Jain Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni has invited Pope Francis to visit India for the International Interfaith Conference which will be held in New Delhi to which the Pope delightfully agreed. Acharya Muni had personally invited the Pontiff after he had a historic interfaith dialogue with Supreme Religious Leader His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City on March 7.
“The International Interfaith Conference will be a step ahead towards world peace. I hope and wish to come to India soon and inter-religious dialogue is necessary for protection of humanity, World peace and harmony” His Holiness Pope Francis said in his address to the delegation.
In this particular meeting, the international issues which were discussed include world peace, religious harmony, environmental protection and human welfare. Acharya Lokesh said that violence and terrorism cannot solve any problem and that all conflicts should be resolved through dialogue.
“We must respect others point of view and thoughts along with our own. Environmental pollution and conceptual pollution both are harmful. Indian culture is based on unity in diversity and European culture emphasizes inter-religious harmony,” said Acharya Lokesh.
“India is a multicultural country, where people of different communities, religions, faiths and cultures live together with love and harmony. Jain philosophy is based on unity in diversity, non-violence and non possessiveness and can solve many global problems like violence, terrorism, environmental pollution and inequality,” he added.
Acharya Lokesh is hopeful that the Pope’s participation International Interfaith Conference, organized by Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, will help spread the message of world peace and harmony, creating a global impact.
President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top leaders of the major world’s religions will be invited to the International Interfaith Conference. “Your Holiness, I am here to invite you for an international Inter-religious meeting, in which my organization has invited the president and prime minister of India and supreme heads of all religions of India,” said Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni in a written message to Pope Francis delivered in person in the Vatican.
Dr. Lokesh Muni continued, “I am deeply happy to inform you that in the past we have organized many international inter-religious programs that have graced many international faith and social luminaries.”
In his invitation on behalf of Jain religion Lokesh Muni continued, “This invitation is close to my heart, as I know you are champion of peace and harmony and tirelessly working for bonding and love between religions. I am hopeful that you must grace this program according to your suitability of time. We are really optimistic and I am humbled if you can say two words of nonviolence. I am really grateful, if we can meet alone and discuss a few very important issues, which could bring our religions closer.”
Lokesh Muni first garlanded the pope with cardamom during the Wednesday audience when the pope came around to greet the VVIPs. Muni said the pope’s good works spread just as the fragrance of the “elaichi mala” (cardamom garland). Then he showed the brochure of the previous international meet and invited him on behalf of the Government of India and his Jain community to come and inaugurate the next program. Muni also gave the pope a bronze plaque depicting the Jain mantras explaining stages in human life. The Acharya, versatile thinker, writer and poet, handed over a Jain plaque to the pope. Pope in his broken English, said, “I like and hope to come.”