Hindu Prayer Space Opens

April 7, 2010

Author: Sarah Scott

Source: Yale Daily News


For the 30 to 40 Hindus in each undergraduate class, the closest place to gather to pray was an hour’s drive away — until Monday night.

Now, to participate in Hindu group prayer, all students have to do is walk to room 014 in the Bingham Hall basement, where they will find a brightly-painted, incense-scented community room with small statues of Hindu gods in altar cabinets. The Hindu Students Council, with the assistance of University Chaplain Sharon Kugler, opened the room after two years of planning, and it will be used for small gatherings and study breaks as well as prayer. In addition, the Chaplain’s Office has hired the first Hindu fellow, Neil Aggarwal, a third-year resident in psychiatry, who will serve as a liaison between the Chaplain’s Office and the student body.

Ashish Bakshi ’10, the head of the Hindu Students Council, said the group did not have the resources to organize travel to the nearest Hindu temple, which is in Middletown, Conn. He added that while Christian students have prayer spaces, Jewish students have the Slifka Center, and Muslim students have a prayer room in Bingham as well as a local mosque, Hindu students were left without their own spiritual environment. Prior to the opening of the prayer room, Bakshi said, students would just pray in their rooms.