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Surbhi Pandya Addresses the Conscience Plenary

Surbhi Pandya addressed the Conscience Plenary at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

Distance and logic, the internet, and globalization underscore our global connection revealing how a local event can shake the entire world. Neuroscience dwells into the core of our empathy. Mirror neurons paint a canvas of shared emotions igniting sparks of understanding when we witness others’ experiences.

Jain philosophy encapsulates the essence of this interconnected symphony. Parasparopagraho Jivanam sings of dependent origination where everything springs from the harmony of causes and conditions. This worldview paints us as harmonious threads part of a cosmic fabric that transcends time and space. We are not isolated wanderers. We are notes in a grand symphony entwined in the grandeur of existence. 

Jain philosophy also invites us to embrace the responsibility to respond in every fleeting moment and invitation to be aware and be very attentive. This awareness is the beacon of consciousness within us. While alertness is the centennial of conscience in each of our hearts.

As our consciousness unfolds, our conscience begins to converse. It starts to talk. Consciousness is present in every living being, though veiled by transient physical forms, this equal consciousness shines in each one of us. The qualities of supreme consciousness pulse within each being, illuminating the journey of life. This is the concept of atma swatantra, which whispers of freedom, the freedom to embrace our highest potential, shedding the shackles of prejudice and ignorance. The qualities of a supreme consciousness is present in everyone.

Looking into each other’s eyes with this perspective calls for a heartfelt social connectivity and respect. The different looks our bodies that we have are only the clothes of personal choices. There is no intelligence in being prejudiced about it. The sole responsibility of a consciousness is to recognize the presence of consciousness in everyone and allow symphony of social connectivity and respect to unfold.

So, from the grandeur of cosmic entanglement to the felling of a single tree’s demise, the web of interconnectedness is ever present, awaiting our recognition. Each thought, each word, each action, each a drop, a ripple, a wave, in the vast sea of existence. And as we recognize this symphony of connectivity, we embrace our role as harmonious participants in the grand dance of life.

All of us are together in this. If we are to examine any of the big issues that we are facing today, be it global warming, poverty, terrorism, apartheid, or the crisis in Palestine, All of it boils down to how individuals behave in an unconscious and unaware manner. It is upon all of mankind to take individual leadership to be aware of our conscience, and thus function from an elevated level of consciousness.

Thank you so much for hearing me out.

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