One of its kind in the world, Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav) enters into eighth year on May third at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR).
Organized by Universal Society of Hinduism (USOH) in collaboration with UNR Indian Student Organization, it will bless the graduating class in the traditional Hindu style, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
Besides keynote address by a distinguished Hindu monk Swami Vedananda from California, it will also include blessing prayers by Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i and Native American religious leaders.
Starting with ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (considered Hinduism’s most sacred verse from oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda) recitation by Rajan Zed, distinguished Hindu statesman and USOH President, and traditional lamp lighting before the image of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts; it will include blessing the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures.
Washoe County issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted; Rajan Zed says and adds that after many important universities in ancient India, like Taxila, Nalanda, Sarnath, Amaravati, Banaras, Kanchi and Ujjain; great Indian universities also flourished in medieval period, like Odantapura (745 CE), Vikramasila (810 CE), Somapura (480 CE), Jagaddala (1090 CE). The purpose of this Baccalaureate Service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual and cultural tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success, Zed stresses.
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.