Prayer Service for Peace at Kennedy-King Memorial
Indianapolis, Indiana, April 04, 2009
Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING & SENATOR ROBERT KENNEDY
A Prayerful Reflection by Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
The Sikh Faith tradition and sacred Scripture (Sri Guru
Granth Sahib) reminds us:
“There is One God, and God is One; His Name is Eternal Truth.”
God is Self-Created, and Self-Illuminated; God is All-Knowing, yet
Unknowable Immaculate Reality that has existed before the beginning
of Time, Life, and the unfathomable Universe.
In our daily prayers, we recite:
“Lord: You are the Father and Mother of all Creation and
we are all Your Children.”
“As the Master Potter, You have fashioned every living being
from the same clay.”
“You have infused the same Divine Light in every living being;
Your Light illumines the unfathomable Universe. Therefore, how can
some be holier, and others are not worthy?”
The Sikh faith commands to embrace and honor this all-important
spiritual lesson: one must not discriminate against God’s
children based on a person’s caste, religion, skin color,
gender, status, ethnicity, or national origin. Unity, Universality,
and Oneness in Spirit thread all humanity to its One Origin and
affirm its common temporal destiny in unmistakable ways.
In our daily conduct, we must remember:
“O mortal, recognize all humanity as One Race, One Brotherhood.”
“No one is outside the All-Embracing Circle of God’s
unbound Love and Compassion,” and therefore must not be outside
the circle of our prayer and understanding.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy
understood and honored this commandment and sacrificed their lives
in advancing this unifying ideal and inalienable right.
As I read the remarks of Senator Kennedy made in Indianapolis on
the dark night of April 4, 1968, the words courage, equality, justice,
understanding, and peace kept resonating in my mind causing a sense
of reverence and awe for what Kennedy and King stood for and what
their lives truly symbolized.
Senator Kennedy’s soul and humanitarian passion are reflected
in the words of George Bernard Shaw as a frequent reminder of the
“Some people see things as they are and ask why?
I dream of things as they never were and ask why not?”
Dr. King and Senator Kennedy’s eloquent words speak of their
deep anguish at the way things were and their hopes for a promising
morning in America, when the divisions of race, the madness of hatred
and violence, the deep despair and cries of all God’s children
may find urgency in our national conscience and moral accountability
as a people.
King and Kennedy came from different backgrounds and life-experiences.
The paths and prayers of both these American heroes seem to converge
at the sanctity of exemplary moral courage against prevailing winds.
They raised their voices against injustice and for the righteous
cause of those denied the full measure of rewards and opportunities,
simply based on race.
Kennedy and King dreamed big and toiled hard to give shape and
momentum to their dream for America. Both men became victims to
senseless hatred and violence before they could see their hopes
and dreams make great progress within a short span of 40 years.
The lives of these American icons continue to inspire millions in
America and beyond.
About such blessed souls, the Sikh Scriptures proclaim:
“Those who have meditated upon the Name of the Lord and engaged
in righteous labor during their earthly journey, enter the Kingdom
of Heaven with their heads held high and a brilliant Light on their
faces, having inspired and emancipated many along the way.”
Dr. King and Senator Kennedy offer a lasting legacy, a powerful
living testament, for each of us to follow, advance the unfinished
dreams, and keep faith with the just laws of men and the Supreme
Laws of the Master of All Creation. They knew, that without justice,
there can be no peace.
Great ideas and noble intentions in themselves do not move the
world; something needs to be done about those ideas. Each of us
must stake a rightful claim in this emerging commonwealth of diverse
cultures, faiths, and ethnic communities all around us that make-up
the America of today. Senator Kennedy on April 4, 1968 left a defining
marker in this hallowed ground by his presence and reassuring words
in his tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King: a beloved spiritual leader,
tireless advocate for non-violence, and a moving force for good
in our world.
This Interfaith Prayer Service is a testimony that race and cultural
relationships are changing for the better. Each of us have the power
and responsibility to carry the torch of peaceful coexistence and
service to our fellow man from this hallowed place to our myriad
crossroads of daily endeavor and make a difference and personal
contribution to the vision of these leaders and countless other
great Americans. We must walk towards each other in friendship and
respect. Embrace and honor the promise that freedom and justice
do not remain an unanswered struggle for anyone; and that our spirit
are led forward by the immortal prayer of the Indian Nobel Laureate,
enlightened teacher, and great humanitarian, Rabindranath Tagore,
which beautifully echoes the hope of Senator Robert Kennedy and
Rev. Martin Luther King:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
where knowledge is free and the world is not broken-up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls … into that haven of freedom let
my country awake.”
It is now up to us to “overcome” our sad divides, “let
freedoms ring,” and get “to the promised land.”
May their souls rest in peace and their Light and legacy lead our
way going forward.