Richard (now Radhanath Swami)’s innocent expectations were disappointed when the ‘peace’ conference organized by Christopher Hills turned violent. Three thousand people thronged for the grand finale but Hills announced that the programme must conclude at sharp 7.00 p.m. Richard wondered how could a programme of so many Swamis end on time; after all that meant not all would get a chance to speak. As the deadline approached and it became clear that not all would speak, some of them began barraging Hills with insults and soon there was uproar; many yogis fought to grab the microphone. As they rambled aggressively like politicians, the yogis’ behaviour shocked the audience. The men supposed to bring peace and harmony to the world, were fighting bitterly on stage, right in public eye.
Richard felt consoled by Swami Satcitananda who in a tender voice said to Richard that all are struggling at their respective level of progress, and we can’t expect all to be perfect. He explained that instead of fighting for peace we have to find peace within ourselves first. Swami Satcitananda had maintained grace and dignity through the chaos.
Radhanath Swami also appeals to his audiences to discover peace within ourselves first. He also talks of the need of the soul to go beyond peace. Most people who meditate do so to find peace. But Radhanath Swami claims that this is not all that the soul really wants. “We do not care for peace”, he says, “We want love. The perfection of life is not simply a neutral condition of peace, but love.” What does Radhanath Swami mean by Love?
Love means the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the beloved. It is like mother in her relationship with her child. Is the mother concerned for peace in the house or is she concerned with taking nice care of the child? When a woman has a little baby, there is practically no peace in the house. The baby is crying all night long. The baby is responding to nature indiscriminately wherever it goes. The baby is looking for any excuses to hurt, breaking anything it gets it hands on. Now mother can easily just give the baby to somebody else, some baby sitter saying, ‘You take care; I do not want anything to do with this.’ But the mother is running here and there everywhere trying to take care of this child. She is staying up some time all night long. She is worried about the child hurting itself. That is love.
Hearing Radhanath Swami’s explanation of Love, I can clearly see that Love is higher than peace, because in that love is eternal peace—not the peace of the mind, but the peace of soul. Even in an ordinary relationship we can see that if a couple says they are peaceful, it simply means they are not fighting. But if there is love, there is dynamic exchange of emotions; Love is not static. Peace is negation of misery; love is a positive expression of the heart. Radhanath Swami reveals, “Love means sacrifice—sacrificing even our own peace for the pleasure of the beloved.” I am stunned at the depth of Radhanath Swami’s spiritual consciousness.