Huntsville City Council (Alabama) began its meeting with Hindu mantras on January 28 evening, containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the remotely pre-recorded invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures, which was replayed at the Huntsville City Council on the screen. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English interpretation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.
Zed, who is the 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 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 councilmembers and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Zed, a global Hindu and interfaith leader, has been bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award. Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, 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 produces a weekly multi-faith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over nine years.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Huntsville; whose tagline is “The Star of Alabama” and which claims to be “A smart, innovative and inclusive city” and “Known around the globe as Rocket City, USA”; is in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Thomas M. Battle Jr., Jennie Robinson and John S. Hamilton are Mayor, City Council President and City Administrator respectively.