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Emory University in US welcomes the idea of establishing Hindu Center

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Image source: goizueta.emory.edu

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)

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The Exclusivism of Religion Terrorizing The Humanity

Acknowledging, respecting other faiths, and mingling together in their celebrations doubtlessly awaken our dormant godliness. This will certainly help purify our mind and steady our devotion. 

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At least to allow the grand idea of “humanity” to survive? Amidst of technological advances and luxuries we are fast getting away from basic realities of life!

BY: Salil Gewali 

The terror bombings that ripped through three churches and four luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka have left 359 people dead and 500 others injured. World-wide condemnation has been expressed against the perpetrators. This is nothing more than the usual “ritual”. Almost all such deadly explosions are followed by strong denunciation and the offering of condolences and prayers. But will mere hollow condemnations and condolences enough? How many such cold-blooded blasts have happened at scared place of worship like Church, Mosques, Temples, Synagogue in past three years? Could we not rather find out the core causes leading to the incidents? At least to allow the grand idea of “humanity” to survive? Amidst of technological advances and luxuries we are fast getting away from basic realities of life! The frequent terror bombings have made us more worried and apprehensive than ever before. Should this not bring the world leaders — spiritual, political and also thinkers, to one table and find the solution? But that will not happen, and the innocent people will continue to die at the hand of such bloodthirsty people.

What a big irony that the evils of intolerance, dogmatism and hatred explosively originate from the holy altar of religions! Now the world should fear the religious fanatics more than humane atheists. Moreover, if we dig deeper, we shall find the causes of such bloody hostility lies in the misinterpretation of GOD and the holy books we are following. We have foolishly cut the “inconceivable” GOD to our size. We have regarded others as “non-believers” if they worship HIM in a little different way. We undermine them, we belittle their holy scriptures, we sniff at their culture and mock their tradition and rituals. Not just that, we even find our own ways to misinterpret their scriptures and thereby defame their whole culture and ethos. This has often become a sort of “hubby” among a certain class of people. They are no less than terror bombers, I say this with conviction. Their works insidiously contribute to bring the “division and hatred” among people, communities and their faiths. Such people literally hurt the heart and soul of the people, which is far worse than the “hurt” of those killed in the bomb blasts.

Bombing
So, the nonsense bickering, hatred and inhuman cruelty that originates from our “religious exclusivism” has only kept us away from the tenets of humanity.

Indoctrination of exclusivity of one’s practiced religion is doubtlessly one of the prime causes that has driven many to this blind extremism. So much so — they even dedicate that evil acts to the Supreme Almighty and their sacred scriptures!

Why can’t we love our neighbor and fellow others? Is it not the most COMMON and FUNDAMENTAL teaching of the holy scriptures of all religions? Let other notions and handed down beliefs that are “potential” to cause division and disruptive be just set aside. One believes, God will never punish us if we get together and work towards mutual love and brotherhood than being fanatic and hurting others and then hurt oneself. After all we are from one fountain source of His divinity.

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Indoctrination of exclusivity of one’s practiced religion is doubtlessly one of the prime causes that has driven many to this blind extremism.

Of course, the more we go deeper and more we “understand” His “CREATION”, the more we “laugh” at ourselves. We regret our own stupidity too. For instance — in HIS limitless and infinite number of galaxies (just “one” galaxy spreading out in a span of 150000 -200000 light-years) there consists an infinite number of “earths” having their own religions as ours here. Is not their God and our God same? Should we call them heathen because they don’t follow our religion?  Our idea of religious “exclusivism” in the UNIVERSE is not just narrow but it is utterly “childish”. It is exactly like a small kid crying and insisting that her doll is the most expensive and most beautiful on earth! So, the nonsense bickering, hatred and inhuman cruelty that originates from our “religious exclusivism” has only kept us away from the tenets of humanity. Our cruelty arising from the extremism just chases away the divinity from within.

Also Read: Eating Comfort Food in Stress Will Add Extra Kilos, Says Study

So, let’s learn first to make peace with other believers and their cultural values. Our paths may be different but the goal is the same. Acknowledging, respecting other faiths, and mingling together in their celebrations doubtlessly awaken our dormant godliness. This will certainly help purify our mind and steady our devotion.  No one’s devotion to Him should ever end up in blasts and human degeneration.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.