Hindu temple “expected” to remain in prayer room of Pennsylvania college

The Hindu shrine, which the Hindus wanted to stay in the Prayer Room at Bryn Mawr College (BMC) campus in Pennsylvania, is “expected” to stay.

Vanessa Christman, Assistant Dean of the College for Access and Community Development at BMC who is “dedicated to improving campus climate and building community at Bryn Mawr”, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, said: “…Hindu shrine, which currently is situated in our interfaith prayer room and is expected to remain there.” She was responding to Zed’s email: “Will the Hindu shrine stay at its current position?”

In another response, she was quoted as saying: “Our Hindu students have a temple, they are welcome to worship on campus and have been doing so since last year. After the disappearance of several idols, noted at the start of this semester, we have provided security for the temple and the idols…”

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had suggested that “either the Hindu shrine should continue in the Prayer Room or BMC should provide designated and exclusive prayer-meditation hall to Hindu students for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.”

Rajan Zed has thanked BMC for the “expected” stay of existing Hindu shrine in the Prayer Room at BMC campus. Zed further said that USA universities/colleges, in view of substantial presence of Hindu students, needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism. Some universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer rooms.

Prayer space was important to meet the spiritual needs of Hindu students, Zed added.

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.

BMC in a Philadelphia suburb, opened 1885, has about 1,300 undergraduate women and over 400 graduate women and men from 45 US states and 62 countries. It offers 36 majors and 41 minors for undergraduates. Its mission includes: “Bryn Mawr seeks to sustain a community diverse in nature…”. Kimberly E. Cassidy is the President.

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