Smith College (SC) in Northampton (Massachusetts), among the largest women’s colleges in USA, reportedly houses a “Hindu Mandir”.
This Hindu Mandir (temple), part of the Helen Hills Hills Chapel of SC; equipped with images, incense, and religious texts; “is a place for Hindu worship and prayer”.
Applauding SC for provision of dedicated space for Hindu worship, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, described it as “a step in the right direction”. Zed commended SC for recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged other USA universities and colleges, both public and private, to respond to the spiritual needs of diverse student body and provide dedicated Hindu prayer/meditation room for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.
Founded in 1871, SC, which has students from every US state and 60 countries, claims provision of “education of uncompromising quality”. It offers 1,000 courses in more than 50 areas of study and annual expenses to each student are $57,524.
Dean of Religious Life of SC, Jennifer L. Walters, says: We aim to…provide support and guidance to students as they wrestle with questions of meaning, faith and purpose. Carol T. Christ is SC President. Prominent graduates include Chef Julia Child, feminist Gloria Steinem and author Sylvia Plath.
SC’s website states: At Smith, the “old boys’ network” becomes an “ageless women’s network.”…Of course, the world is coeducational. But Smith women enter it more confidently than women graduates of coed schools.
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.