A QUESTION THAT KEPT ME AWAKE

Just another day, another page from mother-daughter diaries: A few days back I was having a regular “to/before bed” conversation with my daughter, who was as usual raring to go with her canon of questions. From her “Why, Who, What, When, and How” kitty she pulled out a gem that set my mind on a quest for I was unable to provide her with a convincing answer. And before I could answer her, she slept but I couldn’t stop thinking. Introspection ensued. Her question was “What is the most important thing in this world?”

The world is going in a loop – needs once fulfilled are replaced by wants, and once wants are also satiated heart wanders to new avenues to spread its wings, to know, to explore, to get, and the cycle continues. This is how we witnessed advancements in human history, be it territorial expansions of kingdoms or the technological amelioration that we are enjoying. Lives (perhaps lifestyles) have definitely been improved. Now let’s focus on an analogy: Imagine the world to be an airplane propelled by the fuel of desires, and dreams to perch higher and higher, scaling new altitudes of success with every flight. What would happen to the aircraft if the coolant is missing, if the fuel is adulterated with impurities or if it doesn’t have a ground to land on? The fire ignited to provide an elevation might devour the entire structure, isn’t it? Coolant here is satiation and content. Impurity is greed that when mixed with the fuel of dreams/desires can clog the entire machinery dooming the flight. Peace is the runway that every flight needs when it lands on its wheels of love and compassion utilizing the shock absorbers of realization, enlightenment, and wisdom. Well, that might seem to be quite a convoluted explanation. I shifted my focus to a handful of examples from human history:

  1. Before King Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire became Ashoka the great and he resorting to Buddhism, spreading the message of peace all over he was like any other tyrant king whose purpose was to conquer and amass strength. It was after the Kalinga war, the massacre rendered by his own army shook him to the core and he retracted from his old ways and accepted Buddhism to trend the path of peace.
  2. Before England was one country, there was a long trail of blood and gore where innumerable innocent lives were sacrificed to ever-rising flames of power hunger and ego. It was Alfred the Great (King of the West Saxons from 871 to c. 886 ) who had nurtured a vision of unifying the war marred land and establishing peace so that lives could thrive and prosper in every manner. Ironically blood was the price that was paid but nonetheless in the end after many decades his dream did come true (Athelstan, grandson of King Alfred was the first king of unified land called England).
  3. European Union is a great example of modern history where different countries agreed to set aside their bitter rivalries, and make amendments for the larger betterment of people suffering the aftermath of world war. The EU was originally created with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. The Schuman Declaration, which encouraged the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, laid the foundation for the European Union as we know it today (source: Google)

These are a few examples from medieval and modern history where the world has to finally resort to peace for the longevity, and prosperity of human beings.

Is the peace absolute or just a pact? The ground of peace has been purchased at a hefty price of numerous sacrifices, amendments and clauses, and a mutual understanding/ respect of territories and boundaries. And the fear of breach begets flexing muscle power in a bid to maintain the status quo. The recent example (in my petty knowledge) of Indo-China border tension speaks volumes about the price that nations have to pay for attaining peace. In my hindsight, I believe it’s more of a pact and order that the world is following to avoid disarray and disaccord. The bliss of absolute peace is still at bay.

Fulcrums to the Peace that we need: Compassion, satiation, actions motivated and guided righteously, and enlightenment – these are the fulcrums to leverage the peace in every human being and thereon at a macro level. I understand that this statement is quite a beaten one over and over but a truth that we deliberately or otherwise ignore. A petty example: We casually body shame or mock people for their weaknesses under the pretext of lighter note fun. We have no idea and literally don’t care about the negative impact we possibly could create on the other person’s mind, what havoc such a mockery is capable of creating in the longer run, and how it messes with the sanity of one’s mind. We avoid and hate “crime” that is punishable under a law that is documented. And those that are not, we make our souls obscure to nature’s unwritten law of embracing the differences. With oppressed, raging, and conflicting souls, where is the peace?

The whole night I spent introspecting if my answer is right if peace is indeed the most important thing the world needs right now? In the morning I asked my daughter if she has an answer to her question from the last night, and she smiled as she said “Yes I know the most important thing in this world – “You & Me”. And that kept me thinking again….

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