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Hindus welcome Vatican's Deepavali congratulations to 'Hindu Friends'
Hindus have applauded Vatican for its 'message on the occasion of Deepavali', sending its 'warmest greetings and congratulations' to 'Hindu Friends', published at 'Vatican: The Holy See' website on November 8.

HINDU LEADER Rajan Zed, in a statement today, welcomed the Vatican for wishing “Blessed Deepavali”and the suggestion to explore the responsibility to form all people into peace-makers.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, extolled Vatican’s wish on the occasion, which indicated forming “young men and women into people of peace and builders of peace” and urging religious leaders to “continue to inspire the young generation to walk the path of peace and to become messengers of peace”.

Zed also commended 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 in 2009. Zed, commenting that it was a remarkable gesture from the Pope, invited him to study more ancient Hindu scriptures, which were very rich in philosophical thought.

In 2009 “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 the 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.

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, Zed adds.

This Deepavali message was signed by President Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Secretary P. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixotof 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 City), 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. Most popular 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. It fell on November 13 this year.

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