Message to Hindus: religious leaders should promote collaboration with people of other faiths
In in its message for the Hindu festival of Diwali, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue calls for “Bringing light together in people’s lives through interreligious solidarity [which] also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue today released the Vatican’s traditional message for Hindus on the occasion of Diwali (Deepavali), the Hindu Festival of Lights (oil lamps).
This year the festival will be celebrated on 4 November. It is based on an ancient mythology and marks the beginning of a new year, representing the victory of truth over lies, light over darkness, life over death, and good over evil.
Signed by Miguel Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot and Rev Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, respectively president and secretary of the Council, the message reads: “It is incumbent upon religious and community leaders, therefore, to nurture the spirit of fraternity among their followers with a view to helping them walk and work together with the people of other religious traditions, most especially during crisis and calamity of every kind.”
Focusing on the theme “Christians and Hindus: Together bringing light into people’s lives in times of despair”, the Council notes that because of the deaths and tragedies caused by the pandemic people are scared while “distress and despair” grow.
“It is in this context, we wish to share with you some thoughts – in keeping with our cherished tradition – on how we, both Christians and Hindus can bring the light of hope in people’s lives in such challenging times.
“As amidst the dark clouds of the current pandemic which have caused immeasurable suffering and trauma to the people there have been silver linings of solidarity and fraternity, it is within our ability to demonstrate that we can be ‘together’ and overcome every crisis with resolve and love, even the seemingly insurmountable.
“The power of solidarity unleashed in alleviating the suffering and assisting the needy, more so with an interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope by putting in evidence the response which adherents of all religious traditions are called upon to make in times of despair and darkness. Bringing light together in people’s lives through interreligious solidarity also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society.”
“Even the pressing global issues that threaten to disrupt the harmony between nature and people and the harmonious co-existence of people such as climate change, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, hyper nationalism, xenophobia can be effectively addressed since these are concerns that affect us all.
“In times of crisis, while religious traditions- as repositories of centuries of wisdom - have the power of lifting our sagging spirits, they also have the capacity to help individuals and communities to reset their life's compass with hope, with their gaze fixed beyond their present despair. Above all else, they instruct and invite their adherents to reach out, using every means in their power, to those who feel a sense of hopelessness so as to give them hope.”