As an only child who by his own admittance grew up "sitting on the couch", Pandit suddenly had to share living space with over 60 other monks, sleeping on the floor, taking cold showers, and dodging malaria in one of the world's most overpowering metropolises.
Having been a practitioner in the bhakti-yoga community for nearly a decade now, I have come to understand that the values of yoga, values that connect us, that yolk us, to the Divine are values that inherently create ecologically-sound lifestyles and communities.
Increasingly, seminaries and divinity schools are connecting the dots between faith and service, and encouraging students to grow as faith leaders who will take on important issues in local and global communities after they graduate. This summer, a group of students are sharing the exciting news.
I have spent the past several years visiting seminaries and divinity schools around the country in an effort to better understand them and find ways to strengthen them. What I have discovered is a contrast of great challenges and powerful hope.
A month in to my program, after preliminarily discerning that I don't want to work in a church, I started a love affair with my Google search bar: "What can you do with an M.Div. if you don't want to be a pastor?"
As far as I know, I am the only practicing Hindu at Union Theological Seminary right now, and this leaves me in a tough spot. This is because I am not sure how I, as a Hindu, as a "Hare Krishna," fit into the fabric of social justice that defines Union.
It's quite clear to me that my life now at Union is a clear gift from God, a lavish God who knows our most intimate yearnings and hopes, much more so than we ever might, and who is constantly arranging for us to have what we need and want.
If you announce plans to attend law, medical, or business school, your friends and family will have a fairly good idea what you'll be doing for the next few years. Share your goal to become a seminarian, however, and you likely will be met with puzzled, if not skeptical, looks.
At Union Theological Seminary, we stand in full solidarity with the protestors. That's clear to us. As President, however, I'll admit the prospect of my seminarians being in today's events makes me a bit worried and anxious.
The Smithsonian should realize that there are many ways to interpret art and religious respect. The National Portrait Gallery should re-instate "Fire In My Belly" as an act of righteousness and courage -- and make the exhibit whole again.
What our president is trying to do is not socialism, it is trying to help as many people get through this disastrous economic time with as little suffering and as much dignity as possible. Sounds Christian to me.