Rajan Zed delivers invocations throughout Nevada

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The Board of County Commissioners of Clark County reverberated with Sanskrit mantras from ancient Hindu scriptures yesterday in Las Vegas, reportedly for the first time.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed delivered an invocation from Sanskrit scriptures before the Clark County Commission. 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 the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, as well as 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.

County County commissioners, county employees and the public stood quietly in prayer mode with heads bowed during the prayer. Wearing saffron-colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed said before the actual prayer, “This is a day of honor for us when wisdom from ancient Sanskrit scriptures is being read in this great hall of democracy of great County of Clark.”

He sprinkled a few drops of sacred water from the river Ganga in India around the podium before the prayer and presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, 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 the commissioners to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

Zed read the opening prayer of the Boulder City Council on June 22, Henderson City Council on May 18 and Carson City Board of Supervisors on February 18. He will read the opening invocation to the Sparks City Council on July 12.

He 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 the “World Interfaith Leader Award” by the 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.

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