On Peace vs. Love


Radhanath Swami – TRANSCEND Media Service

In the year 1971, as a young spiritual seeker, I attended a yoga peace conference where the different speakers fought to grab the microphone. As the yogis rambled aggressively like politicians, I was disappointed and shocked. A kind hearted saintly person who had maintained grace and dignity throughout the chaos consoled me, explaining how all are struggling at their respective level of progress. He revealed to me that instead of fighting for peace, we have to find peace within ourselves first. Later, I discovered a sacred teaching from my guru, Srila Prabhupada, who revealed that the soul’s real need and perfection is to go beyond the neutral condition of peace. “We do not care for peace – we want love”.

Love means the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the beloved. It is like a mother in her relationship with her child. When a woman has a little baby, there is practically no peace in the house. The baby is crying all night long and responding to nature indiscriminately wherever it goes.  Now a mother can easily just give the baby to somebody else, ‘You take care; I do not want anything to do with this.’ But the mother is running here and there, caring for the child. That is love.

This love, when channeled to God is higher than peace, because in that love is eternal peace—not the peace of the mind, but the peace of soul. Even in an ordinary relationship we can see that if a couple says they are peaceful, it simply means they are not fighting. But if there is love, there is a dynamic exchange of emotions; love is not static. Peace is negation of misery; love is a positive expression of the heart. Love means sacrifice—sacrificing even our own peace for the pleasure of the beloved.

When this love is directed towards God, we become internally connected to God and this deep anchor helps us relate to the other living entities, the other children of God also with love. Our love expands and grows in all fronts, and we experience a more fulfilling relationship in this state of love than in mere peaceful coexistence.


Radhanath Swami is a Vaishnava sanyassin (a monk in a Krishna-bhakti lineage) and teacher of the devotional path of Bhakti-yoga. He is author of The Journey Home, a memoir of his search for spiritual truth, and the New York Times bestseller The Journey Within. His teachings draw from the sacred texts of India such as The Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Ramayana, and aim to reveal the practical application of the sacred traditions, while focusing on the shared essence which unites apparently disparate religious or spiritual paths. Born Richard Slavin, on December 7, 1950, in his teens he came to confront a deep sense of alienation from suburban Chicago life and the civil injustices of mid-century America. At the age of nineteen, while on a summer trip to Europe, his internal struggles culminated in a commitment to search for God wherever it might lead him. Meditating on the Isle of Crete, he felt a supernatural calling and the next morning set off alone to find spiritual India. The Journey Home documents his odyssey as a penniless hitch-hiker though Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and finally India. There he lived as a wandering ascetic, first amongst the forest dwelling Himalayan yogis and later amongst a wide variety of gurus and spiritual practitioners throughout India and Nepal. Ultimately, he was led to the holy town of Vrindavan, where he found the teacher he was searching for in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

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