9 Jan : Prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures opened the meeting of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), USA’s influential-oldest-largest civil rights organization, branch in Nevada for the first time in Reno.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed recited verses from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE, 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, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said, “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which roughly translates as “Lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to immortality.” Reciting from chapter three of Bhagavad-Gita, he urged the members: “Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world.” Zed recited in Sanskrit and then translated into English.
Reno-Sparks branch of NAACP, which covers northern Nevada, was established in 1945. Lonnie L. Feemster is the President while Rose Gordon is the First Vice President. NAACP, launched in 1909 and headquartered in Baltimore (Maryland, USA), is USA’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization with over half-million members and supporters. Its mission is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination”. Julian Bond is the Chairman while Benjamin Todd Jealous is the President.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.