Yesterday, 30th January was the anniversary of the death of Gandhi.
I was privileged to be part of an amazing candle-lit, inter-faith celebration of Gandhi’s life, in the middle of the City of London, at St Ethelburga’s Church.
This was the Annual Interfaith Event to celebrate Gandhi’s life organised by the Gandhi Foundation.
The faiths represented were Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism and the Brahma Kumaris. They all spoke very eloquently about Gandhi’s life and how his teachings could be applied to avert climate change and bring more peace and love into the world today.
There was even a surprise guest appearance from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a visionary and a humanitarian from India whose work transcends all boundaries. He was visiting London fresh from speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The evening served as a reminder of Gandhi’s insights relevant to interfaith cooperation and climate change and included by some music and silent reflection. The highlight of the evening was a candle lighting ceremony to signify peace and the sharing of our light.
Though it was a full house with over 100 people, disappointingly there were very few young people. They need to hear Gandhi’s message more than ever before.
St Ethelburga’s Church itself is a remarkable haven of peace in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the City of London. There is a wonderful meditation tent that is worth a visit next time you are in the area.
I can see many a City trader finding Nirvana there 🙂
The slogan on the Church’s website is very poignant:-
“Faith is a source of conflict… and a resource for transforming conflict”
The world needs to wake up to this message more than ever before now.
As the evening progressed, various spiritual leaders spoke eloquently about their interpretation of Gandhi’s life and the relevance and application of his message in today’s environmentally challenged world.
A great metaphor used by one of the speakers was that we have damaged our planet so much that we need to almost switch off for a while so it can recover. It was like being in a bath tub- at some point you must turn the tap off otherwise the tub would overflow.
No one can now deny the seriousness of the problem and the evening left me with hope and inspiration for the future. Here are some of the key phrases I picked up:-
We must create a garden in our hearts
We are a guest of the earth, not a possessor
Take “mini sabbaths” as often as you can daily to reconnect with the peace within
There is no equality and diversity in global warming – in the world today we have “equality in adversity”.
And of course, there were some key Gandhi quotes, which most people have heard of:-
“Let your life be your message”
“Be the Change you want the World to be”
Is your life the message you want to give the world?
When will you be the change you want the world to be?
Time is running out…