CHILDREN OF GOD
In Delhi, India, there is an Ashram called Ram Sharanam established by Swami Satyanand about five decades ago.
The custom there is to hold a two hour session of prayers every Sunday morning, which is very popular with the affiliates of the ashram. Indeed, for a long time now, it is normal to see thousands of people register their presence for the Sunday prayers session.
Another custom of this ashram is that, before the prayers begin, all the assembled people will sing a composition of descriptive slokas called Amrit vani (a spiritual term for sacred terms and sounds). This session usually lasts for about 35 minutes. The verses explain in very simple and joyous terms the miraculous properties of God,s name.
It is a type of verse found in various faiths that enumerates the phalashruti (benefits that accrue to mankind by chanting a sacred name. Since most of the visitors are regulars, they have memorized the verses. However, for others, there are small books available to help them join in with others.
My first visit to the ashram was last Sunday and a single experience made me bow before the spirit of that place. And before the spirit of our country because I discovered another reality of spiritual unity and mutual respect among our people, a private side of India which is not chronicled by the large angry world of news and politics.
Since I did not know the verses, I was reading out from the book. Suddenly I saw somebody reading something out of an Urdu book in the same rhyme. I asked him what he was reading and he replied that it was the Urdu version of the verses. It catered to those who did not know Hindi, and, incidentally, the man was a Muslim (in Hindu ashram). I thought I may or may not be granted the knowledge or sight of God during my lifetime but on Sunday I certainly saw his shadow.
dr. navraj singh sandhu