Reno, Nev. (Feb. 4, 2017) — Both the Wyoming Senate and its House of Representatives in Cheyenne started their day Friday with ancient Hindu prayers.
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism based in Reno, Nev., delivered the prayers from Sanskrit scriptures with invocations containing verses from Rig-Veda; the oldest existing scripture of the mankind still in common use, for both the Senate and House. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayers.
Zed started and ended the prayers with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages. The Rig-Veda, also recited from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), are both ancient Hindu scriptures.
Zed recited from the Brahadaranyakopanishad, “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, Lead us from death to immortality.” Reading from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged the legislators to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Legislators and employees watched and listened in a prayerful posture with heads bowed during the invocations. There are 60 members of the House of Representatives and 30 members of the Senate of the USA’s State of Wyoming, whose nickname is “Cowboy State” and tagline is: “Some things can’t be explained. Only experienced.”
Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podiums. Zed presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Governor Matthew H. Mead and House Speaker Steve Harshman. Senate President Eli D. Bebout presented Zed with a memento of State of Wyoming Legislature.
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 United States.
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, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc. He was invited by President of European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium) for a meeting to promote interfaith dialogue. He also leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for the last nearly six years.