In 1982, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring an International Day of Peace. In 2001, the General Assembly adopted 21 September as the permanent date for this annual event.
The Day is envisioned to provide “an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date.” As the resolution specifically states: “Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”
Since its inception, Peace Day has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organised over the week to commemorate and celebrate this idea.
Observance by BAPS in London
This year, the event was observed by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London on Sunday 23 September. The special evening assembly was inaugurated with the traditional lighting of the lamp and the choral singing of the Shanti-Paath, an ancient Vedic peace prayer.
Providing a spiritual perspective on this year’s theme of ‘Sustainable Peace’, Satyavrat Swami drew upon the words of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and explained that lasting world peace can only be achieved when inner impurities are eliminated in individuals. He cited several inspirational incidents from the life and work of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, whom former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described as “a messenger of peace.”
A short video followed thereafter depicting Pramukh Swami Maharaj bringing peace and joy to all those around him.
Thereafter, the gathered joined in meditative chanting to pray for all fellow humans who were suffering in war-torn, conflict-stricken zones, and for the bereaved and those who had lost their lives or been injured by acts of violence or in natural disasters. A special prayer was also said for the orphaned, homeless, ailing, poor and deprived, and for those who were still reeling from the continuing economic unease.
The assembly concluded with a final statement of prayer and reflection, tying in the spirituality and message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj for a truly lasting, meaningful end to conflict within hearts and homes and ultimately the world.
In thus observing the International Day of Peace, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha affirmed its support of a shared vision of our world at peace and in harmony, and its commitment to converting these noble aspirations into a reality – here and now for us, and for generations to come everywhere.