Divine hymns and prayers will introduce an interfaith spiritual march for world peace in Berkeley on Sunday.
The event, sponsored by the El Sobrante-based Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area, commemorates the martyrdom 406 years ago of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji, the compiler of the foundation of the Sikh holy book who is revered by Sikhs as the embodiment of peace.
The prayers and song will start at 10 a.m. at Civic Center Park, following a pre-event breakfast around 9:30 a.m. The peace march will start at 11 a.m. and proceed east on Center Street, north on Milvia Street, west on University Avenue, south on California Street to Allston Way and back to Civic Center Park along the same route.
Organizers say Sunday's march is a good venue to experience Sikh culture and its philosophy of embracing all religions and their service to humanity. Free vegetarian food and soft drinks will be served along the route.
After the peace march, there will be a demonstration of the Sikh martial art, followed by the singing of hymns. Guru Arjan Dev himself contributed 2,218 hymns to the holy book.
This is the seventh annual Sikh Center-sponsored interfaith march for world peace. It took place for the first time in El Sobrante in 2006; the event moved to Berkeley in 2008.
The original Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area was founded in Berkeley in the 1960s by Sikh students and graduates of UC Berkeley and members of the surrounding Sikh
In 1976, the Sikh group bought the five-acre property in the El Sobrante hills where the Sikh Center is located today.
Guru Arjan Dev was born in 1563 and died a martyr in 1606 near what is today the India-Pakistan border after torture with fire and boiling water at the hands of the Mughal regime, according to Sikh historians. He was the fifth of 10 gurus, or spiritual teachers, of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion. The holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is the 11th guru.
Guru Arjan Dev also is credited with building the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Sikhism's holiest place of worship.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760.