Speech for the World Religion Day 16th January, 2005.
Ladies and Gentleman:
First I will recite a basic Zoroastrian prayer called “Asham Vahu” and then give its English translation. After which I will relate the message from the prayer and apply it to today’s theme
“Many Faiths sharing one Earth”.
Prayer: Asham Vaho, Vahistam Asti, Usta Asti, Usta Ahmai, Yadashi Vahistai Asham. (3 x).
Translation : To think a good thought, to speak a good word, and to do a good deed is the best.
Everlasting happiness to her/him who is righteous.
Zarathustra preached the monotheistic religion of the One Supreme God, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord). One of the foremost Zoroastrian tenet is “Asha or Righteousness”. A Zoroastrian should live his daily life by industrious work, honesty and integrity, truth, respect for all people, and the environment. From environmental aspects Zoroastrians practice veneration of the elements in nature, fire, water, and the Earth.
During the Achamedian* Persian Empire, there was lasting peace for over four centuries in the Middle East, Africa and India etc., as the Achamedian Empire was based on the Zoroastrian tenets of ASHA. People from 23 different Nations and various religions were united together and worked together for the benefit of all. Persia was the first multi-cultural world empire where many different religions and races lived as equal subjects under the Persian Aryan King, so much so that even the Jews freed from Babylon by Cyrus, chose to live in Iran, they found it the most tolerant place on this earth. The rule of Law applied equally to all, the Greeks spoke in awe of the "Law of the Persians and Medes" which never wavered. The Zoroastrian culture laid the foundation of today's modern world.
The main problem as I see it in today’s World is lack of ethics and righteous ways of life. In the name of progress and materialistic ways of life, we humans, have become selfish, greedy, dishonest, cruel and corrupt. Human and environmental exploitation has taken over our society in most parts of the world. This is the main reason for human suffering, killing , bombings, wars, terrorist activity and poverty.
Capital Region Interfaith Council (CRIC) has an important role to play by educating and bringing religious awareness to our society here in Ottawa and throughout Canada. People from different faiths working together with righteousness and respect for each other can achieve much more and bring about lasting happiness within our diverse community. Amin.