Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A fruitful conversation, aimed to strengthen the relationship between the Christian and Jain communities, with a mutual commitment to work for peace and religious harmony in India. This is how Msgr. Felix Anthony Machado, Archbishop of Vasai, describes his meeting with Swasti Shri Bhattaraka Charukeerti Swamiji, leader of the institutions of Jain Digambaras tradition in Moodabidri, a town 35 km north of Mangalore (Karnataka).
At the invitation of the bhattaraka ("Supreme
Leader") on 17 July, the prelate visited the religious center as chairman of
the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Federation of Asian
Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
Archbishop Machado tells AsiaNews: "Swasti Shri Bhattaraka Charukeerti Swamiji welcomed me warmly and graciously to the 14th Century, Jain Math. This was my first visit to this historical Jain Maht. I was moved by his simplicity, Swamji is very keen on Inter Religious Dialogue, World Peace and Harmony in India and in the world ."
The two religious leaders also discussed the possibility of organizing a gathering of all religions in Moodbidri, in preparation for the World Meeting of Religions to be held in Chicago in 2015.
Also known as Jain Kashi, the religious center of Moodabidri is considered sacred by the Jains, but is also popular with members of other faiths for its historical and architectural importance. Over the years, the city has become a place of pilgrimage for the Jain community not only for its many temples (Basadi), but also because it preserves the most ancient and sacred scriptures of this religion, the Dhawalas.