Sikh Dignitaries from India participate in the 23rd annual International Peace Prayer Day
Saturday, June 21. Espanola, New Mexico. In the lovely heights of the Jemez Mountains, in the quaint New Mexico town of Espanola, the 3HO Foundation and the natural food company Yogi Tea co-sponsored the 23rd annual International Peace Prayer Day at the Ram Das Puri campsite. The event began at 2 pm and featured an eclectic mix of song, dance and speeches from a variety of faith traditions – all extending their prayers and hopes for peace in the world.
International Peace Prayer Day included performances by Izzat Da Punjab Bhangra Troupe; a sacred healing dance with the Red Turtle Dancers of Pojoaque, NM; transcendent healing music with Ashana; and a musical performance with Guru Singh Khalsa and friends.
In addition, various dignitaries attended this year’s International Peace Prayer Day and spoke during the program. Previous International Peace Prayer Day Award Recipient, Alfredo Sfeir Younis, formerly with the World Bank and President and Founder of Zambuling Institute for Human Transformation, spoke on the theme “Attaining Peace in a World Without Borders.” He shared his insights that political leaders need to find the experience of peace within themselves before they can successfully negotiate for peace as leaders. Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takhat in Amritsar, India also addressed the crowd. Vedanti holds the highest spiritual seat in the Sikh religion. He spoke about peace and the need for people of different faiths to find their common ground and work together towards peace. Vedanti was accompanied by Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi of the Golden Temple, as well as Prithipal Singh, assistant to Jathedar Akal Takhat.
International Peace Prayer Day ended with its two key signature events – the arrival of the Flame of Peace, and the Sacred Healing Walk. Every year, the Peace Flame runners carry the torch of Peace from the El Santuario de Chimayo Shrine in Chimayo, New Mexico to the Ram Das Puri campsite. This run is close to 20 miles and takes an entire day. Athletes train for months ahead of time in order to participate in the run. The arrival of the Peace Flame in Ram Das Puri signals the end of the stage program for International Peace Prayer Day and the beginning of the Sacred Healing Walk.
After the arrival of the Peace Flame, hundreds of attendees commenced with the traditional Sacred Healing Walk. The Sacred Healing Walk is an ancient Native American tradition that was passed from Hopi Elders to the late Yogi Bhajan in the 1970’s. Every year during International Peace Prayer Day, this powerful ceremony is done during sunset as a way for people to spend time in prayer and purification, bringing peace to their own lives and to the world.
The late Yogi Bhajan, a master of Kundalini Yoga and a world-renown spiritual leader, founded International Peace Prayer Day in the mid 1980’s. His belief was that peace in the world could only be attained through people finding peace and harmony within their own lives, in their own homes and relationships. He started International Peace Prayer Day as a way for people of different faiths to come together and create a common prayer for peace. Yogi Bhajan was born in India but came to the West in the late 1960’s. He began to teach the ancient art of Kundalini Yoga and found a particular audience with the hippies of the time, as Kundalini Yoga helped them expand their consciousness in a completely healthy and balanced way. He founded 3HO Foundation in 1969 – 3HO stands for Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization. In time, Yogi Bhajan made his home in Espanola, NM, where he passed away on October 6, 2004.
For 23 years, International Peace Prayer Day has been a main feature event for the 3HO Foundation’s Summer Solstice Celebration. Founded by the late Yogi Bhajan, 3HO Foundation preserves and shares the ancient teachings of Kundalini Yoga. The Summer Solstice Celebration is comprised of a week of intensive yoga in the mountain campsite. This year, 3HO’s Summer Solstice drew its largest crowd ever – with nearly 1800 people attending the event. For more information about this event, visit http://www.3ho.org/.
Photo Caption: Top right – Holding the Peace Flame. From right to left: SS Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib; Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, Bhai Sahiba for Sikh Dharma International; Ben Ray Lujan Jr., NM Democratic Nominee for US Congress and girlfriend Dawn; SS Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi of the Harimandir Sahib; Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa, Siri Sikdar Sahib of Sikh Dharma International.