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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Gautham Rao
(201)674 2065 (USA)
navyashastra@shastras.org
(www.shastras.org)

Hindu Organization Welcomes New Pope. Questions His Stance on Hinduism

Troy, Michigan--April 19, 2004--Navya Shastra, a global Hindu organization of scholars, practitioners and priests with members in over ten countries, has congratulated the Catholic Church for selecting Joseph Ratzinger--now Benedict XVI--as its new Pope.

However, the organization expressed concern over Ratzinger's stance towards Hinduism. "Ratzinger has described Hindu meditative practices as "auto-erotic" and has stated that the Hindu doctrine of karma is "morally cruel", said Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "clearly he is misinformed about the central practices and tenets which bind the world's 800 million Hindus", he added.

At a time when religions must work together to spiritually regenerate an increasingly secular planet, such doctrinal narrowness and lack of understanding of other traditions will only serve a divisive function. "What is needed now is ecumenism and mutual trust", said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "we hope that the new Pope comes to understand this because religious difference and competition is causing mounting global conflict", she added.