Atlanta, US: The well-known Emory University in Atlanta (Georgia) has given an affirmative nod to welcome the establishment of a Hindu Center on its campus with the Hindu community coming up with the funding.
The University was founded by Methodists in 1836 and is still formally affiliated with United Methodist Church. Emory Vice President Dr Gary S Hauk wrote in an email on February 23: “We certainly would welcome a similar arrangement in which the Hindu community of Atlanta would fund the purchase and operation of a center dedicated for use by the Emory Hindu population”.
Rajan Zed, the President of Universal Society of Hinduism requested for a permanent and dedicated ‘Hindu prayer room’ in the University. In a statement in Nevada, he urged the need for a designated Hindu Center at Emory where the Hindu students and staff population will worship, perform rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise.
Zed told how the Hindu students reportedly had to perform their weekly aarthi and prayers on Fridays at Canon Chapel Sanctuary, thus, feels the establishment of a Hindu prayer room would help in their personal growth.
For this, Zed urged the Hindu community in Atlanta and Georgia to raise funds along with working with the Emory authorities towards it.
Emphasizing the importance of meeting the spiritual needs of the staff and students, Zed urged Emory authorities to provide a designated “Hindu Prayer Room” in the meantime. There have been sightings of other universities/colleges in the USA who offer a Hindu prayer room.
Emory needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism, Zed added.
Rajan Zed further said that Dr. Hauk hinted at developing a Hindu center on the model of Catholic, Baptist and Chabad centers present on the campus. Further conversation on the issue “would have to be undertaken by local Hindu leaders with our business administrators and the dean of the chapel”.
Apart from Catholic, Baptist and Chabad centers in the premises, Emory boasts of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church and the Marcus Hillel Center which is “dedicated to Jewish life on campus”. Halal meals are served Fridays at Cannon Chapel.
About one billion adherents come under Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, where moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal.
There are about three million Hindus residing in the USA.
With a $1.9 billion annual operating budget, Emory University serves to a population of around 14,724 students. The University is ranked among the top in the most beautiful campuses and happiest colleges. (Inputs from merinews.com)