Hindus hail Vatican for its Deepavali wishes to “Hindu Friends” - Pope Benedict XVI quotes Upanishads, Tagore and Gandhi

Nevada, Oct 29, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hindus have applauded Vatican for its “message for the feast of Deepavali” wishing “joy-filled Deepavali” to “Hindu Friends”, published at “Vatican: the Holy See” website on October 28.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcomed the Vatican’s offer in this message of “culture that promotes respect, trust and cooperation”, “promoting interreligious dialogue and relations”, “increase in cooperation and common action”, “readiness and willingness to enter into productive cooperation”, “strengthen our friendship and cooperation by mutually ensuring and enhancing respect and trust”, and “depend on each other to achieve a common purpose”.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, extolled Vatican’s wish on the occasion, which said: “May God, the Supreme Light illumine your minds, enlighten your hearts and strengthen the human bonds in your homes and communities!”

Rajan Zed also lauded His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for reportedly including verse from ancient Hindu scripture Upanishads in the Good Friday Meditations and Prayers led by him at Roman Colosseum last year. Zed, commenting that it was a remarkable gesture from Pope, invited him to study more ancient Hindu scriptures, which were very rich in philosophical thought.

Last year’s “Way of the Cross at the Colesseum” Meditations and Prayers on Good Friday led by Pope and put together by Vatican Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, reportedly included well-known verse from Brahadaranyakopanishad ("Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality."), line from Tagore’s Gitanjali ("Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service."), and reference to Mahatma Gandhi.

Zed urged Pope to visit a Hindu temple in the near future to promote mutual understanding and respect between the faiths. All religions should work together for a just and peaceful world, Zed added.

Rajan Zed says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. This dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations. As dialogue brings us reciprocal enrichment, we shall be spiritually richer than before the contact.

Deepavali message, titled “Christians and Hindus: Towards enhancing of mutual respect, trust and cooperation”, was signed by President Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, and Secretary Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Zed suggested that it would be even better if such messages were signed by Pope himself.

Pope Benedict leads the Roman Catholic Church (headquartered in Vatican), which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. Largest of Hindu festivals Deepavali (Diwali), the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.