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Love and Light

Region 4 - Peace Walk in Coventry

Swami says ‘Love All Serve All’? He says ‘There’s only ONE religion, the religion of LOVE’?

On Saturday 2nd November 2013, I experienced Oneness, Unity and only ONE mankind. Never again did the words ...Hindus...Muslims...Sikhs...Jews... mean anything.

Although it was a crisp bitter morning, we had gathered outside in the gardens of the Priory Visitor Centre, in the heart of Coventry; each allotted person recited prayers from different faiths in English. The meanings were all very similar… a Christian prayer, a Hindu prayer, a Muslim prayer, a Zoroastrian Prayer, a Sikh prayer, a Baha’i prayer, a Buddhist prayer and finally a prayer that encapsulated every faith and yet the words did not differ.

Today was the first time that I was going to embark on a different kind of journey; a journey to recognise the same divinity in all of us, that no matter where one worships, he/she is still an integral part of ME. What will I feel? What will I experience?

Our first stop was at the ruins of the Coventry Cathedral and the Dean of Coventry, led us through a prayer with a short discourse. We then walked through Broadgate as this is the ‘hub’ of the city centre where people from all walks of life gather and sit on the benches watching the world go by. I wondered what were their thoughts when they saw us carry our banner of ‘Peace’ with all the followers from different faiths walking together? Could they see and feel our attempt at unity? Did the people of Coventry believe in its motto?

Coventry’s motto is “City of Peace & Reconciliation” and this forms part of the focus for the way forward - to reconcile with the faith communities and move forward as one unit. The more I looked into the motto, I realised that some great ‘happening’ in history had brought this about.

On the night of 14th November 1940 during WWII, Coventry was bombed. German planes dropped over 4000 firebombs killing hundreds of people and destroying many parts of Coventry including the medieval Cathedral (current ruins).

The legacy of the ‘The City of Peace & Reconciliation’ began that year. It was the provost of the ‘then’ cathedral who said to the people of Coventry to seek ‘forgiveness’ as opposed to ‘revenge’ and not only to forgive the people of Germany but the whole of humanity. This was opposed by many as it was issued in the midst of war! However, after the war, this provost initiated the reconciliation process, first with Germany (Dresden). Coventry was the very first city in the world to be twinned with another. Today, the reconciliation process continues with the successful provost of the Cathedral, initiating many projects and exchanges with other countries.

I suddenly felt proud to be a ‘Coventrian’. The meaning ‘sent to Coventry’ had a completely different ring to it. It was no longer connected with soldiers, instead, to be sent to Coventry for me meant to learn about making Peace with not only yourself, but with the people around you and to grow spiritually together.

Our visit to the Cathedral, the Spiritualist Church, the Mosque, the Gurudhwara and the Hindu temple re-iterated Swami’s message of “There’s only ONE religion, the religion of LOVE” without a shred of doubt. In conclusion, I saw the physical buildings we visited. Each with a different name on the front, each having their own colours and uniform and language; but each time I felt as if I was entering the same place of worship via a different door. I felt the same essence of spirituality, the energy. There was no difference. 73 years on….Coventry’s pursuit of Peace still continues…now that’s perseverance!

Vina Mistry – Coventry