Designated “Hindu prayer room” sought in University of Sydney

Hindus are urging for a permanent and dedicated prayer room at The University of Sydney campus, Australia’s first university proposed in 1850.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that University of Sydney 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.

University’s weekly student newspaper “Honi Soit” (published since 1929) in an article last year, said: “A Hindu prayer room is notably absent from campus” and quoted a student leader saying “…a designated prayer room on campus would help to create a comfortable environment necessary for Hindu students.”

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 in University of Sydney, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students.

Rajan Zed noted that University of Sydney needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.

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.

University of Sydney in Camperdown/Darlington in New South Wales, with five Australian prime ministers as its alumni, claims that “Being inclusive is embedded in our culture…”. It also claims to “sit in the top 0.3 percent of universities worldwide” and Belinda Hutchinson and Michael Spence are its Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor respectively. It already has a Mulitfaith Chaplaincy Centre, Islamic Prayer Room and Assembly Hall for Friday Prayers.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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