At the Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove this week, priests chanted the Shantipath, a Hindu mantra for peace, as dozens of people gathered and joined in with prayers for those of the Sikh faith.
Less than a week after the fatal shootings of six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., the Hindu community of Minnesota wanted to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the Sikh faith.
"Their pain is not the Sikh community's pain, it's the pain of all Americans," said Dr. Shashikand Sane of the Hindu Society of Minnesota. "We must recognize we human beings are all interconnected. We are all brothers and sisters."
It was a moving gesture for members of the Sikh Society of Minnesota, who were also attended the Maple Grove prayer vigil.
"The outpouring of support and sympathy really touched us," said Kehar Singh of the Sikh Society of Minnesota. "There is more good in this world than bad."
Congregants of the Hindu temple in Maple Grove have experienced their own challenges in faith. In 2006, the temple was vandalized and sacred statues were smashed while it was under construction.
"In the time of need and crisis, it is important, absolutely essential, mandatory that we get together and support them," said Sane. "We do the prayers because prayers do the comfort and the strength."
As the prayer vigil came to an end, members of the Hindu and Sikh religions shared one prayer for the community.
"We have to move on, not be afraid," said Singh.
The Sikh Society of Minnesota is holding its own prayer meeting and candlelight vigil for victims of the Wisconsin shootings this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at its Bloomington temple.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
August 8, 2012