Both New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives in capital Santa Fe opened their February seven sessions with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Senate and House after sprinkling drops of water from river Ganga in India, considered holy by Hindus. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English interpretation of the prayer. 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, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reading from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Senators and Representatives to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales was presiding in the Senate and Speaker Brian Egolf was presiding in the House of Representatives when Zed read these Hindu invocations wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader. 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 interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for about eight 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.
Michelle Lujan Grisham is the Governor of New Mexico, whose tagline is “The Land of Enchantment”. San Miguel Chapel in capital Santa Fe, whose history goes back to 1610, is claimed to be the oldest church in USA. New Mexico Senate has 41 senators, while its House of Representatives has 70 representatives.