Hindus have commended Georgetown University (GU), oldest and prestigious Catholic and Jesuit institute of higher learning in USA, for appointing its “first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, welcomed the appointment of a Hindu priest for “ministering to students, faculty and staff of all religious and spiritual traditions”, calling it a step in the positive direction.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged all US higher education institutions; if they were serious to provide a world-class learning experience; to appoint Hindu chaplains and have designated Hindu prayer rooms in view of substantial number of Hindu students and staff, as it was important to meet their spiritual needs.
Universities/colleges needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism; Rajan Zed stressed and urged them to respond to the spiritual needs of their considerable Hindu student bodies, which would help in their personal growth.
Moreover, GU should make efforts to provide specific designated space for worship, congregation and cooking to Hindu students; like some other religions on the campus. It should preferably include a shrine 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.; Zed suggested.
Georgetown University in Washington DC, established in 1789, claims to be one of the world’s leading academic and research institution. Its main campus libraries hold over 2.3 million volumes and its annual cost of attendance for an undergraduate student is around $70,000. Dr. John J. DeGioia is President; William J. Doyle is Board of Directors Chair, while Reverend Howard J. Gray is Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry.