Sadbhavana – Goodwill towards All

When we are standing on the ground, we are able to see and experience a limited distance in our sight and consider it to be the only reality, but if we go to the first floor of a building, we see farther than what we could see while standing on the ground and realise the reality to be much more. Further, if we rise higher in the sky by travelling in an aeroplane, we are able to see much farther. If we were to soar so high that we cross the sky and enter space, then we are able to appreciate the entire Earth. So the higher we rise, the more our vision, our experience, our view and viewpoints expand, and the more we are able to appreciate the beauty and reality of the world and the universe. Similarly, when we are narrow and selfish in our thinking, we love only ourselves. But when we grow more mature, empathetic and loving, we start caring for our families, relatives, friends and our community.

With this experience we can only try to imagine the stage to which our great ancient sages would have evolved and risen, to have reached the peak of empathy, goodwill, love and peace that they prayed for Vasudhev Kutumbakam, that the whole world is one big family, even including plants and animals. Using the same analogy in terms of scientific thinking, earlier scientists used to believe for centuries that the Earth is flat like a table and ships sailing off to the edge may simply fall off the Earth till their theory was disproven by scientific development. It was realised that their definition of truth was restricted and bound by their understanding and logic of the then known laws of science. At the same time, ancient Hindu scriptures and sculptures described our planet to be round in shape e.g. depicting the Varaha Avatar (the wild boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu) carrying a round Earth on its two large teeth. We should think how our ancestors must have known this fact that modern science discovered much later.

Most of the time we limit our thinking to ourselves, but as we evolve spiritually, we attain a much more holistic viewpoint. Once all the numbers from 0 to 9 had a contest about which number is better and than the others and all of them claimed that they were bigger than their predecessors. 9 said that I am superior than number 8; 8 said the I am superior than 7 and 7 said the same with respect to 6 and so on. When it was 1’s turn, 1 could have done the same; however, 1 had a bigger vision and was not filled with any feeling of superiority and pride, so it humbly submitted that it is not superior to 0 and all numbers are equally important. With this belief, 1 invited 0 to sit beside it, thus combining to make 10 and winning the contest.

Warriors and Kings have conquered lands, nations and people through sword-like piercing force, intimidation and violence to achieve temporary peace. However, saints across different faiths throughout centuries have used spiritual love and devotion to unite people and bring peace through the needle-like sewing action. They achieved this by first finding peace and happiness within themselves through spirituality. King Ashoka realised this centuries ago, when it took him years of war and bloodshed to conquer several kingdoms including Kalinga through force; however, through peace, goodwill, love and spirituality, he conquered the hearts of people of many South Asian nations that most of them embraced Buddhism. But that transformation from voilence to peace and goodwill took place in his heart and mind first and later on it spread out through his actions towards others. Therefore, till we do not find peace and happiness within ourselves and keep attaching it to acheivement of external objects, events or circumstances, we cannot achieve goodwill and peace outside even with our family, relatives and friends, let alone the nation or the world. So the question arises – how will we achieve true peace and happiness within?

True lasting peace and happiness can only be achieved once we reach that stage of empathy, goodwill and love, where one becomes all, and all become one. A stage when we see the same divinity, the same love, the same force in all creatures and non-living things; and appreciate it, embrace it and act accordingly. This is possible only by diving deeper into our consciousness and realising our eternal immortal soul and its connection to God through the grace and guidance of the true Spiritual Master.