2 January BAPS Centres across North America held Prayer Assemblies in
support and memory of the victims of the catastrophic Tsunami in South
The prayers began with chanting of the Swaminarayan dhun which was followed
by special Vedic hymns that were recited to offer support to those who
are suffering from this devastating calamity.
The prayer assemblies were organised as a medium to offer prayers and
support to all those affected, regardless of religion and nationality.
- In Houston, the Prayer
Assembly was attended by 22 community organisations as well as hundreds
of well-wishers, including Dr. Prem Chand Shridhar (Priest from the
Greater Houston Arya Samaj), Mr. Skand R. Tayal (Consul General of
India), Mr. Eddie Poerwana (Deputy Consul General of Indonesia), and
Ms. Yael Ravia-Zadok (Consul General of Israel) amongst many other
distinguished guests. Mr. Barkley Peschel, District Director, read
a message from Congressman Tom DeLay, Majority Leader of the House.
- At the Prayer Assembly
held in Chicago, amongst the many attendees were the representatives
of over 20 community organisations as well as noted speakers such
as Mr. Andy David, Deputy Consul General of Israel.
New York, more than 30 prominent civic organisations attended. They
were addressed by several speakers, including Mr. Ashok Tomar (Deputy
Consul General of India), Congressman Anthony Weiner, and Assemblyman
- Similarly, at BAPS
centres across North America there was an outpouring of support from
community leaders and civic organisations. In Washington DC, Mr. Elisha
Pulivarti, a special representative of the Governor's Office, read
a letter of condolence and support for the victims of the tsunami
disaster, on behalf of Maryland Governor Robert Erhlich.
Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty paid a visit to the BAPS Centre in
Toronto on 9 January 2005 to participate in a Prayer Assembly organised
by BAPS Canada for the victims and survivors of the South Asian Tsunami.
A prayer for the victims from His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj
and an appeal for support was read to the audience to seek their assistance
in providing relief material and much needed food and water supplies
to the affected areas. This large humanitarian mission will be carried
out by BAPS Care International, a non religious relief organisation
with a long track record in helping victims of disasters.
At the end of the programme the Shanti Path – Peace Prayer –
was recited by priests at all of the BAPS centres to seek peace for
the souls of those lost in the tsunami disaster.