On the evening of Wednesday, November 18th, a candlelight vigil was organized by Claremont School of Theology’s Office of Inter-religious Committee to express sorrow and show solidarity for the victims of the Paris attacks and their loved ones. After offering a moment of silence to remember those lost in these senseless attacks, each member of the faith groups present at the vigil spoke; it was a time of togetherness with Muslims, Jews, Christians, and a single Hindu standing alongside one other in unity. While other groups offered their prayers, I spoke about hatred and understanding. A quote from my speech is given below, along with the Vedic Mantra I chanted.

Our world is beset with violence. All media is abuzz with news of violent acts — large, small, international, and local. What is our role at a time like this? Do we respond or retaliate? Yes, we must respond, but retaliation would prove imprudent.

Ahimsa champion Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Violence begets only violence.” So, as a man who believes in peace, I do not contemplate retaliation; it only increases death and suffering. We must respond with positivity, just as we have gathered here today. We must show our sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. We must show our solidarity in condemning this violence. We must offer our prayers for healing and understanding.

Here is a small prayer from the the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

ॐ सर्वेषां स्वोस्तिर्भवतु, सर्वेषां शान्तिर्भवतु/

सर्वेषां पूर्ण भवतु, सर्वेषां मङ्गलं भवतु//

सर्बेभवन्तु सुखिनः सर्बे सन्तु निरामयाः/

सर्बे भद्राणि पष्यन्तु मां कश्चिद् दुक्खः भाग्भबेत//


ॐ शान्ति, शान्ती, शान्तिः
(not part of original verse, my addition for
extra emphasis)

Let all people experience well-being, peace, tranquility and wholeness.
Let all people remain in prosperity and happiness.
Let all people attain good health.
Let all people see the positive side of life, and let them not contemplate
on harming others while they enjoy good fortune.
Om peace, peace, peace.