Two locations: Ahmedabad, Lucknow
Ahmedabad: report by Madhusudan
A small prayer ceremony was held at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to support the beautiful mission of the Symphony of Peace Prayers to resonate across the planet a wave of infinite peace and joy through prayers, and also to immerse ourselves in the universal energy. We were very happy to be part of the worldwide network of people that joined together in prayer on May 22.
Lucknow : report by Varghese Kurian
As a part of the Symphony of Peace Prayers, a prayer ceremony of various religions was organized by City Montessori School in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, Co-founder and Manager of the school opened the program with a speech. He dwelt on the importance of peace and of fostering a spirit of love and fellowship in the establishment of a divine civilization on earth. He said that we may pray in any language or in any religion—what matters is the feeling behind our prayers. “Symphony means one common chord, one voice, playing just one music, of peace and unity. All the religions echo the same message of world peace and unity. The basic purpose of religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of mankind, foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men, and to help in the establishment of divine civilization on earth in place of rapidly increasing disunited, lawless, unjust and satanic civilization.” He further said that the words of God came to us at different times through different religious leaders. All our religious books—the Bible, the Gita, the Quran, the Tripitaka, and so on—are all flawless, as they come from one and the same God. God is one—we only call him with different names.
After the address by Dr. Gandhi, the prayer leaders took part in a ‘lamp lighting ceremony’. Then, one by one, they addressed the gathering.
The Sikh leader, Gyani Rajendra Singh Bagga, head of the Sikh Religious Order, said that it is was the duty of all of the people present to pray for humanity at large, irrespective of their caste and creed. He later recited from Guru Granth Sahib, the religious book of the Sikhs. Next, Swami Para Rupanand of Ram Krishna Math prayed, “Oh Lord, look after us all, take care of us and give us all the strength. Give us love unto our hearts so that we can love our fellow beings and coexist peacefully.”
Bhadant Ga Pragyanand ji Maharaj, the Buddhist prayer leader said, “All the people on this earth should treat each other with love and care. The good of all of us consists in this and this alone.” Father Quadris, principal of St. Dominic’s College in Lucknow, read from the Holy Bible, and said, “Our heavenly father, you are the source of all the good, all peace comes from you… Let peace prevail among all the nations of this earth, let all of us contribute in our own way, towards the establishment of peace, as fellow human beings, as brothers and sisters.”
Maulana Md. Mushtaq, the Muslim leader, also prayed for the welfare of humanity at large as he recited from the Holy Quran. Then it was the turn of Mr. Shailendra Jain, the Jain prayer leader. “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. This can best be achieved by following the path of peace and righteousness,” he said.
Dr. Bharati Gandhi, Co-founder and Director of City Montessori School served as a representative of the Baha’i faith. Calling upon the Almighty for his guidance at all times she said, “Oh God, light up our path as we walk down the corridors of life; in fact, make us our own guiding light!”
After the speeches and prayers by the various religious leaders, a few groups of students came up on the stage to perform or offer prayers. The first were students from Don Bosco Ashalayam, Mohanlalgunj, Lucknow, a shelter for homeless and other poor children. The team was led by Father Swanoop Chaudhary of Ashalayam. These students sang a beautiful song on religious unity. Following this, children from Rajkiya Bal Griha, Shishu, a home for orphaned children, presented a beautiful prayer song.
At the end, Dr. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Chief Operating Officer of City Montessori School, thanked all the prayer leaders for sparing their most valuable time to be a part of the SOPP, and she said that she was overwhelmed by the performances given by the children.