On February 26, both Iowa State Senate and House of Representatives in Des Moines will start their respective sessions with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed will deliver the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Senate and House. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will 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, will recite 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 plans to start and end 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 plans to say “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he will then interpret as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he proposes to urge Senators and Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
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, 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 leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over six years.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Jack Whitver is President of Iowa Senate, which has 50 members; while Linda L. Upmeyer is Speaker of Iowa House of Representatives, which has 100 members. Iowa, also known as Hawkeye State and whose flag states “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain”, is said to one of the safest states to live. Bordered by Mississippi, Missouri and Big Sioux rivers; its top exports include corn, tractors and soybeans. US President Herbert Hoover, actor John Wayne, Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, football player Kurt Warner and Olympian artistic gymnast Shawn Johnson—all hail from Iowa. Kim Reynolds is the Governor.