Chico City Council in California opened with Hindu prayer 1st time in 141 years – Chico City Council in California (USA), incorporated in 1872, had its reportedly first historic Hindu invocation on September 17 evening, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the City Council. 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.
Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed said, “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then translated as “Lead me from the unreal to the Real, Lead me from darkness to Light, and Lead me from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged councilmembers to keep the welfare of others always in mind. Councilmembers, city employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during this invocation.
Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podium before the prayer. Zed presented a copy of prayerbook Srihanumanchalisa to Mayor Scott Gruendl, who introduced and thanked Zed. “It is a historic moment of pride for the community when the prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy of this great city of Chico”, Zed stated before starting the invocation.
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, etc.
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.
Female majority Chico with oak-shaded downtown claims to maintain “a special sense of community” and is nicknamed as “City of Roses”. Home to Bidwell Park spread in 3,670 acres, said to be the fourth largest municipal park in USA; Chico has topped the Forbes list of “Best Places in America” and has been recognized as “Top Place to Live the Western Dream” and “#1 Cycling Community in America”. Mark Sorensen and Brian Nakamura are Vice Mayor and City Manager respectively. Prominent people associated with Chico include Olympians Emily Azevedo, Joseph Bottom and Leslie Deniz; actress Amanda Detmer; painter Jackson Pollock and musician Mat Kearney.
Details of the picture attached:
Just before the Chico City Council Hindu invocation, from left to right, are— Councilmember Ann Schwab, Councilmember Tami Ritter, Councilmember Randall Stone, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, Mayor Scott Gruendl, Vice Mayor Mark Sorensen, Councilmember Mary Goloff and Councilmember Sean Morgan.