Benedictine University in Lisle (Illinois), a Roman Catholic research university in the Benedictine tradition, holds Hindu aarti prayer on Thursdays in its Kindlon Hall at 12:30 pm; per its website.
Founded by the monks of St. Procopius Abbey in 1887, it claims to be “guided by our Roman Catholic tradition” and its Values include “a search for God by oneself and with others”. It “is grounded in the spirit of the founders who based their lives and work on St. Benedict’s Rule for Monks, written in the early sixth century”.
Commending Benedictine for holding weekly Hindu aarti prayer in the campus, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, described it as a step in the positive direction. Zed thanked Benedictine for recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Benedictine for a permanent and dedicated “Hindu Prayer Room” on the campus; thus responding to the requirements of Hindu students for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise; which would help in their personal growth.
Rajan Zed further said that it was important to meet the spiritual needs of Hindu students, who had a substantial presence at Benedictine. Some other universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer room.
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.
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.
Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Besides 108-acre wooded main campus in Lisle, it has branches/centers in Springfield, Naperville, Bellwood—all in Illinois; Mesa (Arizona); and programs in China and Vietnam. It offers 56 undergraduate degrees, 15 graduate degrees and four doctoral programs. Dr. Michael S. Brophy is the President.