Internationally recognized Emory University in Atlanta (Georgia), founded by Methodists in 1836 and still formally affiliated with United Methodist Church, seems to be welcoming to the idea of a Hindu Center on the campus provided Hindu community comes up with the funding.
Emory Vice President Dr. Gary S. Hauk, responding on behalf of President James W. Wagner to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s request of a permanent and dedicated “Hindu Prayer Room”, wrote in an email on February 23: “We certainly would welcome a similar arrangement in which the Hindu community of Atlanta would fund the purchase and operation of a center dedicated for use by the Emory Hindu population”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, welcomed the welcoming nod of Emory to the idea of Hindu Center created by Hindu community funds.
Rajan Zed said that a designated Hindu Center was urgently needed at Emory for worship, rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise for the substantial population of Hindu students and staff, which would help in their personal growth. In the absence of a designated facility, the Hindu students reportedly had to perform their weekly aarthi and prayers on Fridays at Canon Chapel Sanctuary.
Zed urged the Hindu community in Atlanta and Georgia to raise funds for such facility and work with the Emory authorities who seemed willing to work with them for the realization of such Center as appeared from the emails of Dr. Hauk received by him.
Rajan Zed further said that Dr. Hauk hinted at developing a Hindu center on the model of Catholic, Baptist and Chabad centers on the campus and pointed to the need of more conversation on the issue, which “would have to be undertaken by local Hindu leaders with our business administrators and the dean of the chapel”.
Till the full-fledged Hindu Center was realized by Hindu community funds, Zed urged Emory authorities to provide a designated “Hindu Prayer Room” as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of Hindu students. Some other universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer room. Emory needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism, Zed added.
Emory currently has a University Catholic Center (which “helps students become mature Catholic adults”), Baptist Center, Cannon Chapel (named for “a bishop of the United Methodist Church”), Emory Chabad House (“where every Jew is family”), Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Marcus Hillel Center (“dedicated to Jewish life on campus”); and “Halal meals are served Fridays at Cannon Chapel”.
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.
Emory University, which serves about 14,724 students with about $1.9 billion annual operating budget, is ranked among top in most beautiful campuses and happiest colleges. John F. Morgan is its Trustees Chair.