Hindus have asked for a permanent prayer room at Brown University (BU), a prestigious Ivy League and research institution in Providence (Rhode Island, USA).
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that BU should respond to the requirements of its Hindu students to provide designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.
BU already has a Christian Chapel, Muslim Students’ Center and a Jewish Center. It claims to be the first Ivy League school to accept students from all religious affiliations.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a “step in the right direction” in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at BU, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students. Some other universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer rooms.
Rajan Zed urged all USA and Canadian universities, both public and private, to respond to the needs of their considerable Hindu student bodies and offer prayer facility. BU needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism; Zed stressed and added that it would be a nice semiquincentenary gift to Hindu students during its 250th year of existence.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
BU, seventh-oldest college in USA, has about 8,500 students from all 50 US states and over 100 countries; in addition to over 5,000 summer, visiting and online students. It has been declared as the #1 College in America for Happiest Students. Christina H. Paxson is the President, Thomas J. Tisch is the Chancellor, and Janet Cooper Nelson is Chaplain of BU.