Ek onkar sat nam

There is but one God; true is His name

Hey akal purkh sache patshah

Our eternal, true Lord

We have gathered again to pray for peace and harmony in the highly troubled world we are living in today and in remembrance of thousands of innocent lives lost this day three years back.

This also is the year of the 400th anniversary of installation of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh scripture.  The Granth brings a message of prayer, sharing, caring, love, compassion, equality, justice, peace and harmony to all mankind. It reminds us that the one God is the God of us all. We are all His children and His door is open to all of us whatever our persuasion or circumstance. True religiosity consists in living a prayerful life and performing good deeds –

Sagal dharma mehn sresht dharma, har ko nam jap nirmal karam.

The path commended is to be a productive, responsible member of society; provide through honest work for self and family and give some to help others in need. We are told that God communicates with us through infinite love and it is through unbounded love that we can connect with Him –

Jin prem kio tin hee prabh paiyo.

 This world we live in is God’s visible manifestation and everything created by Him has a purpose. Man has a special role but God is happy with what He has created and He joyfully tends and cares for it. He has created diversity, change, an array of options and given us the ability to pick and choose. In His court we will be judged by choices we make. Learning to live in His will and creating harmony in the times we live in is the true test of a devotee –

Waqt vicharey so banda hoey.

In this paradigm of piety equality, peace, justice, harmony, poise, balance and mutual accommodation are important building blocks. The ideal society has been variously described as – halemi raj – governance through modesty and compassion and – be gam pura– land sans grief where society is supportive and people do not cause one another to suffer.

Guru Nanak in his compositions recognized the ills that pervaded the society of his times. He was a witness to the horrible suffering inflicted on the hapless civilians, men, women and children caught in the cross fire of the struggle for supremacy by the strong and powerful. He was deeply troubled by the plight, for centuries of the lower castes and women. His anguish at the suffering of the innocent was so deep that he even chided God that “Did Thou feel no compassion for their cries of pain?”

Aiti mar payee kurlaney tain ki dard neh aaya

We heard those cries in our midst three years back. We continue to hear them in so many places across the globe today. So much of this strife is in the name of or for the protection of tradition and values. Each side calls the other evil and all invoke God to their side. Men have forgotten that God created us as humans, not, as Nanak said centuries earlier, as Hindus or Muslims – our body and soul but belongs to the One – call him Allah, call him Ram

Neh ham hindu neh musalman, allah ram ke pind pran

Let us then in our moment of reflection remember these and several other pearls of wisdom that have come to us through the prophets, sages and savants. We cannot change the world and our influence may indeed be limited but it is not beyond our power to keep trying to make men of reason to assert their belief in the eternal truths and basic tenets of virtuous living. For ourselves at our level let us accept one another. Let us recognize that there can be several paths to the same destination. Let us learn to care and share; to love and to pray that God, in His beneficence, showers His mercy and blessings on one and all –

Nanak nam chardi kala, tere bhane sarbat da bhala.

Thank you all for joining in our prayer

Wahiguru ji ka khalsa wahiguru ji ki fateh.

Nirmal Singh,

Farmington, CT

Sep. 10, 2004.


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