Lancaster City Council in California to start day with Hindu mantras on January 26

Hindu prayer will open Lancaster City Council (California) meeting on January 26, containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed will deliver the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures remotely before Lancaster City Council. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will 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, will recite 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 plans to start and end 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 plans to say “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”; which he will then interpret 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 proposes to urge 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.

Lancaster, incorporated 1977 and located in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert, claims to be “an excellent example of how big development can be balanced with small town values and amenities”. Lancaster reportedly has the first musical road in USA and R. Rex Parris and Jason Caudle are Mayor and City Manager respectively. Prominent people associated with it include actress Judy Garland, musician Frank Zappa, etc.

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