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.
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.
Somnath Temple is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode
The first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past
Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga
Somnath Temple is a specimen of fine architecture of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva. This place is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode, therefore it is dubbed as Eternal Shrine. This legendary temple has been vandalized numerous times in the history but with the help of some Hindu Kings, the temple was reshaped each time.
Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. The temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot. Lord Shiva has a strong connection here and also known as shrine eternal.
Somnath Temple History
According to popular tradition, the first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple has been built at the same site by the “Yadava kings” of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In 815 CE, the Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple, a huge structure of red sandstone.
The Chaulukya (Solanki) king Mularaja possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.
Somnath Temple Attacks
Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga. Ghazni took away the wealth of almost 20 million dinars. As per historical records, the damage to the temple by was quite negligible because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple in 1038, which has no much mention of any damage to the temple.
But claims are there that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees who tried to defend the temple. The temple at the time of Ghazni’s attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time.
According to an inscription of 1169, Kumarapala rebuilt it in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,”
Then in 1299, the Somnath Temple was invaded by Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan. They defeated the Vaghela king Karna and sacked the Somnath temple. Legends state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva later recovered the Somnath idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi army near Jalore. However, some other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.
The Somnath Temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.
In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage.
In 1395, the temple was again destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.
In 1546, the Portuguese who were based in Goa attacked ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath Temple and destroyed several of its structures.
Somnath temple to Dwarka
Dwarka is an ancient city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is very near to Somnath temple and due to its relevance to Hindu pilgrimage; people do tend to visit this place also.
The magnificent Temple of Dwarka has an elaborately tiered main shrine, a carved entrance and a black-marble idol of Lord Krishna.
The road distance between Dwarka and Somnath is 231 km and the aerial distance from Dwarka to Somnath is 210 km. One can also cover the distance through train which is almost 398km distant.
Here are some facts that are attached to this sacred and architecturally marvellous temple.
The present-day Somnath Temple was built in five years, from 1947 to 1951 and was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.
Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga, the Philosopher’s stone, which is associated with Lord Krishna. The stone is said to be magical, which was capable of producing gold. It is also believed that stone had alchemic and radioactive properties and thus it remains floating above the ground.
The temple finds its reference in the sacred texts of Hindus like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda. This signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India.
According to records, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the junction of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The meeting point was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon-god bathed and regained his lustre.
According to Swami Gajanand Saraswati (a Hindu scholar), the first temple was built 7, 99, 25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skanda Puran.
The temple is said to be located at such a place that there is no straight-line land between Somnath seashore till Antarctica continent. In a Sanskrit inscription, found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh is stated that the temple stands at a point on the Indian piece of land, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.
According to the text of Skanda Purana, the name of Somnath Temple will change every time the world is reconstructed. It is believed when Lord Brahma will create a new world after ending the one we are living, Somnath will acquire a new name of Pran Nath Temple.
On the walls of Somnath Temple, the sculptures of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can be seen.
According to another reference in the Skanda Purana, there are about 6 Brahmas. This is the era of 7thBrahma who is called Shatanand.
The flag mast on the peak of Somnath Temple is 37 feet long and it changes 3 times a day.
The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati.
Non-Hindus doesn’t require any special permission to visit Somnath Temple. The decision was taken in view of security issues.Now, pack your bags and begin your journey to one of the most the sacred places of India.