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Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered an invocation from Sanskrit scriptures. 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 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. Om was followed by Gayatri Mantra, the most sacred mantra in Hinduism.
Senators, Senate employees and the public stood quietly in prayer mode with heads bowed during the prayer. Wearing saffron-colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary) and a traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed sprinkled a few drops of sacred water from the river Ganga in India around the podium before the prayer. He presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Lieutenant Governor Brian K. Krolicki.
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 prayed to Lord so that public officials are “pure, efficient, impartial, selfless” in all their undertakings.
Zed is one of the panelists for “On Faith,” a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post. He has been awarded the “World Interfaith Leader Award” and is senior fellow and religious advisor to New York-headquartered Foundation for Interreligious Diplomacy, director of interfaith relations of the Nevada Clergy Association, spiritual advisor to the National Association of Interchurch and Interfaith Families and more.
Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
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