Utah House of Representatives in capital Salt Lake City opened its March 13 session with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures. After Sanskrit delivery, he then 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, 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 Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Speaker Brad Wilson introduced and thanked Zed, who was wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead.
In Utah; Rajan Zed has already read Hindu invocations before Utah Senate; county commissions of Juab, Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Weber; and city councils of Centerville, Draper, Charleston, Heber City, Layton, Payson, Provo, Salem, Sandy, South Jordan, Syracuse, Taylorsville, Vineyard, West Bountiful, West Valley, Woods Cross.
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 about 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.
Utah is the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has over 16.1 million members and 30,506 congregations worldwide. Utah, nicknamed as “Beehive State”, is also known for Sundance Film Festival and Zion National Park; and its peaks, on average, are claimed to be tallest in the country. Utah House of Representatives has 75 members and Gary Herbert is the Governor.