Dr. Brahmachari Sharan, who directs Hindu life at Georgetown University, will present Lynchburg’s 2023 Turner-Warren and Shumate lectures. Both events are free and open to the public.
Sharan’s Turner-Warren Lecture on Life and Faith — “Living with Faith: A Hindu Among the Jesuits” — will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 3109 Rivermont Ave. in Lynchburg. In the lecture, Sharan will discuss life as a Hindu spiritual leader in a Jesuit environment and what made him decide to take on that role.
His Jennie Cutler Shumate Lecture — “The Spirituality of Difference: Dharmic Perspectives on University Life” — will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, in Snidow Chapel on campus. In this talk, Sharan will highlight the importance of interfaith work in a university setting.
There also will be a free lunch panel discussion with Sharan for students, faculty, and staff on Monday at 11:30 a.m. in the East Room in the Drysdale Student Center.
“Our hope with both of these lectures is that [Sharan] will help all of us think more deeply about the importance of religious diversity, developing opportunities to learn from and practice with individuals of other religious or secular traditions, and how to help our students engage in a spiritually diverse world,” University Chaplain Nathan Albert said.
“We were curious about what it’s like for him, as a Hindu, to spiritually thrive at a Catholic institution, and how that might translate to those students from nondominant religious traditions on our campus.”
Sharan is the only Hindu priest serving as a chaplain at a university, as reported in a 2016 Washington Post story. In traditional roles, Sharan served first as a purohita (ritual specialist) and then as a senior brahmachari of a monastery before subsequently taking on the role of tradition-teacher, or acharya, of a vedantic lineage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in Britain, Sharan trained as a priest at ashrams in India, completed his PhD in Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh, and later taught at universities in Wales and London.
For more information about both lectures, contact the Spiritual Life Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.