiences which they had with the self and
with Overself are with us today. We can be benefited
therefrom but unless we know the true import of the
scriptures, understand the one underlying principle therein,
and live up to them, we are nowhere. What do they say? They
advise us to have a robust physical life, to have an ideal
moral life and to know our own self and to know God.
There are two kinds of knowledge, one is called Apara
Vidya and the other is called Para Vidya. Apara Vidya
consists of reading scriptures and performance of rituals
and other ceremonies, giving alms, etc.; these are the
elementary stages required for paving the road to
spirituality. The main purpose underlying this is to create
in us an interest in knowing self and knowing God and also
in leading an ethical life, which is the stepping stone to
For that, naturally, we have to seek the guidance of
someone who has realized that spiritual life. The main
draw-back is that we do not know what we are and where we
stand. Our soul is under bondage of mind and matter. If you
learn practically how to analyse yourself and rise above the
body consciousness, you will see that you are not the body,
nor the intellect, nor the outgoing faculties.
We know so many things but only intellectually. Is it
possible to know ones self and know God? As I told you
before, yes, it is possible by following Para Vidya, the
science of practical self-analysis in the natural way, which
can be followed by men of all ages. Unless you know who you
are and what you are, and what your relation is with God and
all creation, you cannot be fully at peace.
This is no matter of feelings, emotions or inferences
arrived at by intellectual wrestling, as they are all
subject to error.
This is a matter of seeing, which is above all of them
and given out by all Masters who came in the past. This
applies to all irrespective of whether you belong to one
country or the other, or one religion or the other; that
makes no difference. Since man is a social being, social
institutions were formed just to enable him to lead a life
of high morality, of chastity, and of love for all mankind
and pass days of life in peace. To achieve this end, we have
to see the unity underlying all creation by knowing our self
and knowing God. We have wonderfully developed in the way of
science but still with all the amenities it has afforded us,
we are still not happy. The true happiness will come if you
will know yourself.
We were talking of the governments, that they can control
bodies but cannot make men. Making of men is the job of
really spiritual people. Look at the kings of a like
Dashratha, Ashoka and others; almost all of them had in
their courts really wide-awake seers of spiritual status
whom they consulted in all matters affecting humanity as a
whole and from whom they received substantial help in
carrying out the work of their states without having
recourse to the use of physical force. If similar guidance
can now be had, it would go a long way to secure peace in
the world. You will see that our success in achieving self-
government in India without a regular war was mainly do to
the wise counsel and guidance of Gandhiji which were based
on moral force with some spiritual background. All of us owe
respect to him. If you follow the principles as I have told
you, there will be peace on earth. It is not a new thing. It
is already there in the scriptures left by Masters who came
in the past. They all gave out the same thing. But we know
all this only intellectually. The only thing required is to
just put into practice what we know. Instead of preaching to
others we should start preaching to ourselves. Live up to
what we say. There will be a very definite change arising.
It may be there is danger of war overhead but if we at least
know what we are and try to live up to what is said above,
that will not make matters worse; that will help the
majority of people. It is true when the house is on fire, a
well cannot be dug out then and there. If we just start
living up to what has been laid before us, viz., love God,
and as God resides in all hearts, we should love all
humanity and all creation, that will go a long way to help
us. In the Hindu scriptures, you will find that they give
milk to the serpents, Gugapir, as it is called, because God
is immanent in all forms. A question was put to Christ as to
how we should behave toward others, and he said, Love
thy neighbour as thyself. When he was asked what to do
with the enemies, he said, Love thine enemies.
The true spiritual man looks to the very God in all hearts.
He works from that level. Such people, the more in number,
will go to create more peace and love for one another. So,
with these words let me thank you all for the patient
hearing that you have given and take leave.
Param Sant Kirpal Singh (Ek Onkar)