24 Apr : Five city councils in California and one in Nevada are opening their meetings with Hindu prayers containing ancient Sanskrit mantras in the coming weeks.
Hindu leader Rajan Zed is reciting these prayers before city councils of Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Lincoln and Yuba City in California and Henderson in Nevada.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, is delivering these prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures at Lincoln (April 27), Yuba City (May four), Bakersfield (May five), Modesto (May 11), Fresno (May 13) and Henderson (May 18). After first reciting in Sanskrit, he will then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.
Rajan Zed plans to recite 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 will 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, Zed plans to say, “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which roughly translates as “Lead us from the unreal to the Real, Lead us from darkness to Light, and Lead us from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Chapter three of Bhagavad-Gita, he will urge the councilors to act selflessly.
Rajan Zed is one of the panelists for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com. He has been awarded “World Interfaith Leader Award” by National Association of Interchurch and Interfaith Families.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.