India is one of the most crowded countries by population on earth; yet, there seems to be room for every religion.
It’s not just that there are gurudwaras, mosques, cathedrals and temples side by side on many streets, offering a place to reflect and pray to all.
It’s not just that every religious building we entered welcomed us with smiles and kindness.
I first began to understand when I asked one of the secular school leaders (which is what they call public schools in India) about religion in schools. While we in The United States have an absence of any religion in public school (separation of church and state), the Public and Private schools in India include all religions.
At morning assemblies, I heard beautiful Hindu hymns of praise, I heard a choir sing the old Christian song “Abide with Me,” I heard students reading from the Sikh Guru Granth Sahib.
Our wonderful driver Ramesh drove by Saint Ignatius Parish in New Delhi and told us that it was not only lovely outside, but it was much more beautiful inside. When my husband asked how he had come to be inside the church, since he was a Hindu, Ramesh answered that he had a friend who attended there and that Ramesh had found it such a peaceful place, that he sometimes stops there to pray because your prayers are heard wherever you are.
We found everyone at each holy place so accepting and kind that we could feel the spirituality of India almost everywhere we went.
No one tried to convert us. No one tried to make us feel ashamed of our own personal faith. No one turned us away.
How much does that say about people who welcome everyone with open arms?
This block near Old Delhi is shared by a gurudwara, a mosque, a cathedral and a temple.