Rhode Island House of Representatives in Providence will open its June 20 session with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed will deliver the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the House. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will read the English interpretation of the prayer. 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.” Reading from Bhagavad-Gita, he proposes to urge Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
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, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, 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 leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over seven years.
Rajan Zed is also urging Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio to allow him to read invocation at Rhode Island Senate also on June 20 as a diversity gesture. “We do open every session day with a daily prayer and each day we select a different Senator to do the prayer”, Charlotte Desautels, Executive Assistant to Ruggerio, said responding to Zed’s request.
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.
Rhode Island, nicknamed “the Ocean State”, is the smallest state in the nation but has the longest official name: “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. Gina M. Raimondo is the Governor. Nicholas A. Mattiello is Speaker of the House, which is composed of 75 Representatives.