Category: South Asians Abroad Published on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:08 Written by Tapa Menon
El Dorado County Board of Supervisors began its meeting in Placerville (California, USA) with Hindu invocation on July 17 for the first time since its 1850 incorporation, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
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 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, Zed urged Supervisors to keep the welfare of others always in mind. Supervisors, county employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during this invocation.
Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podium before the prayer. Board Chair John R. Knight welcomed and thanked Zed. “It is a historic moment of pride for the community when the prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy of this great county of El Dorado”, Zed stated before starting the invocation.
Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. Bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award; Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to 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. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
County of El Dorado, headquartered in Placerville, is located in historic Gold Country. Besides part of Lake Tahoe, it is home to a Talking Mountain and Lost Lake and portions of it are known to have natural asbestos formations near surface. It has 18 listings on National Register of Historic Places and is known for whitewater rafting, gold panning and snowsporting. Ron Briggs and Terri Daly are Board Vice Chair and County Chief Administrative Officer respectively.