Hindus Meet John Paul II at Audience

«He Is the Great Saint,» Says Bombay Professor

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II met with the 40 participants of the symposium on «The Way of Love: Union with God and Universal Fraternity in Hinduism and Christianity,» organized by the Focolare Movement.

The participants, who included Hindu intellectuals, ended their Wednesday meeting in Castel Gandolfo by attending the Holy Father´s general audience in the Vatican.

Professor Kala Acharya, director of the Institute of Culture and Research of Bombay´s Somaiya Sanscriti Peetham University, said in statements to Vatican Radio that the symposium «was special, because it was a spiritual experience, not just an academic event.»

«We were introduced to the Christian tradition, of which, of course, we already knew something,» she said. «However, Chiara Lubich´s personal and spiritual experience has enriched us, because it is very similar to what our saints have experienced.» Lubich is the founder of Focolare.

«What we have begun will now continue and I am sure it will flower,» Acharya added.

Shantilal Somaiya, president of the same institute of the University of Bombay, added: «We have experienced great unity and reciprocal love. Reciprocal dialogue is the order of the day in the third millennium. I am convinced that religions will learn to live together, to understand one another, and to work together in the service of humanity. This is the objective.»

The two Hindus also expressed what John Paul II means to them. Somaiya said: «He is a great spiritual leader.» Added Acharya: «He is the great saint.»

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