Awhirl in the Swirl of the Three Worlds

By Balaji Prasad

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~ The Buddha

There is often a deep yearning for an elusive sense of “peace”. We hear laments all around us about the lack of a feeling of “all is well”. Given that this sense of phantom pain is so common, maybe we are after something that is just not meant to be.

We are strange creatures. Sometimes we yearn for things because other creatures like us assert that these are worth the chase. But sometimes our yearnings run deeper than those that arise in the copycat that we are, more often than we think. If we are not careful though, we may spend our lifetime being the annoyed dog chasing the mail van just because we can. Or, the goals of our pursuit may be organic in nature, but being unable to direct our energies in line with those goals, we end up pursuing shiny objects that are inorganic fabrications instead. In either case, we continue in the painful state of being “un-whole”, seeking constantly to become whole. No peace in that!

The Truth: Three worlds

The cosmography of Hinduism is framed by the concept of ‘Triloka’: the three worlds. Sometimes, the ancients do give us interesting ideas, even if we use those in ways that were not quite what they intended.

The truth is that there are indeed three worlds: earth, heaven and hell. And while our feet are planted firmly on earth, our heads are way up in the clouds, continually oscillating between heaven and hell: a state of mind that is a state of hell unto itself. This uncontrollable oscillation is what brings the lack of the peace that we pine for. Movement and peace are diametrically opposed. Movement is life, peace is death. If we long for ultimate peace, we can have it but once. Unless you subscribe to some other concepts too from Hinduism (or other religions) which call for you to be born over and over, with the adverse side effect of destroying peace.

So “peace” may be a lost cause, if we say that living life means no peace.

The whole Truth: One real world, two fakes

But saying that there are three worlds and us is not the whole truth. One of these worlds is from something that is also our parent. The other two are our own creations: we create our own heavens and hells that is some mixture of the ground we stand on, and the creations we weave inside ourselves.

In effect, the heaven and hell that we oscillate between is a hell of our own making. So the less of these we create, perhaps, the less of a hell we would go through. And the more peace we might experience.

If only we can contain our morbid enthusiasm to create our own private hells, maybe peace is still in the running?

And nothing but the truth: Lying cannot be avoided

The truth is not the truth if it is embellished with things that are not entirely truthful. The trouble is that since we are the supreme judges of what the “truths” are and what the “untruths” are, these labels are subject to our internal cognitive and emotional pulls. We cannot avoid creating at least some hells because we might think these hells to be heavens, trapped as we are in the swirling vortex of our reality where truth and lies spin around as equal citizens.

So, when all is said and done, we may never find the full extent of the peace we so deeply yearn for. But if we can control the liar inside just a bit – maybe even just a tad bit – it could make our reality a bit more real, and our hell a bit more heavenish. Then maybe we would have a bit more of the peace we seek.

Balaji Prasad is an IIT/IIM graduate, a published author, SAT/ACT Online and in-person Coach, and K-12 Math Tutor at Contact him at