Multi-religious prayers for peace in the world
To promote and encourage tolerance and understanding among all nations, cultures and religions and above all, peace in the world, Swamiji is initiating and organizing multi-religious prayers for world peace as part of his World Peace Tour. He is inviting representatives of all religions, politicians, diplomats and all people to come together and join their efforts and their intentions in prayer for peace.
SARVESHAM SVASTIR BHAVATU
On 29th of September 2001 a prayer for the world peace was organized by Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji in Umag/Croatia. More than thousand people from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary lit candles at the sea coast in the early evening. Everyone prayed for peace in accordance with their religion and belief. Representatives of Catholic Church and Islamic community, Indian ambassador in Croatia and representatives of local authorites joined the prayer. Each of them lit a candle and float it in the sea with wishes for peace among all cultures, nations and religions. "The sea, which connects all continents, symbolizes the unity, and the flame symbolizes the light and life. With this we brought together two basic elements of life, water and fire, and wished that the flame will flow in the right direction. I'am glad that local religious and political representatives accepted our invitaion and joined us. Multicultural tolerance is vital for real and long lasting peace.", said Swamiji. This multi-religious prayer was a central event of the seminar of Yoga in Daily Life, which is held in Istria/Croatia every year.
On Swamiji's initiative on the 27th of October 2001 a multi-religous prayer for the world peace took place in Ljubljana, Slovenian capital. More than thousand people gathered near the beautiful castle in Ljubljana’s central park, where prayers were led by local representatives of Christianity, Islam, Bahai community and Hinduism. Several politicians and foreign diplomats in Slovenia also participated in the event. Every representative of religion and ambassadors of Greece and Albania lit a candle of peace and led a short prayer. The light was distributed with small candles to the public and a sight to thousand of small lamps in the dark was overwhelming. Swamiji chanted the peace mantra and translated its meaning to the people, pointing out that it is meant for the whole mankind and not only for a particular religion, nation or culture. Slovenian television stations and media covered the event, which was perfectly organized with a large projection screen and three cameras so that everything was seen also from the far distance. The national television made a headline contribution about the prayer in the evening news. People were leaving the scene inspired and happy to participate in the first event of this kind in Slovenia.
'Bring the light' was the title of the event, held on 29th of October at the bank of Danube in Bratislava. In this multi-cultural happening which attracted hundreds of visitors, representatives of different religions and cultures spoke and prayed for peace in the world. Beautiful words of peace and understanding among all were delivered by representative of Jewish comunity, monks of a Zen-budhist school, a girl from Angola who prayed in her own language, a representative of the 'People against Racism' iniciative and of course by Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji, as a representative of Hinduism. Swamiji addressed the participants with following words: 'Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray for our planet, that all living beings could live in harmony, in respect for each other, tolerance and love. God is almighty, omnipresent and omnipotent, He is Lord of our hearts. May He forgive all our mistakes and wrongdoing, and bless us with good health, peace, mutual understanding and love. May he lead us from unreality to reality, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. Everything is in His hands. We are not the doers, only He is the doer, He is the only one who acts. Peace, peace, peace.' As the final act, all main guests symbolically lit ecological oil lamps (made of coconut hulls) for peace and put them into Danube.
About 1000 people gathered at the bank of Danube at Kaisermühlendamm in Vienna to pray for peace and tolerance in the world. Representatives of different religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism) spoke moving words of prayer for mutual understanding, tolerance and above all for peace in every part of the world. All respected guests, together with the Indian ambassador in Austria, lit oil lamps and symbolically put them into the river. The cold evening was filled with warm atmosphere and the light of good wishes of all the participants. Closing words were delivered by the initator of the event, Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji. 'The light is an universal symbol. Wherever high values are addressed, the light is present, like in churches, at altars, or in graveyards. Light is the symbol of life, the flame of life. It stands for wisdom, purity of heart and clarity. Light is the symbol of God. Darkness represents sadness, hate, rage. Light means understanding, tolerance, love and peace.', said Swamiji.
Also in Barcelona people gathered at an interreligious meeting. Newspapers and TV took notice and pointed out their appreciation that 'a master of yoga came from India to Spain in order to pray for world peace'. The event had a special touch because just on this Saturday a bomb attentat of ETA occured in Bilbao, very near Barcelona, in which a woman died. This occurrence and the wish for peace among Spanish people was stressed in the speeches of the Spanish participants. The catholic priest recitated the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi - Lord, make me the instrument of your peace. Swamiji said in a short speech before chanting the Peace Mantra: 'This prayer is not meant for any particular person, not for any particular nation nor for any particular religion. Our prayer for peace is dedicated to all persons who lost their lives through the recent attacks everywhere in the world, to all children who lost their lives due to present situation in the world, to all wives who lost their husbands, to all mothers and fathers who lost their children. The reason of terror and war is lack of respect and tolerance among nations, cultures and religions and it is up to us to take each others hands and unite in love and understanding'. Finally, Swamiji lit his candle on the candle of the catholic priest.
Prague/Czech Rep., 2001/December/1
The evening before the first Sunday in Advent a special event took place in Prague. The 'Yoga in Daily Life' Society teamed up with several other institutions to organize a public prayer gathering attended by representatives of a cross-section of major religious and spiritual traditions. The event took place on an island in the middle of Vltava River and it's initiator was Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. The event was held under the patronage of the mayor of Prague. About eight hundred people of various faiths and from different parts of the Czech Republic and abroad gathered at 5 p.m. at the downstream end of 'Marksmen's Island' to join the prayers presented by our special guests - representatives of hinduism, protestantism, buddhism, islam faith and christianity. The event was covered by two television teams. A short Czech Television news spot was broadcast on the same day - Saturday - after the event and the next day on the Sunday News. Also, a documentary sequence was broadcast during a talk show a week afterwards. There were also articles about the event in the newspapers and a short report was published by the Czech press agency. First, the speakers symbolically lit torches that were sent out among the people at the gathering as a means of spreading spiritual light. People then lit their candles from the torches. Prayers were offered by all the speakers. Then all participants prayed for a few minutes in their own way for peace and harmony in the world. The program ended with the launching on the river of about 40 floating lamps made of special baked dough. Together with the lit-up panorama of the historic city center they made a beautiful picture of peace, warmness and hope.
In Salzburg representatives of christianity, hinduism, buddhism and islam joined in common prayer for peace in the world. The event was initiated by Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda and local 'Yoga in Daily Life' society. Candles were lit and prayers spoken, joy and peace were in the hearts and on the faces of everyone. The christian priest beautifully expressed feelings and intensions of all participants:
The one God, God of our Life, of our common future!
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