PRINCETON, NJ, USA, March, 25, 2009 (Press Release): A special week of events at Princeton will focus on Hinduism in 21st Century America. Princeton University’s Hindu Life Program and student group Princeton Hindu Satsangam are collaborating to host ten separate events packed into one week of celebration and awareness. The series of events - which range from lectures and discussions to performances and yoga demonstrations - will be held from Saturday, March 28, to Sunday April, 5.
The week explores the intersection of India’s ancient spiritual traditions with the modernity of American life. Organizers hope that the theme will not only resonate with members of Princeton’s Hindu community, but also serve as an impetus for those from the broader community to learn more about the faith.
“In presenting such a variety of programming, we wish to convey the diversity within Hinduism itself,” said Vineet Chander, Princeton’s Coordinator for Hindu Life and principal organizer of Hinduism in the 21st Century. “At the same time, we hope that each event will allow us to go deeper in exploring our theme, and gain insight into the faith as a fluid, living tradition faced with both challenges and opportunities in the modern world.”
Highlights of the week include a field trip to one of the first Hindu temples established in the United States, a panel discussion exploring the tensions between the academic and practitioner’s approaches to Hinduism, a coffee-house-style discussion about Hinduism’s take on the real-life struggles faced by American college students, and a student-driven arts festival. Hinduism in the 21st Century also pays homage to the popularity of yoga and spiritual vegetarianism - perhaps Hinduism’s biggest contributions to American pop-culture - with an interactive yoga class and a discussion of Hinduism and animal rights, held jointly with the Princeton Animal Welfare Society.
The week’s climax is a formal dinner, featuring a key-note address by Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. Earlier this year, Dr. Mysorekar offered a Hindu benediction at President Obama’s inauguration–the first time in history that a Hindu prayer was offered at a presidential inauguration. Princeton’s Hindu Life program will also honor Dr. Mysorekar with its first annual Hindu-American Inspiration of the Year Award.