In a world where humanity is ravaged by war, poverty, disease, anxiety, and lack of purpose in life, compassionate men and women naturally wonder, "What can I do to help lessen the world's problems?"
Paramahansa Yoganandaji answered:
"Only spiritual consciousness — realization of God's presence in oneself and in every other living being — can save the world. I see no chance for peace without it. Begin with yourself. There is no time to waste. It is your duty to do your part to bring God's kingdom on earth."
As we realize the presence and the love of God within, we develop our ability to radiate it without. This is the practical answer to the troubles of humankind, for there is a dynamic relationship between our consciousness and world conditions.
Political, social, or international problems — these conditions are the result of the accumulated thoughts and actions of millions of people. The lasting way to change world conditions is to first change our thoughts and change ourselves. As Paramahansa Yogananda said, "Reform yourself and you will have reformed thousands."
He went on to explain:
"Man has reached a critical point in history, where he must turn to God to avoid to consequences of his own faulty thinking. We must pray, not a few of us. We must Pray simply, fervently, sincerely, and with increasing power as our faith grows....
"Prayer is a dynamic manifestation of love by the concerned, reaching out for God's help for man. You can help change the world by your prayers and your prayerful action."
—Dag Hammarskjold, at the dedication of the Meditation Room, United Nations Headquarters
"The sudden cataclysms that occur in nature, creating havoc and mass injury, are not 'acts of God.' Such disasters result from the thoughts and actions of man. Wherever the world's vibratory balance of good and evil is disturbed by an accumulation of harmful vibrations, the result of man's wrong thinking and wrong doing, you will see devastation....
"When materiality predominates in man's consciousness, there is an emission of subtle negative rays; their cumulative power disturb the electrical balance of nature, and that is when earthquakes, floods, and other disasters happen."
God-Contact Brings Individual and International Healing
But Paramahansaji stressed that the negative vibrations of selfishness, greed, and hatred which bring disease and unhappiness to individuals, war and natural disaster to nations — can be overcome if enough men and women turn to God in meditation and prayer. By changing ourselves — through spiritual living and communion with the Divine — we automatically radiate vibrations of peace and harmony that do much to counteract the negative effects of inharmonious living.
"Let us pray in our hearts for a league of souls and a united World. Though we may seem divided by race, creed, colour, class, and political prejudices, still, as children of the one God we are able in souls to feel brotherhood and world unity. May we work for the creation of a United World in which every nation will be a useful a part, guided by a God through man's enlightened conscience.
"In our heart we can all learn to be free from hate and selfishness. Let us pray for harmony among the nations, that they march hand in hand through the gate of a fair new civilization."
Thus, as a channel for the healing power of God, prayer for others is one of the highest services we can offer. Material charity, social welfare work, and other forms of relief are valuable and necessary in temporarily alleviating the suffering of others, but scientific prayer strikes at the root cause of the world's suffering: the wrong thought patterns of mankind.
Through participation in the Worldwide Prayer Circle, each of us can help in the most effective way possible to bring lasting peace and healing to the world and to any of our dear ones in need of aid.