Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Aarti Shah’s invocation at Statehood Day

CIC Board member Aarti Shah delivered the invocation on December 11 at the 200th anniversary celebration of Indiana Statehood Day.

Speech for the Bicentennial event on 12/11/16

“Igniting the Future”..celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial year!!

Good morning to all who have come here today to celebrate this wonderful event! I am Aarti Shah and serve on the CIC board (Center for Interfaith Cooperation – a unique non-profit organization that embraces and promotes the many different faiths that Hoosiers practice,  by providing a platform to learn from each other through a variety of channels).  So, on behalf of the CIC a warm welcome to all of you and Happy  200th birthday to our beloved state of Indiana!

Over the 22 years that I have been in this city, I have seen so much positive change and I believe that we have become a more diverse and welcoming city. I am thrilled to be part of this event as we come together from all walks of life to truly make each other better and our state better!

I follow the Jain religion and its traditions… a religion that is more than 2500 years old and very ancient. By the GRACE of my GURU (spiritual teacher) I have had the opportunity to serve my mission and to teach young kids and teenagers about Jainism (basically about spirituality). I have learnt so much from the students and also the true meaning of service.  The theme of this event is “ignite the future”, inspire the youth…On this occasion, I do have a message for the youth but first I have a message for us (the older, wiser, more experienced generation).

For our generation – let’s learn from the youth. I say they are “color blind”. They barely even notice faith, color or gender as a barrier but in fact see unity in diversity. They see the world differently and connect with people in ways we sometimes don’t understand. They are flexible and open to change. Let’s take the time to learn and have the curiosity, willingness and openness to learn about each other’s traditions, culture, and religious practices so that we come together to become a better community, a better state and a better human being.  My Guru says, “Just as electricity is one in all electrical gadgets, see the ONE DIVINE enlivening in every form”.

To the youth – to our future leaders … take charge. As Mahatma Gandhi said the change you want to see in the world… you have so much energy, passion and potential to influence and make our cities, our state,  and this world a better place. Be a role model for other states by taking part in civic matters, broadening your horizons and learning about the various diverse cultures and traditions, embracing the differences and becoming a unifying cause.  Just as Innovation happens at the cross-section of various disciplines, the impossible becomes possible when diversity is embraced, accepted and promoted and as a result we become a better society.“Intelligence is not in seeing differences; Intelligence lies in the ability to see unity in diversity”

The emblem of Jainism is Ahimsa “Non-violence”. …and here non-violence has a very deep and broad meaning  – it is not only non-violence in actions….it’s non-violence in our thoughts and words too. I will end with a small prayer which is one on compassion and equanimity.

SavvejivaKhamantu may
Mitti may savvaBhuyesu

Meaning – May I forgive all living beings; may all living beings forgive me, I have no animosity to anyone; may no one have animosity towards me.

Once again Happy 200th birthday to our state and together let’s build and learn from our rich heritage and make the coming years memorable and welcoming for everyone.

Thank You!

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