Hindus are urging for a designated “Hindu Center” at New York University (NYU), an influential research university founded in 1831 and headquartered in Manhattan.
NYU already has a “Catholic Center”, “Islamic Center” and “Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life”; which hold various worship/prayer services, community/social activities, festivals/events, religious education programs, etc. “Catholic Center”, which organizes daily mass, includes a chapel and a confession room and St. Joseph’s Church is five minutes’ walk, reports suggest.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that NYU should respond to the requirements of Hindu students to provide a permanent and dedicated “Hindu Center” for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals, community/social gatherings, and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that “Hindu Center” would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at NYU, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students. Some other universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer room.
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. NYU needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism, Zed added.
Zed suggested that the Temple inside the “Hindu Center” 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.
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.
Considered a Top Dream College, NYU serves over 57,000 students in degree-granting campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; and operates 11 global academic centers and research programs in over 25 countries. It boasts of various Nobel laureates on its faculty and alumni among the wealthiest in the world; and its 11 libraries hold over 5.9 million volumes. William R. Berkley, Andrew Hamilton and Yael Shy are Trustees Chair, President and Global Spiritual Life Senior Director respectively.