Sparks City Council in Nevada (USA), incorporated in 1905, launched its day with Hindu prayers on August 27 afternoon, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the City Council. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.
Zed, who is 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 translated as “Lead me from the unreal to the Real, Lead me from darkness to Light, and Lead me from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged councilmembers to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Councilmembers, city employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during the invocation. Mayor Geno R. Martini introduced Zed, who was wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. 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, Director Interfaith Relations of Nevada Clergy Association, etc.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Sparks, whose city slogan is “It’s Happening Here”, is a custom-made town, tailored ordered by the Southern Pacific Railway Company. Shaun Carey is the City Manager. Notable people associated with Sparks include: actress Jena Malone, political pundit Karl Rove, swimmer Brian Retterer, and cartoonist Brian Crane.