SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE
A Hindu baccalaureate service (Dikshant Utsav), held for the first time in the western United States at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008, entered its fourth year last evening.
Organized by the Indian Student Organization at UNR and Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, it blessed the graduating class in the traditional Hindu style according to ancient scriptures, complete with applying tilak (religious marks) on the foreheads of graduates.
Besides a keynote address by a Hindu monk, it also included blessing prayers by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i and Native American religious leaders. Well-known musician Jim Eaglesmith was scheduled to chant a kirtan number in Sanskrit with the audience following him in the chant.
Starting with a ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (the most sacred verse from oldest scripture Rig-Veda) recitation by Zed and a traditional lamp lighting before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts, it included blessing the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures.
Washoe County issued a special resolution to mark the significance of the first annual Hindu baccalaureate service at UNR. The purpose of this service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success, Zed stresses.