Both Maine House of Representatives and Senate in Augusta opened their June three and four sessions respectively with Hindu mantras; containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered these invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Senate and House. 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.” Reading from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Senators and Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Senate President Troy D. Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon introduced Zed and Senate gave him standing ovation after the prayer. Zed was wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead. Senators, representatives, employees, public and others present were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during the invocations. Zed also met Maine Governor Janet T. Mills on June four.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader. 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 interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over eight years.
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.
Maine, which was admitted to the Union in 1820, is known for its lighthouses and lobster. The Shawshank Redemption, award-winning 1994 film, was set in Maine. Maine Senate consists of 35 members; while House consists of 151 members.
Details of the picture attached: Rajan Zed reading invocation in Maine House of Representatives.