BERKELEY -- East Bay Sikhs invite their neighbors of all religious denominations to join them in a spiritual march for world peace through the streets of Berkeley on Sunday.

The event, sponsored by the El Sobrante-based Sikh Center of San Francisco Bay Area, commemorates the martyrdom 407 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.

Guru Arjan Dev also is credited with building the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Sikhism's holiest place of worship.

The spiritual peace march, which includes singing of sacred hymns, has been a Berkeley tradition since 2008. It began in El Sobrante in 2006 and moved to Berkeley two years later. Sunday's event will start at Civic Center Park at 10:30 a.m. There will be free food and refreshments.

Guru Arjan Dev was born in 1563 and died in 1606 near today's India-Pakistan border after torture with fire and boiling water at the hands of the Mughal regime, according to Sikh historians. He accepted it as God's will, saying over and over, "Your will is sweet; I ask for the gift of thy Name," according to a news release from the Sikh Center, which also featured a poem by the Guru:

"The sense of estrangement is vanished

"Since I have been blessed with the company of saints.

"Foe and Stranger there is none.

"I am at peace with everyone.

"I accept the Beloved's Will with pleasure.

"This wisdom I received from the saints.

"The One Beloved resides in every one."


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Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner