Peace in Our Time—or Ever?
By Sri Harold Klemp
Revised history has it that the American Indian tribes of olden times were a nice bunch of fellows, at peace with one another and with themselves.
Yet the truth is a far different matter.
In the early seventeenth century, the Five Nations of Indians dominated other tribes in Canada and the American Northeast. The Five Nations was a confederacy of some, though not all, Iroquoian tribes. Their enemies counted among their number other Iroquoian tribes like the Huron and Tobacco tribes. These latter scorned the tribes of the Five Nations. They loved to do battle with them.
The Indians of the Old West were of the same stripe. Combat with an enemy gave the young men of both tribes a chance to demonstrate their valor and thus become braves.
The ferocious Comanches of the Southwest fought other tribes and whites alike. Yet they, too, had a fearsome, though despised, adversary in the Tonkawa Indians, who allied with the Texans. They served as scouts for the Texas Rangers and the army. A small tribe, the Tonkawas had joined up with the whites and let them hammer the Comanches. If some of the enemy warriors were killed, the Tonkawas would celebrate the occasion and hold a feast. They cooked and ate the choicest of the dead.
So much for the "gentle souls" of the American Indians.
Speaking of Souls, why is it that men fight each other? Why do ants? And what about two tomcats? Two bulls, two roosters, two boars, or two stallions?
The ECK Master Rebazar Tarzs sized it up like this: it is a warring universe.
So what kind of place is this thing called earth?
White tribes in the long-ago times of the United States's North and South once engaged in the awful Civil War. First of all, no "civil" war is ever civil. This war fielded some of the largest and bloodiest engagements the world had ever seen.
Why did they fight? What difference of opinion divided the two sides?
Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. president then, noised it abroad that the Civil War was about the preservation of the Union. The South said it was about its civil rights. But the people of both the North and the South know the real issue: slavery. Should the southern states be allowed to hold slaves? The resulting difference of opinion cost many lives.
What reality lay behind the theater of truth's curtains? It's so simple that many overlook it. No two people share exactly the same state of consciousness.
Not even within groups where one might expect to see "like-minded" people. Members of churches, for example; and families, labor unions, political parties, sports teams, and the list goes on. Conflict destroys peace.
No great civilization in the pages of history was ever successful in developing into maturity without the tempering of some conflict.
The ancient Egyptians were mostly stay-at-home types. They were content to expend their energies in Egypt, so they rarely sent armies on the road to conquer the world, as Alexander the Great later set out to do. There was an exception to the Egyptians' general stay-at-home policy. Periodically, their armies went north to beat up on neighbors like the Edomites and the Moabites. It was to show who was the big rooster in the yard.
There was no peace inside nor outside the Egyptian borders.
The ancient Chinese were more aggressive than the Egyptians. Early in China's history, a variety of local lords ran minor kingdoms in the northern and plains areas, as well as farther south. Eventually, the stronger rulers took over their weaker neighbors. The outcome of centuries of intermittent warfare is the China of today.
So, no peace in the world's oldest civilization either.
Europe, too, is no stranger to warfare. Just its wars of religion caused enough mayhem to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty Souls. These conflicts included the French Wars of Religion (1562–98), the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), and the English Civil Wars (1642–51), which pitted Protestants against the Catholics.
And northern Asia, under the Russian czars and the Soviet Union, could only dream of peace. There was little of it.
Many, it seems, take pleasure in telling their fellows what to do and how to do it. The solution, if one is even possible considering this world of imperfect beings, would be for everyone who wants things to change, to first change himself for the better.
Until that happens, there won't be peace in our time, or ever. Peace begins in the heart.
With that said, however, there is a bright side to what would otherwise be a rather gloomy picture. We certainly are in this world, but it is possible to rise above it via the Spiritual Exercises of ECK.
Put your attention on the face of the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master and do a short contemplation. Seat yourself comfortably or lie down on your back. Then sing the word HU, an ancient name for God. Sing this name for ten or fifteen minutes, either silently or aloud.
Do this exercise anytime you feel the need for spiritual upliftment. And pay attention to any images or thoughts that may present themselves.
This world can be anything but peaceful, but the spiritual exercise above is a way to enter into a higher state of consciousness and find peace in your heart.
Excerpted from the 2007 Eckankar Journal, copyright © 2006 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.