Religion: Mahayajna

On the sandy banks of the sacred Jumna River at New Delhi last week, 2,000 half-naked Brahman priests prayed in unison to Śurya, God of the Sun, imploring him to end the world's chaos and send peace and happiness to mankind.

Not for 300 years have India's Brahman priests gathered to perform this mahayajna (great sacrifice) for the purification of the world. Last time: after the 17th-Century Mohammedan Emperor Aurangzeb slaughtered thousands of Hindus. Then the priests gathered at Benares, recited 10,000,000 prayers to the Sun God.

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