WASHINGTON: A top US university has appointed a first full-time director for Hindu Life in recognition of the growing number of Hindu students at the univerrsity.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan as Georgetown’s first full-time Director for Hindu Life and the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States,” Rev Howard Gray, Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry at university said.
Mr Sharan joins the Georgetown University from the University of Edinburgh where he served as honorary Hindu Chaplain since 2010.
He will also serve as chaplain-in-residence to first-year students in New South Hall.
“Sharan was drawn to Georgetown by its commitment to interreligious student formation, and by the vibrancy of the university’s Hindu community,” Rev Gray said in a blog post. The university has some 400 Hindu university and faculty members.
From its foundation in 1789, Georgetown, the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, has been open to students of every religious tradition, he wrote.
Mr Sharan is a Senior Monk at Shri Golok Dham Ashram (Vrindavan and New Delhi) where he was initiated in 2003. He subsequently completed ritual training at the Vishwanath Sannyas Ashram in both Varanasi and Delhi.
Since completing his PhD in Sanskrit at Edinburgh in 2015, Sharan has also served as Lecturer of Asian Religions at Cardiff University in Wales and Senior Teaching Fellow in Sanskrit at the University of London in England.
Mr Sharan has been a major contributor to interfaith initiatives across the UK and is a Patron of the Hindu Forum of Europe, Gray said.
Notably, Mr Sharan is Georgetown University’s second Hindu chaplain.
Pratima Dharan, the first Hindu chaplain resigned in January 2015 after three months of working at the university. The Georgetown University Hindu Students Association welcomed the appointment of first full-time Director for Hindu Life in Campus Ministry.
“We are so thankful and appreciative of all the hard work and dedication that went into making this possible (both on behalf of the university and our fellow Hindu students),” the association said.
“I look forward to meeting each one of you wonderful, dynamic students when you return. In the meantime feel free to message me with any questions, or just say hi! If you’re already on campus,” Mr Sharan said in a message to Hindu students.