If we look through the pages of history we find stories of war and conquest. At some point in time, a nation may be the conqueror, and then a century later they are the conquered. Lands and wealth change hands many a time. Wars have been fought over territory, riches, religion, and political ideology.
The causes of each conflict may differ, but they all involve loss of life, and immeasurable pain and suffering. Periodically, great philosophers or thinkers come along to clearly express how precious and sacred life is. They try to spread the message to their contemporaries that power, possession, and pride are not worth risking even one human life. We have examples of Mahatma Gandhi in East and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the West, who preached the gospel of nonviolence. By using nonviolent methods, Gandhi led India to independence and Dr King helped move America closer to its vision of equal rights for all.
Humanity recognizes the greatness of those souls who control their anger and refrain from violence. Every year someone receives a Nobel peace prize for his or her work. Numerous other awards are given out by religious, civic and social groups for individual efforts towards peace. If peace is so highly valued in our society, why does it remain so elusive? Is peace possible in this world, and how can we attain it?
These issues are critical not only for the future of our planet, but they are crucial for those treading the spiritual path. One of the basic principles of spirituality is nonviolence. To enter God’s kingdom we must not injure any living creature either in thought, word, or deed. Our soul must be freed from the impurity of violence in any way, shape, or form.
This entire creation has been made by God. Every living creature whether mammal or insect is part of His handiwork. Although the lives of the tiniest forms of creation seem insignificant to us, there is a definite divine purpose for every form of life.
Each life form is animated by a soul. Every being in creation is travelling on a journey back to God, the source from where it came. In this voyage, souls are moving from one life to another, aspiring to receive the human form. The human body is considered the highest in all creation. It is the only one which has the faculty to rise above this physical world and return to God. We are most fortunate that we have received a human birth. It is our golden opportunity to realize God. If we miss this chance to realize the Lord in this lifetime, who knows when we will receive the human birth again. We will again have to pass through the cycle known as the wheel of transmigration, or the wheel of 8.4 million species of life.
While endowed with the human body we have two responsibilities. One is to our own self. We should take advantage of this priceless gift and utilize our life for knowing our self and realizing God. Second, we should also be of service to God’s creation. We need to realize that the souls embodied in the various species are all passing through tremendous suffering. The lower species of life reside in bodies in which their only concern is survival. The purpose of their lives is to eat, protect themselves, and reproduce. They lack the faculty to know themselves and to realize God. We need to have compassion for all forms of life. They have enough suffering already; we do not need to add any more pain.
Excerpted from Inner and Outer Peace Through Meditation by H H Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj