Hindu leader offers Douglas County invocation
July 5, 2014
Douglas County Board of Commissioners , formed in 1861, began its July 3 meeting in Minden with a Hindu invocation containing verses from world's oldest existing scripture.
Rajan Zed delivered the opening prayer from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the County Board. 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 said there are about 100 practicing Hindus in Douglas County.
Zed, who is 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 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 county commissioners to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Zed was wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary) and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead.
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Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.