Hindu prayers open California’s Sand City Council

Sand City Council in California (USA), incorporated in 1960, launched its day with Hindu mantras on August 21 evening for the first time in its existence, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the City Council. 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 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 councilmembers to keep the welfare of others always in mind. Councilmembers, city employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during the invocation.

Wearing traditional kurta attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and 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. Mayor David K. Pendergrass welcomed and thanked Zed. Councilmember Craig Hubler personally expressed appreciation about Zed’s prayer. “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 city of Sand City”, Zed stated before starting the invocation.

Rajan 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.

Sand City, mostly industrial and located on Monterey Bay shores, claims to be “a green conscious and artistic community that lives, works and plays by the sea." Mary Ann Carbone and Steve Matarazzo are Vice-Mayor and City Administrator respectively of Sand City, which is home to annual West End Celebration, an exciting blend of art and industry.

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