2007 Woman of Peace Hanne Strong (center) receives her award from Guru Prakash Kaur Khalsa (Left)

On Saturday, June 16th, 2007, the 3HO Foundation in conjunction with Peace Cereals celebrated the 22nd annual International Peace Prayer Day at the Ram Das Puri campsite in the Jemez Mountains near Espanola, New Mexico.

Over 1000 people gathered at the mountain campsite to pray, sing and share stories about peace.

International Peace Prayer Day in New Mexico was started by Yogi Bhajan, Founder of 3HO, Master of Kundalini Yoga, and Chief Spiritual and Administrative Authority for Sikh Dharma International.

Yogi Bhajan founded this event to bring people of different faith backgrounds and traditions together to pray for peace. He believed that prayer was the greatest power, and through the collective prayer of people together, peace would come to the earth.

Yogi Bhajan made his home and headquarters in Espanola, NM. He left his body on October 6, 2004.

This year, International Peace Prayer Day continued in the tradition he established.

During the day’s event, Hanne Marstrand Strong, President of the Manitou Foundation in Crestone, Colorado, received the Peace Cereal 2007 Woman of Peace Award.

The award was given in recognition of her commitment to developing spiritual and sustainable communities and honored her for her dedication to global peace and the preservation of ethical, cultural and spiritual traditions.

As the President of the Manitou Foundation, established in 1988 and the Manitou Institute formed in 1994, Hanne Strong has facilitated the creation of the largest intentional, interfaith retreat center and teaching community in North America. Through the Manitou Foundation land grant program, over 2000 acres of land in the Baca/Crestone Colorado area have been gifted to different spiritual, educational and environmental groups. Due to this land grant program, the Baca/Crestone community now houses many of the world’s spiritual traditions and is called “A Place of the Heart” – which accommodates approximately 20 thousand retreatants per year seeking to develop inner peace.

“It looks pretty serious out there,” Strong said during her acceptance speech for the Woman of Peace award. “There are a lot of obstacles towards peace…It’s important for people to have a place for spiritual retreat. If we are going to have peace in the world, we are going to need to change the consciousness of millions and millions of people…We all have to be together now to restore this beautiful planet. We need to restore peace to Mother Earth.”

Past recipients of the Peace Award include Patch Adams with the Gesundheit! Institute, Louise Diamond with The Peace Company, and Kenny Ansubel with the Bioneers.

International Peace Prayer Day began at 2 pm with music led by spiritual chant artist Dev Suroop Kaur Khalsa. The music was followed by Bhangra dance with the award-winning Izzat Da Punjab Bhangra Troupe led by Ravi Kaur Khalsa. Bhangra is a traditional folk-style dance from northern India. The MC for the program was Krishna Kaur Khalsa, founder and director of Y.O.G.A, for Youth (www.yogaforyouth.org/).

The music and dance was followed by the showing of a video lecture and meditation with Yogi Bhajan in 2001. After the video, a brief talk was given by Kundalini Yoga teacher Guru Partap Singh about his peace work in Kenya and the warmth and kindness of the Kenyan people.

“People in the village, people in the school embraced me in a way no one ever had in my life before,” he said. “That communal heart embraced me – and that is what I think peace is all about.”

Towards sunset, Tesuque Pueblo Governor Gil Vigil blessed and led the Sacred Healing Walk ceremony that is also a traditional part of International Peace Prayer Day. During the Sacred Healing Walk, hundreds of people walk barefoot on the earth praying for healing and praying for peace. The Healing Walk was shared with and taught to Yogi Bhajan by Hopi elders in the late 70’s.

International Peace Prayer Day is the kick-off event for the week-long Summer Solstice Celebration hosted by the 3HO Foundation. The 3HO Foundation was founded by the late Yogi Bhajan as a way to preserve and share the ancient tradition of Kundalini Yoga. This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration will bring together close to 1700 people to meditate and do yoga together for a week-long spiritual intensive. For more information on the 3HO Foundation and on Summer Solstice, visit www.3ho.org.

~ This article was shared by Sikhnet on June 20, 2007.