Princeton, N.J. (Oct. 19, 2015) — Princeton University in New Jersey has launched its first Hindu prayer space.
It reportedly houses a temple for goddess Saraswati, musical instruments and books and besides private meditation, there are plans to have guided-meditation/structured-worship in this space. Located in Green Hall, it will reportedly be available daily to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty for meditation, reflection, worshipping, and connecting with God, etc.
Rajan Zed, president, Universal Society of Hinduism, advocated for the permanent and exclusive prayer room at Princeton, and commended the university for responding to the needs of its Hindu students to provide a designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise. He said it would help in their personal growth.
Zed said in a statement Monday that it was a “step in the right direction” in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at Princeton, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students. Zed thanked Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and its Board Chair Kathryn A. Hall for University’s positive response to the requirements of its Hindu students.
Zed urged all U.S. and Canadian universities, both public and private, to respond to the needs of their considerable Hindu student bodies and offer prayer facility; as they needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism. Some other universities/colleges in USA do offer Hindu prayer rooms.
The Editorial Board of Princeton student newspaper “The Daily Princetonian”, University’s “only paper of record”,endorsed the student initiative of creation of a Hindu prayer space on campus in April, which it said “has wide support from both Hindu and non-Hindu, religious and non-religious students across the University”. Many Princeton students, Hindus as well non-Hindus, in a survey, reportedly expressed interest in creation of Hindu prayer space and supported the idea.
Princeton reportedly already has a University Chapel hosting many Christian services, Muslim Prayer Room, Center for Jewish Life and Interfaith Prayer Room.
Chartered in 1746 and spread in 500 acres, Ivy League world-renowned research university Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in USA. Many of its faculty/staff have won Nobel Prizes. Its library holdings are over 14 million and its students number around 7,946.
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.