El Sobrante Sikhs Hold Peace March, Open to All Religions

July 21, 2006

Source: Contra Costa Times


On July 21, 2006 the Contra Costa Times reported, "Sikhs in the East Bay and around the world are commemorating the martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji, who was tortured to death by India's Mogul rulers 400 years ago for advocating a forbidden religion. The message of unity and tolerance of the sage, revered by Sikhs as the Embodiment of Peace, is particularly poignant today, with so many armed conflicts rooted in religious differences, said J.P. Singh, president of Gurdwara Sahib, the Sikh temple of El Sobrante. The temple's governing entity, formally known as the Sikh Center of the San Francisco Bay Area, is sponsoring a Sunday spiritual march for peace to commemorate Guru Arjan Dev's gifts to mankind and his martyrdom. It parallels the poisoning of Socrates and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as 'a messenger of love of God ... executed because of his growing popularity,' according to a treatise distributed by the World Sikh Council. 'He was well beyond the 21st century,' Singh said. 'What he contributed in terms of being secular, no one has come close. His contributions are just outstanding.' The fifth among a succession of 10 gurus who led the religion after it officially began in the 15th century, Guru Arjan Dev left arguably the greatest legacy, Singh said. He compiled the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, which consists in large part of his writings. He also contributed more than 2,000 hymns to the holy book, as well as hymns of Muslim and Hindu saints and people in lower castes. Sikh writings of previous centuries contain references to the martyrdom of Christ on the cross. The El Sobrante temple is asking faithful of all religions and all people devoted to peace to join in Sunday's march, called a Nagar Kirtan, which also is dedicated to interfaith understanding and harmony, universal brotherhood, love and hope, and recognition of the human race as one."