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New Mexico Senate And House Open Sessions Thursday With Hindu Mantras In Sanskrit

on February 8, 2019 - 7:26am

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed reads a Hindu invocation Thursday morning in the New Mexico Senate. Lt. Gov. Howie Morales is standing at his left. Courtesy photo


Both the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives at the state capitol in Santa Fe opened their February seven sessions with Hindu prayers, containing verses from the world’s oldest existing scripture.

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 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, 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. 

Lt. Gov. 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. 

Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader. Bestowed with the World Interfaith Leader Award; Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been a panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and has produced a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for about eight years. 

Hinduism, the 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 the United States.