Designated “Hindu Prayer Room” sought at MIT

Hindus are urging for a permanent and dedicated Prayer Room at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a world-class educational institution incorporated 1861.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that MIT 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.

MIT reportedly already has a Chapel, Masjid (Muslim Prayer Room) and Jewish Hillel Center. A look at its Weekly Religious Services reveals various Jewish services; various Catholic masses; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Training Workshops, Bible Study, Fellowship; Protestant Worship Service; Campus Crusade for Christ meeting; Lutheran Episcopal Ministry-Holy Communion; Baptist Bible Study; Buddhist Community Meditation and Worship; Teaching and Discussions on Buddhist Philosophy; Muslim Jum’a; and Christian Fellowship Dinner.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at MIT, 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 US higher education institutions, both public and private, to respond to the needs of their considerable Hindu student bodies and offer prayer facility. MIT needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism, Zed added.

Zed suggested that the Hindu Prayer Room preferably should have an altar containing murtis (statues) of popular Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Durga, Venkateshwara, Ganesha, Murugan, Saraswati, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Kali, etc.; besides being equipped with ghanta (big metallic bell hanging from the ceiling), dholak (two-headed hand-drum), Shiva-linga, etc.

MIT in Cambridge (Massachusetts), whose motto is “Mind and Hand” and whose selection rate is less than eight percent; claims 85 Nobel laureates, offers 46 majors and 49 minors and has over 11,300 students. L. Rafael Reif and Robert Millard are MIT President and Chairman of the MIT Corporation respectively.

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.

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