BOX ELDER COUNTY — Eight city councils and two county commissions in Utah began their virtual meetings this week with Hindu mantras and will do the same next week.
The locations beginning with prayer include Orem, Brigham City (May 21), South Ogden, West Haven, West Point, Ivins, Price, Mantua (May 21) and county commissions of Box Elder (May 20) and Iron.
According to a written statement from Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who will deliver these invocations, these prayers provide “divine guidance” and “blessing can be effectively invoked remotely, as God is omnipresent and hears the appeals (in the form of prayer) made to him from anywhere for the benefit and blessing of the Council/Commission and City/County.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, will read the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before these city councils and county commission. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will read the English interpretation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.
Rajan Zed 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 each prayer with “Om”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, 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 councilmembers and county commissioners and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Rajan Zed had opened Utah State Senate, Utah House of Representatives; county commission meetings of Juab, Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Weber counties; city council meetings of Alpine, Bluffdale, Centerville, Charleston, Draper, Heber City, Herriman, Layton, Oakley, Payson, Perry, Provo, Salem, Sandy, St. George, South Jordan, Syracuse, Taylorsville, Vineyard, West Bountiful, West Valley, Willard, Woods Cross—all in Utah; with Hindu invocations in the past.
Zed, a global Hindu and interfaith leader, has been 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 leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over nine 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.