Hindu prayers opened the June 13 meetings of Perry and Willard city councils, both in Box Elder county of Utah, containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Perry and Willard city councils. 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 prayers 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 council members and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
It was the first Hindu invocation of Willard City Council in 149 years since its incorporation in 1870. Besides Perry and Willard; Zed was also scheduled to read invocations in the city councils of Alpine, Bluffdale, Herriman, Oakley, cities—all in Utah, between June 10-12.
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.
Perry, established in 1853, claims to be a “small city with a rich heritage and a bright future”. Its tagline is “Heritage, Community, Progress” and Kevin Jeppsen is the Mayor. Willard, at the foot of steep Willard Peak, claims to be “one of the most beautiful areas in the state”.