Friday, January 21, 2011
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered invocation from Sanskrit scriptures before Las Vegas City Council on January 19. 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.
City Council members, City employees and public stood quietly in prayer mode with heads bowed down during the prayer. Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Rajan Zed sprinkled few drops of sacred water from river Ganga in India around the podium before the prayer. He presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and Las Vegas Fire Chief Mike Myers.
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 urged Councilmembers and others to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Zed is one of the panelists for "On Faith", a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post. He has been awarded "World Interfaith Leader Award" and is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to New York headquartered Foundation for Interreligious Diplomacy, Director of Interfaith Relations of Nevada Clergy Association, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch and Interfaith Families, etc.
Zed will read the opening invocation at Sparks City Council in northern Nevada (USA) on January 24.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Home of 17 of the 20 biggest hotels in USA, Las Vegas reportedly hosts about 38 million visitors and over 19,000 conventions annually and its Strip is designated as a "National Scenic Byway". Also known as "ultimate escape", its tagline is "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and its temperature sometimes can go as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Famous Las Vegans include tennis player Andre Agassi, wrestler Rico Constatino, adult-entertainer Jenna Jameson, singer Toni Braxton, etc. Oscar Goodman, self-proclaimed "happiest mayor in the universe," is in his third term, while Elizabeth N. Fretwell is the City Manager of City of Las Vegas.