United States House of Representatives in Washington DC opened with a Hindu prayer on June 19.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered this prayer from Rig-Veda, world’s oldest scripture in continued use, besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu texts. He started and concluded the prayer with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
Beginning with Gayatri Mantra, considered most sacred mantra in Hinduism, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from Brahadaranyakopanishad, saying: “Lead us from the unreal to the Real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality”. Reading from Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), he urged US Congressmen and Congresswomen to “strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world”.
Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Rajan Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podium before the prayer. He presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Congressman Michael Honda, who introduced and thanked Zed. House members, employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during this invocation. This prayer was shown live on C-SPAN.
Zed was presented with certificate of appreciation by House Speaker John Boehner. Zed met and had dialogue with Honda, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards from Maryland, Congresswoman Janice Hahn from California and House Chaplain Fr. Patrick J. Conroy.
Later in the evening, Rajan Zed opened the Board of Aldermen of Frederick, second-largest city of Maryland, with its first Hindu prayer in 197 years of its incorporation.
Zed made history by reading the first Hindu invocation of United States Senate in Washington DC in 2007. He also has read opening prayers in various State Senates and State Assemblies/Houses-of-Representatives, various County Commissions/Boards and City Councils all over USA.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. Bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award; many cities in USA have named October 25 as “Rajan Zed Day”.
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.
US House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of US Congress (other being the US Senate) and it makes and passes US federal laws. It assembled for the first time in New York in 1789.