- When we come together cutting across religious, cultural and geographical boundaries, we pave the way for a more harmonious and united world-Swami Chidanand Saraswati
Monroevilleby/Rishikesh : In a wonderful and powerful show of solidarity, the Hindu and Jewish communities of the Greater Pittsburgh area have come together at the Hindu-Jain Temple in Monroeville to mark the 5th anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The objective of the event is to promote unity, solidarity and harmony while taking a powerful stand against religious violence as well as promoting peace. In October 2018, the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh witnessed the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States. Eleven people lost their lives and six others were injured as a result of this horrific incident.
At the Hindu-Jain temple, temple founder and spiritual leader Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, president Swami Chidananda Saraswati and Divine Shakti Foundation president Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati, along with Hindu Jain Temple Committee President, temple committee board vice president and temple priests, are greeted by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life and surviving Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Julie Paris, regional director of Stand With Us, and other leaders of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh Did it. During the event, the speakers emphasized on the core principle of non-violence, which is deeply rooted in both the Jewish and Hindu traditions. He highlighted the shared teachings of unity and harmony, underlining the need for solidarity in the face of adversity.
The event began with everyone lighting the lamp, symbolizing a collective prayer for peace and love to light up all hearts and communities. The program symbolizes love, truth, justice and unity. Swami Chidananda Saraswati delivered the address with recitation of ancient Vedic mantras, which was followed by the sacred prayer of the Jews, the Shema Yisrael, a prayer to God for universal unity. Sharing the meaning of Hindu Vedic mantras, he invoked the eternal truth saying that ‘Truth is one; The Lord is one; God is one but scholars call it by different names. Swami said that ‘May good thoughts enter us from all directions, good thoughts make our life and our creation beautiful and prosperous.’ He also shared his experience as a delegate to a Hindu-Jewish summit when he went to Israel, the effect of which was a call for collective efforts towards peace and a clear rejection of violence.
Coming from a Jewish family in Hollywood, California and living at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India for the past 27 years, Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati beautifully expresses her personal connection to both Judaism and Hinduism. These two traditions co-exist within me, he said, enriching my understanding and deepening my experience, and bringing me closer to my own self and to God. The Hindu-Jewish unity event offered a poignant reminder of the power of unity and compassion in overcoming adversity and promoting peace. It united hearts and minds from diverse backgrounds, demonstrating that together, we can dispel the darkness of violence and hatred with the light of understanding, empathy and love. This extraordinary occasion stands as testimony to the shared values and enduring bond between the Hindu and Jewish communities. It sends a resounding message that when we come together cutting across religious, cultural and geographical boundaries, we pave the way for a more harmonious and united world.
At the global level, Swami Chidanand Saraswati spreads the message of environmental protection and plantation. On this auspicious occasion, Swamiji, Sadhvi and all the special guests planted saplings and spread the message of environmental protection.