Hindu mantras opened Boulder City Council in Nevada

Just before the reportedly historic first Hindu invocation at June 22 Boulder City Council meeting, from left to right, are: Travis Chandler, Duncan McCoy, Rajan Zed, Linda Strickland, Cam Walker. Except Zed, others are Councilmembers

City Council of Boulder City (Nevada, USA), known as “Home of Hoover Dam”, opened with Hindu prayers reportedly for the first time on June 22 evening.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed delivered invocation from Sanskrit scriptures before Boulder City Council on this day. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation 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.

Council members, city employees and public stood quietly in prayer mode with heads bowed down during the prayer. Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed said before the actual prayer: “This is a day of honor for us when wisdom from ancient Sanskrit scriptures is being read in this great hall of democracy of great city of Boulder City.” Zed sprinkled few drops of sacred water from river Ganga in India around the podium before the prayer. He presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Councilmember Duncan R. McCoy, who was presiding over the meeting.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Zed said “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then translated as “Lead me from the unreal to the Real, Lead me from darkness to Light, and Lead me from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Councilors to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

Rajan Zed is one of the panelists for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com. He has been awarded “World Interfaith Leader Award” by National Association of Interchurch and Interfaith Families.

Money magazine ranked Boulder City sixth on its list of top places to retire in USA; it is one of only two cities in Nevada that prohibits gambling; and Playboy playmate Deanna Brooks was born here. Roger Tobler is the Mayor. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.