Catholic Jesuit research university Boston College (BC) organized “On Devi” (On Goddess), a song-dance-drama event, on March 26 which reportedly sang about Hindu gods and goddesses. According to reports; “On Devi: A Kuchipudi Dance Performance” included songs about Hindu gods and goddesses and it started with invocation to Saraswati; Hindu goddess of knowledge/learning, music, art, language/speech, and poetry. It consisted of “Bhama Pravesham” and “Palukuthenala Thalli” pieces; which included references to Lord Krishna and Lord Venkateswara and songs about goddess Alamelumanga. Kuchipudi dance-drama performance has its roots in ancient Hindu Sanskrit treatise on performing arts Natya-sastra, attributed to sage Bharata-Muni. This free and open to the public event in Gasson Hall was sponsored/presented by the Music Department of BC.
Welcoming the performance showcasing Hindu gods and goddesses in this well-known Catholic-Jesuit university, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged all the public-private US universities/colleges to frequently organize Hinduism focused music-dance-drama performances; thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education and sharing the rich Hindu music-dance-drama heritage with the rest of the world. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such performances would make US university/college students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Rajan Zed indicated that the elements of musical theory were first found in ancient Sama-Veda and by the end of 11th century, there were several hundred distinct schools of Hindu music (one authority gives the specific number at 784). The tradition points out that dance was invented by Lord Shiva, who first danced the cosmic tandava, Zed added.
BC seeks “to fulfill its Jesuit, Catholic mission”; its roots “lie in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ”, and it is grounded “in the ideals that inspired our Jesuit founders”. Founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and stated to be “the first institution of higher education to operate in the city of Boston”, it has about 14,250 students. Claimed to be “among the nation’s foremost universities”; John F. Fish, William P. Leahy and Michael Noone are Trustees Chair, President and Music Department Chair respectively of BC in Chestnut Hill (Massachusetts). Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.