by Fr. Allwyn Misquitta
WADALA-MUMBAI, OCTOBER 4, 2014: The Inter Faith prayer meeting was a special initiative of Our Lady of Dolours parish, Wadala to commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Religious leaders from various parts of the city (Bhramakumaris- Mala Behen and Sarika Behen, Bhante Sang Bodi- Buddhist Monks, Jains- Jaideep Ahar, Parsi- Rustom Chotia, Jewish priests- Ellis Talkar, Joel Pugavkar, Sikh- Bhai Ranjeet Singh, Muslim- Maulana Aneez Ahmed Asrafi and Catholic- Father Vivian) were invited to take part in this meet; the main focus being unity and peace.
The meet began with a moment of prayer invoking the presence of the Almighty. This beautiful spiritual moment was enhanced with the lighting of the lamp (by all the religious leaders), with song, with a prayer of peace and unity for the world and lastly with the national anthem and pledge. It was the parish priest of Our Lady of Dolours, Fr Vivian who welcomed the esteemed guests with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "I don't want India to be a "one religion" country but a tolerant one". The guests then taking their place on the stage came out one by one, giving their versions of peace proclaimed in their respective religions.
The Brahmakumaris all the way from Mount Abu, focussed on Peace and its necessity in the world today. Mala Behen said, "People are all looking for peace outside but on the contrary, peace is only found within and as individuals, we need to find this peace which is the source of all happiness". Fr. Vivian delved on the scripture reading from the gospel of Mathew (The Sermon on the mount) where Jesus preached about the formula for true happiness.
The Buddhist monk spoke about the image of God in all humans and how one needed to respect everyone. The Sikh leader remarked, "If you are connected with the divine, you become divine" His talk focussed on how one should live a life of love and harmony. A verse from the Quran was sung by the Maulana, praising Allah for his greatness and the last words of the prophet Mohammad that every man is equal in the eyes of God and each should be treated rightly. The young Jain guru, with a smile on his face, spoke of ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (self-satisfaction), satya (truth) and shama (being apologetic). These he said, were the four pillars to a peaceful life and that we are to live as one big family in harmony and union.
The Jewish leaders sang a verse from their holy book praising the Almighty and for peace and happiness in the whole world. The last, was the Parsi priest who stressed more on what peace is all about and what the Zoroastrian religion preaches about peace, the corner stone being good thoughts, good words and good deeds. In short, the underline meaning of all their talks was that God is love and peace and all are called to do the same. The prayer of intercession got the audience praying for people all around the world, for peace and harmony in our country. Then holding hands, the congregation recited the Lord's Prayer followed by a floral tribute being presented to all the religious leaders present. Th event ended with the vote of thanks and a concluding song 'Kabhi pyasse ko pani pilaya nahi'.