In these dire times, here is my ardent prarthana (prayer) for 2018:
I want peace, security and home for all refugees fleeing violence and persecution, including Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims. I want every child in every country to go to school. Above all, I hope we collectively figure out a way to talk to one other across our differences. Women and men; African Americans and white Americans; Hindus and Muslims; Jews and Muslims; religious and secular folks; young and old people.
I want an end to Trump’s assaults on environmental justice, immigrant rights and women’s health and rights in the United States. I want Trump’s Muslim ban and tax bill to be repealed, a clean Dream Act and gun control legislation to be passed, and the US to re-sign the Paris Climate Accord. In India, there must be no more assaults on minority rights in India in the name of Hinduism, the magnanimous and pluralist religion I embrace. I want a united movement of Indian citizens—secular and religious justice-seeking Indians—to take back the country from religious extremists. End mob violence towards Dalits and Muslims; no more beef bans; let Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign prioritize cleanup of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal and justice for all affected people; decriminalize same-sex relationships and marriages; restore freedom of thought and expression.
I nominate USA’s Bryan Stevenson and India’s Kanhaiya Kumar for the Nobel Peace Prize. And I hope for the social justice organizations to which I devote my time—Women for Afghan Women and Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus—to receive generous support from individuals and institutions seeking a better world for the generations to come.
I hope that New Yorkers find community at Sadhana’s new monthly satsangs (worship gatherings) at the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn where one of the deities in our mandir (shrine) will be Ardhanareeswara because the divine is genderless, and where those who lead our prayers, pujas, meditations and discourses can be any race, gender, sexual orientation or caste, and every aspect of our puja will be green.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti, Peace Peace Peace
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