HomeVolume 9June 2024 We are all related

The Rt. Hon. PATRICIA SCOTLAND, KC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth speaks at the Global Spirituality Mahotsav in Kanha Shanti Vanam about the role we all have to play in supporting peace with each other and the environment.

It is a great honor to participate in this significant and seminal moment in our history. It would be easy to underestimate the enormity of this event. For Daaji to have brought together so many sages and faith leaders across the globe to this spirit-filled place is a matter and a moment we should all celebrate.

Some have asked me, “Secretary-General, why have you come?” And there is a clear answer. The Commonwealth is made up of 2.5 billion people, 30 percent of whom are under the age of 30, and 1.5 billion who live here in India. As your Secretary-General, I have been entrusted with the sacred task of helping to maintain, foster, nurture, and support peace.

Peace today is so endangered, so precious, so needed. And the truth is, if we wish to have a peaceful world, it must start with us, each one of us, because we are the arbiters of that peace. As Daaji said this morning, when we talk of peace, we are not talking about tolerance, but about respect, acceptance, and the word we have avoided today, the most important word, love.

We must love one another. The essence of every faith is love. But we have also heard something else; every single person here today is my brother or my sister. And why is that? According to scientists, all of humanity has come from six individuals. So, why get confused about the color of our skin, the size of our girth, our height? Ninety-nine point nine percent of our DNA is the same, which means whether we like it or not, we are truly brothers and sisters. 

Together we face some real challenges. Our world is tightly bound by a tangled knot of crises spanning global systems. Conflicts confront us—conflicts rooted in political differences, economic disparities, religious divides, social injustices, and our relationship with the natural world. As I look around, I see the Global Spirituality Mahotsav, but how is it expressed with children and youth, with Nature, with health, and the need to deepen it?

These conflicts, which are rooted in our political differences, economic disparities, and our relationship with the natural world, manifest themselves in various forms—from armed conflicts that are tearing us apart to societal tensions threatening to divide communities.

Whilst the sources of these conflicts are specific to each place, we all see and feel their tragic impact. As religious and political leaders, and as responsible citizens, it is incumbent upon us to seek solutions, to strive for peace, and to build the bridges of understanding and cooperation. And the starting point lies in each of us. True, just, and durable peace cannot be achieved solely through external means; it must emanate from within.




If we do not have peace within ourselves, how can we have peace in our families? How can we have peace in our communities? How can we have peace in our regions? And how can we have peace in our world? Our world is precious; our world is made in accordance with our values.

Inner peace is not merely the absence of conflict or turmoil; it is a state characterized by harmony, clarity, and equanimity. It is the foundation upon which we cultivate compassion, empathy, and understanding toward others. When we are at peace with ourselves, we are better equipped to navigate the complexities of the world with wisdom and discernment. This quality of inner peace is powerful and contagious. And when we embody peace in our thoughts, in our words, and our actions, we inspire others to do the same. We create ripples of positivity that have the power to transcend boundaries and unite humanity in a shared vision of harmony and coexistence.

Our Commonwealth, of which India is such a precious part, is in essence a powerful instrument to deliver that peace. You are blessed with the ingenuity and imagination of one third of the world. Your complexity, your diversity, is our strength; our shared humanity contains an immensely precious diversity of thought, culture, tradition, and experience. And we know that by listening to each other we will find many of the solutions we seek.

When we embody peace in our thoughts,
in our words, and our actions,
we inspire others to do the same.
We create ripples of positivity 
that have the power to transcend boundaries
and unite humanity in a shared vision of
harmony and coexistence.

From difference and sometimes difficult histories, our nations sit together today as equals—our unique and enduring blend of shared values. So, it is important that as we contemplate our part we understand how precious each of us is; we have the power, if we choose, to change our world by sharing the love and the spirit that binds us.

We have talked about the different pathways, and as I was listening to many, I remembered what was said in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. And I go to prepare a place for you.” That place is for every single human being on the planet. We all share one God.

So, I leave you with the blessing my mother always gives me when I go on a journey. We all of us are on a journey to bring peace in our world. My mother would say, “May God bless and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you and be merciful unto you all the days of your life. May your guardian angel walk beside you, and may the Lord, our God, keep you safe in the palm of his hand.”



Patricia Scotland

Patricia Scotland

As the first woman to be appointed Rt. Hon. Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia’s career has been marked by a number of firsts. She is mobilizing the 56 nations of the Commonwealth to tackle climate change, and, through women... Read More