The chants that filled the Hindu temple in Maple Grove on Tuesday night were as ancient as the honored faith. Whenever the Hindu lose a loved one, priests chant what they call the Shantipath—a prayer of peace for the departed.
Yet, on this night, the Shantipath was in honor of the Sikh faith and the six worshipers who were gunned down in their Oak Creek, Wis., temple on Saturday.
For Dr. Shashi Sane of the Hindu Society of Minnesota, the vigil was more than an act of kindness; it was an act of religious brotherhood.
"We have, personally, suffered the same kind of anxieties and challenges when our temple was vandalized, so we know the pain that we felt during those times of crisis," he said.
Six years ago, the massive Hindu temple in Maple Grove was vandalized while still under construction. Two young men defaced and destroyed several of the sacred statues inside the temple. When it happened, the Sikh community reached out in support. On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Hindu community returned the favor.
"We felt we needed to get together to do the prayers, to show our strength and support and take an oath of solidarity shoulder to shoulder to make sure that similar things don't happen," Sane said.
During the vigil, members of the Sikh Society of Minnesota were grateful with their prayers for peace.
"I wish and pray that this never happens in any place or religion, any temple, church, synagogue or gurdwaras," said Daljit Singh Sikka, of the Sikh Society.
Members of both communities said they hoped the Wisconsin tragedy would serve as a teaching lesson about all religions.
"To me whether you are Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh doesn't matter," said Kehar Singh talking about singling out certain religions for hatred. "As a human being, no matter which religion you are it doesn't make it OK."
The Sikh Society of Minnesota will hold its own vigil Friday night at its Bloomington Gurdwaras, located at 9000 West Bloomington Freeway. The vigil starts at 7:30 p.m.