On September 18, 2011, the Sikh Center of Orange County (OC) joined the worldwide Sikh community in conjunction with other faith communities in praying for world peace, as part of the initiative of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
This year about 8 million prayers have been recited by Sikhs in more than 50 countries worldwide. The “Sukhmani Sahib” is a composition written by the 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji, which describes the path to peace for all individuals. Humans progress towards enlightenment through stages of spiritual progress, and achieve liberation and self-realization by their actions.
Sikh congregations have participated enthusiastically worldwide, generating a number of different approaches to their own local programs. Congregations have hosted interfaith events, involved their local neighbors, and formed unique ways of sharing the experience of Sikh prayer with their wider communities. On this day, Sikh temples or Gurdwaras were decorated with emblems of peace and harmony, and a special langar, or community meal was served to all who attended. At the Sikh Center of OC, “peace balloons” decorated the Gurdwara, and a number of children from the Guru Nanak Children’s Academy participated in reciting the paath as well. Bhai Sahib Jaswant Singh did a beautiful ardaas, asking for Waheguruji’s blessings on all of mankind.
The OC organizers noted, “The success of our Sukhmani Sahib Paath project lies in its being done on a large scale. Our Gurus’ baani is very powerful and profound in its message. Although we ourselves appreciate it, we have not done a very good job in sharing that beauty with the world community. We have kept it to ourselves, hidden in our own gurudwaras and communities, deriving our own strength and comfort from the Gurus’ words. But this is an infinite source of comfort—it will not be used up or depleted if we share it with others. In fact, it is our job to share this wealth, to show our non-Sikh friends that our Sikh philosophy is inherently one of equality and understanding, and to let them know that we pray for the world’s peace on a daily basis.
The U.N. International Day of Peace is the perfect time to highlight Sukhmani Sahib paath, translated as the “psalm of peace,” to send our own positive energy as a sangat to the world in conflict, and to stand in solidarity with the rest of the interfaith communities in our wish for peace.”
Mrs. Rajinderjit K. Singh, one of the organizers, felt that “the energy from this prayer, being recited by so many Sikhs together at the same time, radiates a peaceful light which permeates the entire earth and all its people.”