Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has issued a Proclamation marking the “invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the start of Illinois Senate and House of Representatives sessions” read by distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.
On February 27 and 28 respectively, Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives in Springfield started their sessions with Hindu invocations, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture; which were delivered by Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.
“…through his work with interfaith initiatives, Rajan Zed and the Universal Society of Hinduism work to bring together various religious communities throughout the world so that they can live in peace and mutual trust, as well as enrich themselves through spiritual dialogue”, the Proclamation states.
“THEREFORE, I, Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby commend RAJAN ZED and the UNIVERSAL SOCIETY OF HINDUISM for their efforts to assist communities throughout the United States and the world”, it adds.
Zed recited these prayers 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 prayers with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work. Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, before the prayers.
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 Senators and Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
A reception was hosted for Zed by the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association, a “community of individuals engaged in ministry from many different faith traditions”.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who have been 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.
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.
Known as “Land of Lincoln”; Abraham Lincoln and three other U.S. Presidents have called Illinois home; including Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.