Swadhyaya was started by Pandurang Shastri Athavale. Contact between the members of Focolare and the Hindu group started when the daughter of the Indian founder took part in the Day of Prayer for Peace, in Assisi, Italy, last Jan. 24.
Athavale, a scholar, philosopher and sociologist, emphasizes devotion for God and attention to man. His movement has spread to 17 states in India, with 19,500 Swadhyaya centers. It also aims to break down walls of separation built by religion, riches, education, caste, race or gender.
Lubich was invited to India by the local Catholic churches. She plans to meet bishops, priests and laity as well as members of other religions.
The Focolare founder also aims to consolidate dialogue initiated two years ago with Hindu institutions in Tamil Nadu, and Somaiya University in Bombay.