Hindus have lauded the groundbreaking three-day dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, which concluded at Vatican City on Thursday, and called it a “step in the right direction”.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was wonderful to watch the world’s two major religions coming together and opening a new chapter of understanding, trust, cooperation, mutual respect, and love, and highlighting the common ground.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that the concluding joint declaration of both the groups contained some commendable ideas like honoring human life, respecting human dignity, ensuring equality among men and women, right to practice religion, respect for religious minorities, recognition of pluralism, becoming instruments of love and harmony, renouncing violence, work for an ethical financial system, informing youth about other religions, etc.
Zed further said that Pope Benedict should invite world Hindu leaders for a similar dialogue sometime next year, as Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers.
Rajan Zed pointed out that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour. Religion was the most powerful, complex and far-reaching force in our society, so we must take it seriously. And we all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience, Zed stressed.
After intensive deliberations, this proposed meeting of Catholic-Hindu leaders should come up with a concrete plan about the common religious concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social & economic development, etc. Maybe this gathering could become an annual feature after that, he added.
Rajan Zed further 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.
His Holiness Pope Benedictus XVI heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.