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(Message prepared for the UN Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, New York, U.S.A., August-28-31, 2000)


Pre-requisite for World Peace
The fundamental pre-requisite for World Peace, nay, a permanent solution for all human problems is the transformation of man himself. Without attending to this prime-requisite first, no lasting peace and harmony in the world is ever possible.

A Laudable First Step
It is indeed heartening that the august World Body has realized the gravity of the present-day world situation and taken the right step and timely initiative to seek guidance from the Religious and Spiritual Leaders of the world to work for the much needed World Peace and Harmony. While striving to work out the UN Millennium World Peace Summit Agenda which aims at conflict transformation, elimination of poverty, environmental protection, and forgiveness and reconciliation, one should not forget the crying need of the hour, namely, the 'human transformation' as a prelude to all other transformations, aiming at perfect World Peace. Truly 'human transformation' is the stepping stone for the perfect execution of the World Peace Summit Agenda.

Problems Defy Solution
The fact is that in a world that is in constant pursuit of material pleasures, people tend to become hedonistic, and lose the true perspective of life. And the path that the world has until now traversed in pursuit of technological mastery has imperiled peace and environment and failed to provide prosperity and equality for all people of the world. Hosts of problems are cropping up, bringing in its trail a lot of tension, anxiety, worries and frustration. Beset with psychological, social, economic, ethnic, political and environmental problems, which defy solution, the people of today's world are ill at ease. Can anybody help and rescue those who are constantly being buffeted by these and the other problems? Can they themselves solve their problems by dint of their self-effort? Or can their governments or social organizations find a permanent solution for today's human crisis? The answer is emphatically negative. At best they can find some temporary remedies which can act as just palliatives. In any case, it is certain that none of them can create in all people of the world a total awareness for higher and enduring values, the inculcation of which alone can regenerate human life and reform the character. No amount of state authority can bring an essential change in human nature. Neither science nor politics can give man perfect peace and happiness. The ills of life cannot be cured by political, social or other mechanical remedies, which human beings are constantly attempting and which have always failed.

Spirituality Offers an Abiding Solution
Spirituality, the central theme of all religions shorn of doctrines and dogmas, can alone provide an abiding solution for all human problems. Spirituality is in fact the core of man and the substance of the entire creation. Spirituality must be discovered, realized, manifested and lived in day-to-day life. According to Swami Vivekananda, the power of religion thus broadened and purified must penetrate every part of human life and activity making human life sublime and abundantly fruitful. Then and then alone religions will have served their true purpose of ushering in peace and harmony in the world.
Spiritual Awareness Generates Real Peace
The world will change when the human beings, which constitute it, change from within. The "inner man" is to be set right first and the externals will take care of themselves. So the solution of problems is not by external means, though these also have to be used, but essentially by an inner change, a complete transformation of man's consciousness. Unless the man's psyche changes, the society cannot be deeply and permanently changed. The various social, political, economic and environmental problems of today's world are only the outward symptoms of an inner psychological malaise. So it is the spiritual awareness alone that generates the real peace and happiness, and love and unity of the world.
Need of the Hour -- A Change Within
The need of the hour is therefore 'self-culture', 'self-transformation', a change within. This is the panacea for all the maladies of today's world. Although modern technology and science have placed enormous power at the disposal of man, he cannot use this power for peace and prosperity of the human race, until his own mind is cultured. Excess of knowledge and power, without holiness, can easily make human beings devils, warns Swami Vivekananda. We must progress materially and spiritually side by side. Material prosperity should not be at the expense of spiritual advancement. They must go hand-in-hand. Then only we can have an integral evolution. Then and then alone we can expect to have a socially more useful, individually peaceful and spiritually enlightened life.
A Food for Thought for All Concerned
As we enter the New Millennium, here is a food for thought for all concerned - particularly the leaders of the countries of the world:
"The solution of world problems rest basically on the individual's moral and spiritual life. If these be lacking nothing can save human situations: no political or economic system, no social order, no world-organization, no advancement of scientific knowledge and technology, no development of arts, no rapidity of transportation and communication, no high standard of living, no defense measure, no subtle ideologies, no metaphysical concepts can establish peace and security in the world. Even education without a sound outlook on life cannot help us in this respect."
The Supreme End of Human Life
"To realize the Divinity within is the supreme end of human life. From any situation in life a person can proceed towards this goal following one's own line of development according to his or her psychophysical constitution. One expression of life does not contradict another as long as it is in conformity with the highest ideal. All other ideals of life should be subordinate to this supreme one. Religion or rather Spirituality promises to lead to it directly. All human values - all that are necessary and desirable - art, literature, science, philosophy, ethics, politics, economics, can contribute to the attainment of the highest good, the Divine perfection, provided they are subordinate to the supreme end of life."
The Only Way for Lasting Peace
So, under the pretext of the so-called secularism, let not the world leaders deprive the younger generation in particular, of moral and spiritual values in life. Let them at least make a sincere and serious attempt to inculcate in the youth these values through the educational institutions. And let everyone in general make a humble attempt towards that end. This is the only way for lasting peace and security in the world.
An Appeal to the Spiritual Leaders
My sincere appeal therefore to all of you - the revered Religious and Spiritual leaders of the world - assembled here under the auspices of the august World Body, namely, the United Nations Organization, is that you should kindly consider making an earnest attempt to deliberate on the why and how of inculcation of moral and spiritual values in the younger generation all over the world, so that the United Nations Organization may try to follow it up by exploring the ways and means of implementing the same in the educational institutions of its member countries.