Hindus have welcomed Victorian Parliament reportedly reviewing the daily opening prayer procedure, although they feel that it should have been done much earlier.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that in view of the increasing diversity of now multi-cultural Victoria, it would be a step in the positive direction to begin the day in its Parliament with prayers from various religions/denominations. Parliament needed to learn to share the prayer time.
Zed; who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism and who has read opening prayers in both United States Senate and House of Representatives in Washington DC and various state legislatures in US; stated that Victorian Parliament, being a representative body for all Victorians irrespective of their numbers or religion/denomination, should be equally respectful towards all the faiths of its citizens. Rotation of prayers among diverse religions/denominations every sitting day of Parliament would me more appropriate and befitting in diverse Victoria, and would also make the members more enlightened.
Rajan Zed indicated that prayer undoubtedly was highly important for the greater good of the society and should continue; but religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Taoism, Baha’ism, Jainism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, aboriginal spirituality, etc., should be invited in rotation to recite short opening prayers in Victorian Parliament.
We all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience. Presence of different religions was an evident symbol of God’s generosity and munificence. In our shared pursuit for the truth, we could learn from one another and thus could arrive nearer to the truth, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed was denied the request to read the opening prayer of Victoria Legislative Assembly of Australia in 2010. Then Assembly Speaker Jennifer Lindell, in a response to Zed’s request, said in a communiqué on April 28, 2010: “It has been a long standing tradition for the Speaker to read the Lord's Prayer prior to the start of the proceedings of the day. The motion that the Speaker read the Lord's Prayer was made by a resolution of the House on 9 October 1928. Since then no other person has read the prayer in the Victorian Parliament…”
Zed further said that besides Victoria, multi-faith invocations should also become the daily norm in federal parliament and other states and territories of Australia.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.