Updated on: Thursday, June 03, 2021, 07:52 AM IST

Guiding Light: Peace is the way


When we make an attempt to understand the nature of man and the state of society, we find that all actions of man are goaded by one or the other of his four basic desires. One of the desires concerns the fulfilment of physical or economic needs which includes food, clothing and shelter. To fulfil these desires, he requires money or wealth. But the difficulty is that man does not stop at fulfilling these basic needs; his desire for comforts takes the form of greed, and that is when the real struggle starts.

His excessive demands and the endlessness of his longings comes into clash with the longings of other people. It also takes him to enter into conflict with the law of the land and with his relatives and society and even with his own self. This, therefore, becomes cause for his peacelessness. It is mainly because of this that the world, to-day, has millions of people whom the World Bank calls the ‘Absolutely Poor’.

It is this unchecked desire of man which has caused the class war or the conflict between the ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-nots’. Besides these, man also has emotional needs, like he wants love, care, attention and understanding, he wants an honourable living. But if he stretches this desire also to an inordinate extent, then his longings for prestige, position, privilege, and power takes the form of jealousy, hatred, etc. and he again comes into conflict with others.

So, it is because of this unbridled desire of man to society that there is power struggle everywhere and cold war or armed conflict or endless craving for military supremacy. The peculiarity of all this is that man desires to be extricated from the situation of conflict and peacelessness. He desires peace, liberation or freedom. It is for the fulfilment of this desire that various ‘religious’ or ‘secular’ attempts are made.

Societies are formed, constitutions are framed and religious institutions are established but when the desire gets mixed up with the afore-mentioned desires, again there arises a conflict situation. There are clashes between the majority and minority communities or between institutions with opposing ideologies. And so, there has to be a rational acceptance of self-control (to be continued…)

(The writer is a spiritual educator and popular columnist for publications across India, Nepal and UK. You can write to him at

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Published on: Thursday, June 03, 2021, 07:52 AM IST