This song is an antidote for:
- And really any emotion that’s not peaceful!
Listen to the song (download mp3):
Bonus Track (download mp3):
Watch the session with Satyaki:
From A Tale of Songs, by Swami Kriyananda:
A curious thing about this song was that I wrote it for a humorous story of mine, “The Singer and the Nightingale.” The humor, here, consisted of a billboard announcing, as the feature of an evening’s music program, a song titled, “Melody on A,” instead of what would be expected: “Melody in A.” The prospect of a “melody” all on one note was meant to be funny. However, when I actually sat down to write the song, another consciousness took over, and a song appeared of such stately beauty that it has long been a favorite among those who appreciate my music!
Peace gave us the mountains.
Peace gave us the sky.
Nightly, when starlight enfolds us,
Peace is its lullaby.
Peace gave us the morning.
Peace gave us the sun.
Bird songs that call us to welcome
day, and fresh labors begun.
Peace gave us the seasons.
Peace gave us the rain—
cool clouds that gather to bless us,
mist hands that soothe away pain.
Peace gave us our hearts love.
Peace gave us our smiles.
Rays of God’s presence within us.
Light that all strife reconciles.
The song as an antidote (Satyaki’s comments):
I’ll say up front that Peace is an antidote for anxiety, which is indeed inherent in the title. Swami Kriyananda assigned it to Day 2 of Secrets of Emotional Healing:
The secret of overcoming anxiety is to do your best in the present, without attachment to the outcome, knowing that whatever is yours by right must come to you sooner or later, and that all else, even if acquired, will prove evanescent.
The deep sense of peacefulness in the song itself can also work for emotions like worry, restlessness/agitation, and tension/stress, which are, of course, all related to anxiety. Really, any state of consciousness that’s not peaceful is helped by this song. Of this song, Kriyananda said that if we want peace on earth, then we have to live in the consciousness of peace, and not just hope that it’s going to come about on its own while we dwell on the problems! And the way to that peace is to get in tune with divine consciousness.
Being in attunement with peace and living in the consciousness of peace goes well beyond simply affirming peace or reading about it. Consciousness is primarily a matter of feeling, and music accomplishes that feeling better than just about anything else. How, then, does Peace induce that state of consciousness in us?
Let’s consider the musical aspect first: how many songs are written with one note? (The high note at the end of the Amen is one octave up from the main note.) Well, practically none! Peace accomplishes its aim through words, rhythm, and harmony rather than melody.
Musically, as Kriyananda says in Art as Hidden Message, melody expresses the heart’s aspirations. Peace, having no melody, is therefore a song without aspiration, which in this case means without desire, without ambition, without drive, and without any expectations. Indeed, that’s what the saying from Secrets of Emotional Healing describes! Think about how much anxiety we generate in our lives by the simple act of having expectations, of wanting something from the world, from life, from God. (I recently read in another book that expectations are obligations we place on the future!) And stress, as I explore in my own book Solving Stress, is exactly what comes when there’s a separation between the way the world is and he way we want it to be.
In this song, however, there’s no wanting or striving at all, which is the state of divine consciousness: the yogi who has joined his or her consciousness with God already has everything and can accept that everything is exactly as it should be. Peace is thus brilliant in that it doesn’t just talk about peace, it is peace, by the simple lack of melody!
That last high note on every verse, of course, is important, because it lifts energy up an octave, both literally and figuratively. Do we not say that we “go to a higher octave” when our experience jumps from one level to a higher level?
What, then, of the harmony, which, musically speaking, deepens the aspirations of the heart? Well, even though we say that there is no aspiration because there’s no melody, it’s more proper to say that the sole aspiration in this song is, once again, peace. The harmonies, therefore, deepen that sense of peace by demonstrating that the consciousness of divine peace is unchanged regardless of what happens outwardly. The changing chords, and the changing rhythm for that matter, express the changing tides of the world around us. And yet the divine consciousness is untouched. As Yogananda said, the yogi can “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds.”
The lyrics, also, tell a sweet story that provides the soothing and calming peace of knowing that God is always with you. To me, the verses describe different stages of growth and God’s relationship to you throughout those stages.
