Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan has become the first Hindu priest to be appointed as Chaplin of Georgetown University.
According to a Washington Post report, Sharan is the first Hindu priest to serve in the role of chaplain at any university in the United States.
Sharan conducted his first service on Saturday by comparing a spiritual mindset to an Internet browser when he asked his worshipers to clear their minds.
He told them, “Close all the tabs that are open, just as you would do to a Firefox window.”
The university officials said that although the Gerogetown was founded as a Catholic college and still proudly dedicated to its religious purpose, its decision to educate youths about a different religion should not be counterintuitive.
Rev. Greg Schenden, a Catholic chaplain, said, “Part of our mission and our ethos is our desire to form the whole person.”
The college also has a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam on staff as chaplains. With 300 Hindu students across undergraduate and graduate schools, the college felt the call for a Hindu chaplain to foster those youths’ religious growth as well.
“It wasn’t just to say, ‘Oh, we got one here,’ ” Schenden said. “It was, ‘Oh, we need one here.’ ”
Sharan is already earning accolades from Hindu worshipers. Neharika Khandavalli, a senior, said she attended puja at Georgetown for three years, but the service that Sharan led was ‘the very best one.’
She said, “It couldn’t have gone better. All of us students, we’re religious and Hindu, but we wouldn’t have been able to do what Brahmachari-ji did.”