Hindus are urging for a permanent and dedicated prayer room at La Trobe University (LTU) in Victoria, claimed to be Australia’s top ten research university.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that LTU should respond to the requirements of its Hindu students to provide designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.
LTU has a Chapel which “provides space for reflection, prayer and retreat or bible study”; and Mass and Campus Church Services are regularly held. There is even help available for “Christian marriage preparation and weddings”. All LTU “campuses provide Muslim prayer facilities”, while its Melbourne campus “has separate prayer rooms and ablution facilities for men and women. Congregational prayers are conducted Friday lunchtimes in the brothers’ and sisters’ prayer rooms. Regular prayer meetings are conducted in the Bendigo campus prayer room.” It has published a “Muslim Student Guide”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that “Hindu prayer room” would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in LTU, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students.
Rajan Zed noted that LTU needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.
Zed suggested that the Hindu prayer room preferably should have an altar containing murtis (statues) of popular Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Durga, Venkateshwara, Ganesha, Murugan, Saraswati, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Kali, etc.; besides being equipped with ghanta (big metallic bell hanging from the ceiling), dholak (two-headed hand-drum), Shiva-linga, etc.
LTU, launched in 1967 and headquartered in Melbourne, has campuses also in Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Melbourne City, Mildura, Shepparton and Sydney. It has over 36,000 students from over 90 countries. John Dewar is the Vice-Chancellor and President.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.