Board of Supervisors of Nevada’s capital Carson City, founded in 1858, began its day on February 15 with ancient Gayatri Mantra, considered the most sacred mantra of Hinduism.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Board. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use; besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He started and ended the prayer with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
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, in the room before the prayer. Mayor Robert L. “Bob” Crowell introduced Zed; who earlier presented Crowell a booklet about Lord Krishna.
Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Zed said “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”; which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Supervisors and others to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
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; Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in Reno Gazette-Journal for about seven years.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Carson City, spread out in about 153 square miles of area, was founded in 1858. Although only nine state capitals have smaller populations than Carson City, but when it comes to area, it is one of the largest state capitals in USA. Associated with author and humorist Mark Twain, Carson City is also known for the legends of prehistoric human footprints, mystery of the Ferris wheel, State Capitol fence myth, Great Carson City stagecoach robbery, ghost stories, and one of the oldest Capitol building (1870). City’s vision includes “inviting, prosperous community where people live, work, and play.”