Life is a mixture of events. When I say mixture, it means both good experiences and bad experiences, both the desirable and the non-desirable. You only want love. You cannot accept hatred. But life is a mixture of both love and hatred. When a child is born, you are happy and when somebody dies, you are sorry. But life is a mixture of both life and death. You like to be my friend. You don't like to be my enemy. You don't like a mixture. That is the problem with every human being and that is why he is unhappy. Unhappiness is experienced because you do not want to accept the reality of nature, the reality of life and eternity. God did not only create light. He also created darkness. Whether you believe in God or not does not matter, when there is a creator. You may not say God; you may say nature or accident. It does not matter. Accidents created love and nature. Accidents created love and hatred, not God. When accidents created both love and hatred, you have to accept them both. When money comes, you are happy. When money goes, you are sorry. This is the attitude, the approach that you have to change if you want to experience happiness.
Swamiji, yoga schools have been accepted as an important channel of bringing peace to the world, and we are often asked to talk about establishing peace. So, again we wonder how to establish peace in the world where there is such a mixture of war and strife?
War and peace are interrelated terms. You cannot think of war without thinking of peace. There is no existence of peace if there is no war. The end of war is peace. The reason for peace is war. So, war and peace are interrelated, like birth and death. If you are not born, you will not die. And if you don't die, you will not be born. A tree dies, another tree is born. Therefore, the question of war and peace is an eternal question.
The answer which you are thinking of is only for peace and not for war. Why do you only want peace, why don't you want war? Everybody wants peace. Nobody wants war. Isn't it funny? It is impossible! You should think of war, because war is cause for the death of a civilization. If there is no war, civilizations will not die. There was a time when there existed the vedic civilization, the Chinese civilization, the Islamic civilization. They are all finished. How did they finish? War, war and war!
Now, if we who exist in this world today do not die, what will happen? Just imagine. You do not die and new children are born. You do not die. I do not die. What will happen, just imagine! The world will become an intolerable place. Therefore, death is necessary. War is necessary. So, let us talk about war and let us talk about peace. In yoga, there is both. In yoga, there is destruction of ajnana and birth of jnana. In yoga, something dies and something else is born.
Europeans do not like wars because they have faced two great wars in the last century. Therefore, they have created a European Union, so that Germany will not fight with France, France will not fight with England, England will not fight with Belgium. They will be one. But you should remember that it is only because of war that Europe prospered. Everything that you find in Europe today, whether in the field of science, technology, education, medicine, governance, parliament or communication, is because of the two great wars that Europe fought in the last century. Therefore, don't fear wars. Everyone is afraid of war, but they don't realize that all the accomplishments in the world have taken place only on account of war.
People say that the economy will regress and growth and development will halt if there is a war. Do they not say that?
This dictum itself is wrong. It is the dictum of cowards. We have been misguided; the Bhagavad Gita says that if you die in war you will attain glory in the other realms, and if you win in war you will attain glory in this realm (2:37):
Hato vaa praapsyasi swargam jitwaa vaa bhokshyase maheem; Tasmaaduttishtha Kaunteya yuddhaaya kritanishchayaha.
Slain, you will obtain heaven; victorious, you will enjoy the earth; Therefore, stand up, O son of Kunti, resolved to fight.
It is not at all possible to avoid death, war and destruction, because death and destruction is a law of prakriti, the cosmic nature. Death is a cosmic law made by the creator. Disease is also a cosmic law, and so is darkness. Just as God has created light, he has created darkness too. Just as he has given birth, he has also engineered death. Just as he has created happiness, he has also created the notion of unhappiness. You did not give birth to the notion of joy and suffering. They are eternal concepts that each individual is subjected to and has to undergo because they are cosmic concepts born out of the creator.
You only want happiness. You don't want the other side of happiness, which is also God's creation, unhappiness. You only want birth and no death. That is a wrong idea. It is only on account of suffering that you can understand the importance of joy. It is only on account of the devastation of war that you can understand the necessity of peace. After all, who will crave for peace if there is no war? The necessity of peace becomes relevant only on account of war. The necessity of war is to enforce peace and bring about a change. Where is the question of experiencing peace if one does not experience the onslaught of war? If a man does not die, then how can he be born? This is a firm and conclusive dictum of the cosmic laws that govern the universe. But when man forgets or ignores these basic well-defined dictums, he suffers and faces difficulty. Otherwise, there is no cause for suffering in this world. Death and disease are not the cause of suffering. It is their impact on your mind that is the cause of your suffering.
If you start a business and it fails, you may face some difficulty, but you will not suffer if the failure does not have an effect or impact on your mind. If your mind is not affected by failure, then it is always easy to recover quickly and start again. It is such people who are happy in life. Abraham Lincoln stood for the presidency eleven or twelve times before he succeeded. He did not suffer from the impact of rejection. Therefore, one day he did succeed. Each failure made him stronger in his resolve.
If your old grandmother, who is bedridden, dies, it hardly makes any alteration in your life, but still you suffer mentally because her death leaves an impact, a mark on your mind. If there is no reaction to her death because you understand that it is a natural event which is inevitable and also beneficial for her, as her life was just restricted to the bed and at the mercy of others, then it will not leave an impact.
If you are free from the impact, you begin to flow with the current of life, because you begin to understand that what is destined and inevitable by the cosmic laws of the creator, has to happen and will happen, for they are events beyond your control. They are events that take place due to determined laws that govern the universe just as a judge operates within the ambit of judicial laws. Even though he may send criminals to the gallows, he remains unaffected because it is the law that decides the verdict, not him. Or a doctor who may see many patients die each day, remains unaffected, because he is aware of the laws that govern the body and that he cannot do anything if the time for the patient's death is close at hand.
—18 February 2009, Rikhiapeeth