Elko County Board of Commissioners had Hindu invocation in its April five meeting, said to be the first Hindu prayer since its creation in 1869, containing hymns from world’s oldest extant scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Board. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English interpretation 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 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, Mrityor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real. Lead us from darkness to light. Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged commissioners and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Zed, a global Hindu and interfaith leader, has been bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award. Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and produces a weekly multi-faith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication since February 2011.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Elko County, located in Northeastern Nevada, is said to be the 4th largest land county in the continental U.S. Rex Steninger is Chairman of Elko County Commission, while Amanda Osborne is County Manager.