Being Hindu at University
From Kasia Stoinska
Welcome to the ‘Being at University’ podcast. I’m Harriet Harris, Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh, and in this first series, we explore what it is like being people of particular faith or belief at University.
If we follow faith or belief traditions, these are profound shapers of our values, our choices, and lifestyles, how we conduct our relationships: in short, they provide the inner compass by which we navigate our lives.
What I love about this series is hearing students talk about how their faith or beliefs bring them joy, deep friendships, a feeling of support during hard times, and a sense of perspective. They also talk about challenges, with mental health, with discrimination and micro-aggressions, with visibility and also invisibility. And we hear lots throughout this series about choosing a university, arriving at university, making friends, joining societies – the stuff of student life.
Today I am joined by Vaishnavi Gangadharmath, a final year Business and Economics undergraduate from India, who is speaking about ‘Being Hindu at University’. Vaishnavi talks about Hinduism not as a religion but as a way of life-based on karma. She tells us about starting university, feeling that life crashing down in her second year and picking up again in her third year, and then finishing her fourth year back home in Bangalore because of Covid. Her conversation is interwoven with the ways in which prayer, meditation, devotion to Lord Shiva, and knowing from the heart have been mainstays for Vaishnavi, especially during her final semester when she was a volunteer dealing with the extremities of suffering, supporting people during the terrible intensity of the pandemic in India.
Music: ‘Avulekile’ by Soweto Melodic Voices, from their CD Harambee, 2014.
Soweto Melodic Voices is a youth choir from Soweto, supported by the University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe, to inspire young people and schools in Edinburgh, and to record music in Soweto. For details of the Edinburgh-Soweto link see here.