A Sikh prayer for peace
(Read by Amita Sehmi Guigoz and Naginder Sehmi on the occasion of the United Nations Day organised by the Geneva Spiritual Appeal Group Cathedral of Saint Peter, Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday 24 October 2004.)
A thousand years ago, in Spain, inter-religion conflicts had deeply grieved four wise and loving persons – two Muslims – Ibn Rushd and Ibn Arabi, a Jew-Maimonides, and a Christian-Alfonso the Wise. Their wisdom is beautifully expressed in Ibn Arabi’s poem:
My heart has become capable of every form:
It is a pasture for gazelles,
And a convent for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Ka’bah,
And the tables of the Torah, and the book of the Koran,
I follow the religion of love:
Whatever way love’s camels take,
That is my religion and my faith. (“Interpreter of Ardent Desires”)
On the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century, another wise person, Nanak, started his teachings with the proclamation:
“THERE IS NEITHER HINDU NOR MUSLIM”
Oh mind! Love Him
As a lotus loves the water;
Waves thwart it but it
Still blossoms in love
…Oh mind! Love Him
As a fish loves the water
The more the water, the greater the solace
For the body and the mind. (Adi Granth, 59-60)
IN OUR PRAYER:
- Let us first recall these and numerous other enlightened and wise persons who have dedicated their lives to raise human and spiritual values above “unholy” religious practices.
- Let us also remember that our prophets, gurus, and wise persons had not thought of dividing us into separate groups of Sikhs, Christians, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Bahais, and different varieties of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.
- O Vahiguru, the Wonderful Enlightener, give us the courage to stop promoting material values, factions and symbols and to use our efforts and resources to reduce human suffering and to safeguard spiritual values.
- O Vahiguru help us to make a religious pact – a pact to create peace among the nations, as expressed by Nanak in his song:
I have made a pact with the Supreme Lord
All other pacts are for worldly power.
For worldly gains the fools dispute and struggle.
In this Dark Age, five dominant passions cause factions:
Lust, anger, greed, attachment, and self-will.
I am in the Lord’s faction,
Who has destroyed all other factions!
False is all love besides that of God
That divides men into warring groups.
The many factions decry and malign each other
And vanity consumes them.
As a man sows, so must he reap!
Nanak has signed a pact with Righteousness
That can conquer the whole world. (AG. 366)
- Vahiguru bless us with love to enable us to stay on the right path in the current evolution of globalization of spiritual and cultural values.
- Help us to learn to translate and reinterpret old spiritual writings and traditions and make them applicable to the daily lives of human beings in the present times and in the environment where they live.
- Let our prayer today extend Nanak’s human brotherhood and Ibn Arabi’s love and we all proclaim with Nanak:
“THERE IS NEITHER HINDU NOR MUSLIM”,
NOR CHRISTIAN NOR BUDDHIST NOR SIKH NOR ANY OTHER SIMILAR ENTITIES BUT ONLY THE BROTHERHOOD OF HUMAN BEINGS.