By August 2, 2010, fourteen city and state legislative bodies in five US Western states would have been opened with ancient Hindu prayers during the current year, thus creating a milestone in American religious history.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has been reciting the Hindu prayers in California, Nevada, Alaska, Idaho, and Arizona, and many of these are reportedly the first Hindu prayers of these legislative bodies since their formation.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, will be delivering these prayers in the following city councils starting today:
- City Councils of Henderson (Nevada) - May 18, 2010
- Boise (Idaho) - June 8, 2010
- Boulder City (Nevada) - June 22, 2010
- Phoenix (Arizona) - July 7, 2010
- Visalia (California) - August 2, 2010
Zed, has delivered prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures at the legislative bodies of the following cities and states:
- Carson City Board of Supervisors (Nevada) - February 18, 2010
- Sparks City Council (Nevada) - February 8, 2010
- Alaska Senate and House of Representatives in Juneau (Alaska) - April 9, 2010
- City Councils of Lincoln (California) - April 27
- Yuba City (California) - May 4, 2010
- Bakersfield (California) - May 5, 2010
- Modesto (California) - May 11, 2010
- Fresno (California) - May 13, 2010
Zed has already delivered Hindu prayers in United States Senate in Washington DC, Nevada Senate, Nevada Assembly, California Senate, New Mexico Senate, Arizona Senate, Arizona House of Representatives, Indianapolis Senate, Indianapolis House of Representatives, Colorado Senate, Colorado House of Representatives, Washington State Senate, Oregon Senate, Oregon House of Representatives, and Utah Senate. Most were the first Hindu prayers of these legislative bodies.
After first reciting in Sanskrit, Rajan Zed then reads the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of all Indo-European languages. Zed recites from the 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, both ancient Hindu scriptures.
Zed starts and end the prayer with "Om", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work. This includes the famous verse from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, "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 III of Bhagavad-Gita, he will urge the councilors to act selflessly.
Rajan Zed, a recipient of the "World Interfaith Leader Award" by the National Association of Interchurch and Interfaith Families, is one of the panelists for "On Faith", an interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and the Washington Post.