Vadodara, India: report by Trupti Pandya
What a beautiful Sunday! While Fuji Sanctuary was getting ready for its yearly gathering, a few local folks decided to tap into the field of Maitri(loving compassion) with the intention of coming together to connect with the energy and spirit of the SOPP and be part of the larger collective as we prayed for peace.
We aligned our time with the SOPP in Japan and started at 6:30 in the morning, where for the first 30 minutes we sat in silence, and then we turned on the live broadcast to join in the prayers from different religions. What a joy it was to see our brothers and sisters in Japan. After that part was over we all sat in silence for about ten minutes and prayed for peace within our hearts for our larger family. After this, the circle was closed with a beautiful prayer sung by our friend Bhumika.
We held another prayer circle at the State Home for women, which is a government home for women who need a safe place to stay. For the past few months, they have been doing group prayers in the evening. On May 20, we shared about the SOPP and how thousands of people are praying not for themselves but for all of us. They were quite astonished by the idea that a bunch of folks were praying for even those who had once harmed them, and were really touched after listening to stories about the power of prayers. We sat in silence for a few minutes, then did a group prayer followed by sending good wishes to each individual present there, to their families, and to the whole world.
A few of the participants added written prayers to a collective mandala. One of the young women did not know how to write, but wanted to help fill the mandala with prayers, so one of us simply wrote “OM,” which she continued writing. She said she will continue writing prayers in her spare time.
Lastly, we gathered with a group of children, showing them the Earth flag and talking about how this flag is different from the flags that represent countries and how this picture of the earth doesn’t have boundaries like they see in their textbooks. It was interesting to see those sparks of curiosity in their eyes and the simplicity in their questions, and to be at the receiving end of their love, smiles, and so much joy. We ended our circle with a few minutes of silence, followed by the prayer May peace prevail on Earth.
We felt a lot of peace and courage in our hearts as we connected with the larger earth family. This is such a beautiful way to bring people from all faiths and backgrounds together. We are very grateful to the SOPP community and to the Saionjis, who have been doing this work for so many years. We are very excited to see how we can bring more diversity and depth to the celebration next year.