Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan will serve as Georgetown’s first full-time director for Hindu life starting this fall, making him the first Hindu priest chaplain in the United States, according to a campuswide email sent by Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., today.
Sharan is also Georgetown’s second Hindu chaplain after Pratima Dharm, who resigned in January 2015 after three months of working at Georgetown, citing “personal reasons.” Dharm had previously served as the United States Army’s first Hindu chaplain.
Before joining Georgetown, Sharan was honorary Hindu chaplain at the University of Edinburgh since 2010.
Sharan has had significant experience in both the practice and teaching of Hindu traditions. Sharan was initiated in 2003 at Shri Golok Dham Ashram where he is currently a senior monk. Sharan completed further training at Vishwanath Sannyas Ashram and is an acharya, a trainer of Hindu priests known as pandits.
Sharan received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of Edinburgh in 2015. He also served as a lecturer of Asian religions at Cardiff University in Wales and as a senior teaching fellow in Sanskrit at the University of London in England.
Gray said Sharan will become part of a passionate Hindu community – consisting of around 400 students and faculty members – at Georgetown.
“Br. Sharan was drawn to Georgetown by its commitment to interreligious student formation, and by the vibrancy of the university’s Hindu community,” Gray wrote in the email.
In addition to his work in as director for Hindu life, Sharan will serve as a chaplain-in-residence in New South Hall.