On Sunday 1/21 I was invited to represent HAF at the Canton, Michigan BAPS temple, where hundreds of devotees gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Ram Janmabhoomi mandir in Ayodhya. After a very colorful performance of a scene from Ramayana, several guests were brought onstage to share thoughts. I began by sharing my experiences with BAPS over the years, visiting their temples in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and Tampa. I’m also attending the mandir near Los Angeles next month. I noted how impressed I’ve been by the devotees and their sense of dedication and seva. Few dharmic sanghas can match them.
Then I brought up the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m sure they all wondered where in the world I was heading! But my point was that since then and until today, there are many Americans who believe that victory could have been accomplished otherwise. But regardless of the varied opinions, no one has ever said that they wish Japan had won. In the same way, there may be robust disagreements about the events of 1992 that led to today’s auspicious activities and celebration. But we must acknowledge that many people died, and we should not forget that unfortunate fact. And in the same way that we can be both sorrowful for the innocent life that was lost in 1945, yet still be glad for Japan’s surrender, we can remember the fallen (regardless of which side) of 1992, yet still celebrate the new, reconstituted Ram Mandir with pride and exuberance.