On October 4, 2023, twenty delegates from prominent religious traditions gathered for an event named Interfaith Harmony Day. This notable occasion was a standout moment in a week filled with festivities, culminating in the grand inauguration of the Akshardham Mahamandir on October 8, 2023.
The event brought together representatives from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The gathering was a testament to the core principles of Akshardham, where unity emerges from diversity, and the common threads that bind humanity together are celebrated with reverence and appreciation.
Addressing the audience, Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami said, “We believe that the essence of religion is harmony, and this forms the core belief of Hindu dharma, Sanatan Dharma ... We may be birds of different feathers and different flights, but we all belong to the same nest on this Earth, which is our spiritual home.”
Akshardham serves as a platform for all who visit, inviting them to experience principles of faith, unity, and selfless service. Its magnificent architecture and serene ambiance provide a backdrop for people of all backgrounds to come together in mutual respect and understanding. The Interfaith Harmony Day was a vivid reflection of these values, showcasing the power of faith to bridge divides and strengthen the bonds of humanity.
Reflecting on his visit of Akshardham, Bishop Darin Moore, Chair of Governing Board of the National Council of Churches said, “We are truly on holy ground today. This monument that has been erected, the wonderful way in which the architects have given so much detail is awe-inspiring. But what makes this powerful most of all is the people who are part of this great movement.”
Echoing a similar sentiment, Elder David Buckner of Area Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints spoke of his experience to the audience. “As I entered this beautiful location and I looked at the spires, we were told of what they represent, the ornate architecture. But most importantly, the effort in the artistic design that draws the eyes to see light. I started to recognize that I was looking heavenward. I was doing exactly what a temple should do. It should turn me to God. It should help me see that.”
Throughout the event, attendees engaged in interfaith dialogues, prayers, and cultural exchanges. It was a vibrant and enlightening experience that highlighted the shared values, ethics, and principles that connect individuals across different religious traditions.
Addressing the assembly, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj expressed his joy in seeing the gathering of various spiritual and religious leaders. “We share the same sky, the same earth. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, and we are all God's children. This is the message of Akshardham,” he remarked.
Interfaith Harmony Day left attendees with hearts filled with appreciation for the interfaith dialogue, unity, and respect that had been shared on this memorable occasion. The event underscored the enduring message that Akshardham embodies – through respect, compassion, and understanding, we find the true essence of harmony and unity.