Peace gave us the mountains, peace gave us the sky,
Nightly when starlight enfolds us
Peace is its lullaby. Amen, Amen
The first line is expansive and open, with the calmness of mountains and sky. The second line, then, inspires images of a baby being held in Divine Mother’s arms, don’t they? This verse thus represents the stage of infancy, where we can sleep peacefully in God’s embrace.
The second verse is then like God sending us out for our first steps in the world:
Peace gave us the morning, peace gave us the sun
Bird songs that call us to welcome
Day and fresh labors begun. Amen, Amen.
Those first steps are what you do as a toddler, and like any respectable parent, God is there to catch us if we slip or lose our balance. We’re not taking those steps into the world on our own, but with God there holding our hands. The words like morning, sun, bird calls, and welcoming the day all indicate the idea of going out and being active.
But the world, of course, is a nest of troubles, and we’re going to run into difficulty! Yet God is there waiting to embrace us when we’re hurt:
Peace gave us the seasons, peace gave us the rain
Cool clouds that gather to bless us,
Mist hands that soothe away pain. Amen, Amen.
Seasons represent the ups and down, the joys and sorrows, and all other contrasts that exist in the world of maya. And yet God is there, as the soothing “mist hands,” like the parent who embraces the child who has fallen and soothes them first before even thinking to ask what happened.
Through such forays into the world, step by step, we thus learn that God is always ever with us, and that we can be happy amidst all circumstances:
Peace gave us our hearts love, peace gave us our smiles
Rays of God’s presence within us,
Light that all strife reconciles. Amen, Amen.
These words describe a parent who has nurtured a child into awakened adulthood. It’s God’s giving that grace to us and transmitting the light through us, that we might continue to give it to others. We go beyond seeking peace for ourselves to becoming a magnet for peace in the whole world around us. In that sense of security and assurance there just isn’t any room for anxiety or worry.
Indeed, there are those who say that the world is “full of rampant violence and hatred.” Ever since I saw that exact phrase in early 2016, I’ve been keeping an eye out for actual evidence that I experience directly, rather than the highly amplified stories that are constantly being displayed on video screens. And you know what? In all that time I have yet to see a single instance of rampant violence and hatred. I’ve seen a little annoyance, and I’ve seen a few people who are impatient or frustrated, but they’re not being violent or hateful. In fact, what I usually see is just the reverse! Harmony, cooperation, kindness, helpfulness—if you get your eyes of the video screens, this is what you are likely to see.
And it’s not like I’ve been sheltering myself; in the years of my observation I’ve probably crossed paths with nearly a million people! I’ve traveled a great deal, been to a number of major cities, and attended sporting events with tens of thousands of people. And yet I don’t see any evidence of violence and hatred.
Of course, one might say that my lack of direct experience is greatly affected by who I am, and that I just don’t seem to attract violence and hatred. And that’s exactly the point that Kriyananda is making in Peace! If you live in peace, live in tune with the consciousness of peace, then you also experience peace in the world around you.
In closing, let me just mention the movement of energy in the spine with Peace, because it’s not an upward progression like most other songs. Peace instead starts in the 5th chakra, to lift the heart out of anxiety and bring it up to the center of calmness. In the second verse, that energy is connected to the spiritual eye. In the third verse, the energy is then brought back down into the medulla, throat, and the heart. And in the fourth verse, the peace is spreading throughout the entire spine, throughout your entire being, as it says, “Rays of God’s presence within us.” That peace is in every cell, every atom, every thought, and every feeling.
In short, Peace isn’t just the peace of meditation and focus at the spiritual eye, but a peace that pervades every level of reality, as befits the nature of divine consciousness.
 The other day I was feeling anxious about large drops in the stock market. As I meditated that morning, I went into a state of profound and expansive peace, yet even in that state the little worries about money kept creeping in. But I realized how silly it was to worry about such things when my true nature is unity with God, and God is everything! What I need will surely come to me, as the Secrets quote says, and there’s no need to worry. [Return]