Aishwarya Rai Bachchan invokes Sanskrit `shloka` at UN address
United Nations: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan recited the Sanskrit mantra `Om Shanti` to convey her message of peace at the United Nations, where she addressed students and urged them to set aside their egos and individual desires to find peace within themselves.
Bachchan, 38, visited the UN headquarters here yesterday, participating in the world body`s annual ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
It was a packed day for Bachchan who met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Messengers of Peace actor Michael Douglas, British anthropologist Jane Goodall, Jewish-American writer and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and American actress and singer Monique Coleman.
She later participated in a panel discussion attended by students from across the country on the theme of `Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.`
Bachchan also has meetings lined up next week with Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe.
Addressing the large gathering of students, Bachchan said she herself felt like a "student" as she begins her association with the UN which could see her working with the world body on pressing issues of health and AIDS.
"This experience, my journey beginning today with the United Nations is quite a learning curve for me," she said in her remarks to the students and members of civil society.
"I am a great believer in the UN because uniting for a better world is what we all are very passionate about here. Unity takes courage, commitment and leadership," she said.
Sharing a lesson she learnt from her father, Bachchan urged students to let go of their egos and and recognise "that it is about we and us and not I."
"We need to cut out our wants, desires, basic ambition to try and override each other and expand power. Only then we will be able to find our peace," she said.
She concluded her address with the Sanskrit shloka `Om Shanti` noting that peace is not just a word but a "divine manifestation which we have to give birth to within ourselves."
Referring to the menace of war and weapons, Bachchan said it is hard for her to imagine that young people think of making a weapon which could destroy nations and generations.
"In mankind`s bid to work on our defenses with each other, we are encouraging misguided genius. This is something we really need to be thinking about," she said.
Earlier Bachchan joined Ban, Douglas and other UN dignitaries to commemorate the International Peace Day, describing the occasion as an "absolute honour."
The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The ceremony was held at the Rose Garden early morning yesterday.
"It is an absolute honour to be here. I am glad I have been able to participate because it truly is an honour and I am looking forward to the whole experience," Bachchan told PTI after the brief ceremony.
Bachchan said she was glad to be able to contribute in sending out a powerful message of peace.