One in Spirit: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) took place July 15-17, 2011 at Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville in Buckingham, VA. The weather for one in Spirit was absolutely fabulous. The celebration began Friday evening with a Homa (sacred fire ceremony) offered by Swami Marudhachalam from Perur Temple in Coimbatore, India. On Saturday morning, we had a Light of Truth Universal Service with 10 celebrants seated around a central candle on a circular altar. After recorded ritual music of each faith was played, each celebrant stood and offered a prayer from their faith. In the afternoon we had an Interfaith panel on the theme of “Dispelling Ignorance and Developing Harmony among the Different Faiths,” with the following representatives:
• Judaism: Rabbi David Shneyer
• Christianity: Sr. Joan Kirby
• Islam: Shakyh Ahmed Abdur-Rashed
• Buddhism: Matthew Flickstein
• Hinduism: Swami Karunananda
The panel was followed by break-out sessions on the theme of “One in Spirit through Service” with the following participants:
• Swami Anubhavananda and Professor Graham Schweig
• Roshi Bernie Glassman and Sister Joan Kirby
• Rabbi David Shneyer and Shakyh Ahmed Abdur-Rashed
• Thich Chuc Thanh (Vietnamese Buddhist monk) and Kay Lindahl
• With One Voice: inspiring interfaith film selection and discussion with producer Matthew Flickstein
The evening One in Spirit Gala highlights included: Bharata Natyam Dance with Padmarani Rasiah-Cantu and the V.P. Dhananjayans of Chennai, India, Jewish Renewal Music with Rabbi David Shneyer and several other offerings, concluding with fireworks at LOTUS Lake.
On Sunday morning, we had a festive procession to LOTUS and a World Peace Ceremony in LOTUS All Faiths Hall, which included Native American flute playing, affirmations for World Peace, an offering of exquisite cello music by Tanya Anisimova from Moscow and an inspiring Interfaith message from Swami Sarvaananda, the first Hindu chaplain in the USA. The afternoon choices of activities included: Dances of Universal Peace led by Latifa Kropf, African Dance and Stories with Veera Oye’ Yaa-Anna from Liberia, LOTUS Blossom Classical Cello Concert with Tanya Anisimova and One in Spirit Concert with Rev. Siva Fiske from Venice, CA.
It was a very successful event with approximately 400 spiritual seekers attending. We welcome all to visit this beautiful interfaith shrine and Yoga community, about a three-hour drive south of Washington DC.