On September 11, 2017, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj prayed for interfaith harmony and world peace on the 16th anniversary of 9/11 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, New Jersey.
The program, entitled Shanti Din (day of peace), honored the victims and first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The program focused on the importance of unity, citing one of the founding principles of the United States: E pluribus unum (“out of many, one”).
Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami spoke on the importance of unity in the face of terror. He shared examples of how the common core values of humanity such as compassion, mutual understanding, and tolerance can bring about transformational societal change and profound peace. Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami shared Pramukh Swami Maharaj's response calling for peace, harmony, and forgiveness after the terrorist attack on Akshardham, Gandhinagar which echoed in the hearts and minds of thousands of people around the world. An Anti-Terrorism Conference in Germany both cited his response as the ideal response to terrorism; they coined that peaceful response the ‘Akshardham Response.’
The program highlighted His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj's message shared at the United Nations that emphasized the need for interfaith understanding, respect, and harmony. Pramukh Swami Maharaj encouraged spiritual leaders to spend more time speaking with each other so that it would foster mutual respect and harmony amongst their followers. He urged communities across the world to find a way to experience peace by living by the following motto, “In the progress of others, lies our own. In the joy of others, lies our own,”
The program culminated by calling upon guests, including community leaders and government officials to the stage to pray for the victims of 9/11, their families, and peace across the world. The Vedic Shanti path, prayer for world peace was sung by children. Mahant Swami Maharaj showered sanctified rose petals on the nearly 3,000 names of the 9/11 attack victims displayed on the stage and prayed for their families.
In his blessings, Mahant Swami Maharaj spoke on the importance of unity in families and communities. He stressed that unity through mutual understanding is the cornerstone of global peace.