An uplifting event;Diary

15th October 1999 at 01:00
HOW THE Diary wishes it had been there. The first-ever Spiritual Olympics were held last Sunday and sounded like a cracking event.

A host of celebrities - Uri Geller, Lord Longford and the former pianist from the Telstars among them - saw children and adults, representing schools and churches, battle for medals in a series of quizzes about their own faiths. (Sadly, these Olympics did not include yoga-style flying races or levitation high jumps).

Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and Hare Krishnas were all present at the inter-faith event which was organised as an antidote to the world's materialism. "Everything is geared to the body these days," says the organiser, Joy Philippou.

The Diary has been assured there were none of the doping scandals which have dogged other Olympic events. But controversy flared as the day drew to a close. The Hare Krishna representative, Raman Das ("he's not a celebrity but he was allowed on stage to say a few words" says Joy), invoked Krishna as the earthly incarnation of God.

"He started getting heckled by the Muslim contingent," continues Joy.

"Then a Christian lady stood up and said 'what about Jesus Christ?' I had to snatch the microphone from Raman Das's hand but he didn't want to give it to me. He was carrying out a religious argument with someone else who had come up to the stage."

It all smoothed over when Joy began a chant of Hare Krishna. "Everyone was supposed to march out at that point but nobody wanted to leave," she said. "Several people remarked they were on such a high."

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