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Georgetown University in US appoints a Hindu Priest as First Director for Department of Hindu Life

Brahmachari Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003

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  • Brahmachari Sharan was earlier an honorary Hindu Chaplain at University of Edinburgh since 2010
  • Mr. Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003
  • In November 2015, Pratima Sharam was appointed as the first Hindu chaplain who resigned after three months of service

August 10, 2016: A Hindu Indian has been appointed as the first director at Georgetown University in USA, for the department of Hindu Life. Due to an increasing number of Hindu students in the university, Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan has also been given the recognition of the first Hindu Chaplain of the United States.

Brahmachari Sharan was earlier an honorary Hindu Chaplain at the University of Edinburgh, since 2010. He will now serve as chaplain-in-residence at Georgetown’s, also as a priest in residence to students from New South Hall, reported ndtv.com. The university, established in 1789, is open to all students regardless of their caste and creed.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan as Georgetown’s first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States,” Rev Howard Gray, Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry at the university said to ndtv.com.

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Georgetown University Logo. Image source: www.georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Logo. Image source: www.georgetown.edu

Brahmachari Sharan was appointed by the University because of his bond with the students on the basis of religious vibrancy, keeping in mind that there are around 400 Hindu students and professors in the university.

Mr. Sharan has been serving as a senior monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram in India since 2003. He has also acquired official training for rituals at Vishwanath Sanyaas Ashram (in Varanasi and Delhi, India). A doctorate holder in Sanskrit himself, Sharan taught the subject of Asian Religions at Wales’ Cardiff University. Besides that, he has also served as a senior teacher at the University of London.

According to the ndtv.com reports, Georgetown University has also had a Hindu chaplain in the past. In November 2015, Pratima Sharam was appointed as the first Hindu chaplain who resigned after three months of service. “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan as Georgetown’s first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States,” said Rev Howard Gray, Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry at the university.

“I look forward to meeting each one of you wonderful, dynamic students when you return. In the meantime feel free to message me with any questions, or just say hi! If you’re already on campus,” said Sharan while addressing his students.

– prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Georgetown University’s decision to appoint Brahmachari Sharan as the director for the Department on Hindu life is an honour, that no international university has ever given to a hindu scholar.

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Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)