26 Feb : Lent 2011 message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI posted on Vatican website has some similarities with the teachings of ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita, according to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.
Pope says in the Lent message, which starts on March nine this year: “In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God’s primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life.”
Bhagavad-Gita points out: there are three gates to self-destructive hell—greed, anger, and desire. Abandon these three. A person freed from these three gates of darkness, seeks what is best and attains life’s highest goal.
The essence of Bhagavad-Gita was also renunciation and it promised “freedom through renunciation”, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued in a statement in Nevada (USA) today.
Pope further says in Lent message: How can we understand God’s paternal goodness, if our heart is full of egoism and our own projects, deceiving us that our future is guaranteed?
Bhagavad-Gita states:…by dedication to selfless work one accomplishes the supreme goal of life…let the Atman (Self, the innermost soul) rule the ego.
Rajan Zed indicated that as per ancient Hindu thought, selfless work sanctified consciousness. As ego-entanglement contaminated most human action, it could not sanctify consciousness. On the other hand, selfless work simply had no streak of ego-entanglement.
In the Good Friday Meditations and Prayers led by Pope at Roman Colosseum in 2009, verse from ancient Hindu scripture Brahadaranyakopanishad was included.
Commending Pope for inclusion of themes from ancient Hindu texts, Zed said that it was a remarkable gesture from Pope and invited him to study more ancient Hindu scriptures, which were very rich in philosophical thought. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly provide the help and resources in this regard, if asked, Zed added.
Rajan Zed stressed that all religions should work together for a just and peaceful world. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment.
Roman Catholic Church, headed by Pope, 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. Lent is a traditional season in the Christian year consisting of forty days preceding Easter of fasting, penitence and spiritual discipline.