by Dr. Hamsavahini Singh, Peace Secretary, Servas India & Servas International’s UN Coordinator.
Servas International has the overarching, long-term vision of a peaceful world, and its mission is to contribute to achieving this goal.
Friends, now when we are about to celebrate International Peace Day it seems necessary to ask ourselves the question if we are " International " anymore?Are we willing to encourage, to invite, to welcome others, our brothers and sisters on this our common property, this earth, to visit us in our homes, in our communities, in our countries, to enjoy what we have been blessed with, our resources, our know-how, our technology, to give them our time, our friendship, our love and affection, to make them feel at home? Or, should we confront ourselves with the question whether we have become more and more narrow-minded, small hearted, selfish, greedy, regional, parochial, ultra-nationalistic, warmongering, disturbing, arrogant, violent, threatening Peace?
Today the world seems to be a more frightful place than ever before with regional wars and local conflicts fueled by mistrust, distrust, mutual hostility based upon creed, caste and color of the skin with programs to deprive, displace and drive out hundreds of thousands of hapless men, women and children from their habitat, homes and homelands. Every hour of the day we come across tragic, painful, devastating reports from many parts of the world about human beings like ourselves forced to flee from their homes, from war, religious bigotry, rising prices and climate change and the resulting destruction at home in small, flimsy, unseaworthy, over-burdened boats risking their lives and everything they may have been able to pick-up and carry with them to find sanctuaries in strange lands for themselves, their families, their children, their future generations.
Mahatma Gandhi, a great source of inspiration to the likes of Bob Luitweiler and his cofounders of Servas, to Martin Luther King, to Nelson Mandela and many other " Peace-builders " around the world remarked something like this that "There is enough on this earth to provide for the "needs" of everyone but certainly not enough to satisfy the “greed" of anyone."
Our greed has angered Mother Nature. Our mindless hunger for more and yet more has scorched the Earth, has heated the Sky, has poisoned the Water. We are having more wildfires in more and more places, we have unprecedented droughts, heatwaves, floods, storms, hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis challenging our existence.
It was said that "The meek shall inherit the Earth." But we are not meek, we are not humble, we are not respectful to others, we are not friendly, we do not love ourselves anymore, those around us, our environment, the world around us, our brother trees and our sister rivers and rivulets and lakes and ponds.
If we really desire to have peace amongst us in our world in our lifetime, we will first have to overcome our greed and stop our mindless consumption; we must be prepared to share our hearts, our minds, our concerns, our time, our know-how, our resources. Only through sharing, through love and friendship, through empathy and cooperation, through understanding and mutual respect, through deliberations and dialogue shall we be able to bring genuine and lasting peace to us, to our world.
We must cease to do anything to others which we would never wish to be done to ourselves.
What is the way forward? How do we go from here, from this dark, dreadful, dangerous present to the bright, peaceful, happy future? Yes, we can reach our destination, peace, joy and happiness by adopting the Values of Servas. Our beloved and esteemed family of the members of Servas open the doors to their homes, their hearts to others, to share what they have with others. We, the members of Servas can share and spread this Gospel of Love, mutual trust, friendship, active cooperation, harmony and understanding the view-points of others locally by word of mouth, by holding regular meetings of the members, by inviting others to such meetings and introducing them to the vision and values of Servas and encouraging them to become members, by writing newsletters, by writing stories and sharing experiences about the visits of our guests in newspapers and through digital media, by doing presentations about Servas in schools and colleges, in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples and clubs and associations and fraternities in our communities, in our neighborhoods.
On the occasion of“International Peace Day” let me share a very nice PeaceWish from the ancient Yajurveda.
"May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers. May peace flow over the whole universe. May peace be in the supreme being Brahman. And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone."