On May 7, 2020, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha was invited to participate in the National Day of Prayer in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington D.C. The National Day of Prayer is an annual event formally enacted in 1952 celebrating faith and prayer in the nation’s life. Today’s commemoration was all-the-more solemn due to the COVID-19 crisis affecting the nation. The event allowed the country to join together to offer prayers for those affected, our brave frontline workers and healthcare workers and for the recovery of our country.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence offered their prayers followed by prayers from religious leaders representing four of the major faith traditions – Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam.

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) was invited by the White House to participate. Harish Brahmbhatt, a pujari of BAPS was recognized at the prayer meeting and he shared a Hindu prayer of peace from the Vedas. Speaking at the prayer meeting, he said, “In these troubled times of COVID-19, social distancing and the lockdown, it’s not unusual for people to feel anxious or not at peace. The Shanti Path or the peace prayer, is a prayer that does not seek worldly riches, success, fame, nor is it a prayer for any desire for heaven. It is a beautiful Hindu prayer for peace, shanti. It is a Vedic prayer derived from the Yajur Veda.”

This prayer was specially chosen due to the overarching theme that in all circumstances we should always pray for peace above all things.

In conjunction with prayers during these trying times, BAPS, and its non-denominational, humanitarian arm, BAPS Charities, have responded to the coronavirus pandemic with a spirit of selfless service.

To date, in addition to other global efforts, BAPS Charities in the US has supported hospitals and frontline workers by providing over 96,000 PPE and over 35,000 food and care packages. BAPS Charities has also provided financial support for equipment to hospitals around the country. For more details, visit https://www.bapscharities.org/covid-19/

BAPS continues to provide spiritual support through counseling, online religious services and ceremonies, and most importantly, regular prayer for those affected, including our healthcare workers, scientists and researchers, leaders, and all of humanity as we rise to face this challenge.