June 18th, 2012 10:53 EST
Hindu Prayers Open Two City Councils in California
Ceres and Riverbank city councils in California (USA) had their first Hindu invocations on June 11, since these were incorporated in 1918 and 1922 respectively.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before these city councils. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation 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 Upanishadsand 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 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 to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, 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 each to Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra and Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno.
Rajan Zed has been awarded World Interfaith Leader Award and is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to New York headquartered Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Named after Roman goddess of agriculture and touching Tuolumne River, Ceres is one of the California`s Central Valley`s richest and most diverse agricultural areas and actress Holly Butler was born here. Riverbank, located along Stanislaus River, is the home of "Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition" whose official slogan is "The City of Action".