The organizer of Tolerance Day told the attentive children (ages 6 to 11), that they’d be learning about tolerance from religious practitioners. This is not something every primary school in Belgium is eager to teach, but this Catholic school in Brussels did just that, for the first time, on Tuesday, November 16th. A fitness class was turned into a spiritual seminar that afternoon.
Although the talks were all in French, the program started in song and ended in song. Each group represented a different religious philosophy, but all were united by spiritual songs
Our group, representing Hinduism, was the first up. Mahaprabhu Dasa, ISKCON’s European Communications Director, and the Interfaith coordinator of Bhaktivedanta College, organized this event. He read a sloka from the Bhagavad-gita and spoke about Krishna consciousness. Then our four-member band sang bhajans. Later, we danced to the Hare Krishna mantra for the smiling kids.
Other religions were represented there by a Catholic priest (dressed in plain clothes), a duo who sang Christian songs from Africa, and a Muslim professor and a Muslim woman.
The children were patient, mannered, and receptive to the speakers’ discussions. At the end of our kirtan we received roaring applause. Then we distributed cookies as the children walked in lines out the door.
Written by Kumari Sherreitt