Something Else: Festival of Spiritual Unity

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The Independent Culture
You'd be forgiven if you hadn't noticed - most of Brent Council hadn't, nor Lambeth Palace or any of the national papers - but for the last six days around 10,000 people have been gathering daily at Roundwood Park in Willesden to take part in the Festival of Spiritual Unity.

Religious and spiritual leaders from around the globe have come together to concentrate on the common fundamental principles of world faiths in the hope of promoting peace and harmony and increasing awareness of Hindu cultural traditions.

The idea occurred to its organiser, the wealthy industrialist Manubhai Madhvani, as he awaited his fate in prison under the regime of Idi Amin in Uganda in the 1970s. As Asian prisoners sat reading, each from their own religious texts, he realised the simplicity of the power of unity and the spirit. He has been organising such events for the past 10 years.

Speakers this year include Rev Marcus Braybrook (Chairman of the World Congress of Faiths), Sir Sigmund Sternbert (Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews) and the great Hindu orator Morari Bapu explaining the theme of Samabhav, a word drawn from Sanskrit meaning 'feeling of oneness'.

The festival ends on Sunday, by which time over 100,000 people will have visited the site. Each will have received inspiration, hope and a free meal. Dolly Dhingra

Festival of Spiritual Unity 1994, 10am-3pm Roundwood Park, Willesden, London NW10, entrance free. For further information call 081-453 1516 / 1564. All merchandising proceeds to go to the Rwanda Appeal