Source: The Associated Press
BHUJ, INDIA, February 7, 2001: In front of an altar fashioned from shipping crates, Hindu priests prayed for the victims of India's quake Wednesday, chanting Sanskrit verses and name after name into the dusty air, remembering those killed by the worst earthquake to hit India in 50 years. The prayer organizers, followers of the Gujarati saint, Lord Swaminarayan, used newspaper ads to encourage residents to phone in the names of the dead so that they could be read at the daylong service. Since many are not sure when their relatives died -- or have even managed to recover a body for cremation -- the priests decided to hold the service Wednesday for all the dead, said Sadhu Brahmaviharidas. The prayers will end the traditional mourning period observed by the survivors and help people move on with recovery efforts, Brahmaviharidas said. "After the 12th day, the soul goes on to the next life," he explained.