UN International Day of Peace
Tuesday, 21 September 2004 — Amritapuri
In September 2004, the United Nations requested religious and spiritual leaders around the world to lend their support to the observance of its International Day of Peace [21 September]. The day centered around a one-minute worldwide silent prayer.
For Her part, Amma inspired hundreds of thousands of Her devotees and admirers to take part in the prayer, with the simple message: “No matter where you are on that day at 12 noon—whether you are at home, in the office, in the bathroom, the market, the shopping centre—irrespective of your faith and religion, stop what you are doing, close your eyes and pray one minute for world peace.”
Amma’s plea for the world’s participation spread like wildfire—through email, word of mouth and newspapers—prompting even the U.N.’s organising committee to acknowledge the energy Amma had infused into the event.
In the end, all of Amma’s educational institutions, hospitals and branch ashrams participated, as well as Her devotees from virtually every country in the world. Professors stopped classes; Air India announced the designated time on many of its flights; the city of Tampere Finland allowed for the organisation of the prayer in the city square. In truth, it’s impossible to say just how many people were motivated to supplicate to God for the peace and harmony of all beings.
At Amritapuri, more than 5,000 people gathered to pray alongside Amma and to hear Her words. Amma’s address cut to the chase: “This world should not become a desert,” She began. ( read the complete speech )
Amma went on to talk of the current state of the world and how it seems that everything is spiraling downwards at an alarming rate.
“Terrorists, the violent and the warmongers—their love has run dry. They have no compassion. May the prayers of crores of people like us fill the atmosphere with love and compassion and thereby help bring about a change in their attitudes, at least to some extent.”
Amma ended Her satsang by telling everyone that She has a desire: “Amma has a desire. Everyone in the world should be able to sleep without fear, at least for one night. Everyone should be able to eat to his or her fill, at least for one day. There should be at least one day when hospitals see no one admitted due to violence. By doing selfless service for at least one day, everyone—from little children to the very elderly—should help raise money for the poor and needy—even if by making toys. It is Amma’s prayer that at least this small dream be realised.”
Upon the conclusion of Her satsang, Amma led everyone through a short meditation and five minutes of chanting the ancient peace mantra “Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.”
To conclude, Amma walked out to the year-old banyan sapling that is planted in the ashram garden. During Amritavarsham50, Amma’s 50th Birthday Celebration for Peace & Harmony, the sapling was watered by Amma, President Kalam and the then Kerala Chief Minister A.K. Anthony with waters collected by Amma’s devotees from 191 United Nation-member countries.
There, Amma lit an oil lamp at the sapling’s side and reverently walked around its base three times. She then showered flower petals in all four directions and carefully laid a garland around its base. Finally, Amma lovingly poured water on the tree, offered a long prostration and blessed it with flower petals.
The entire time, everyone chanted “Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.”