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Utah’s Oakley City Council opened with Hindu mantras 1st time in 86 years on June 10

Hindu prayers opened the June 10 meeting of Oakley City Council (Utah) for the first time since its incorporation in 1933, containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Oakley City Council. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English interpretation of the prayers. 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.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed said “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”; which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged councilmembers and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

Besides Oakley; Zed is also scheduled to read invocations in the City Councils of Alpine, Bluffdale, Herriman, Perry, Willard cities—all in Utah, between June 11-13.

Rajan Zed had opened Utah State Senate, Utah House of Representatives; county commission meetings of Juab, Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Weber counties; city council meetings of Centerville, Draper, Charleston, Heber City, Layton, Payson, Provo, Salem, Sandy, St. George, South Jordan, Syracuse, Taylorsville, Vineyard, West Bountiful, West Valley, Woods Cross—all in Utah; with Hindu invocations in the past.

Zed, a global Hindu and interfaith leader, has been bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award. Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over eight years.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Gateway to Uinta Mountains, Oakley is known for its annual rodeo celebrations. Weber River flows through it and Wade Woolstenhulme is the Mayor. Notable people associated with it include actress Katherine Heigl and country musician Josh Kelley

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