Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hindu Prayer to Open New Mexico Senate

Newswire Services
December 17, 2007

Santa Fe - New Mexico State Senate of USA will have its first Hindu prayer containing Sanskrit mantras on January 28.

Rajan Zed, a prominent Hindu chaplain, will read the historic opening prayer from ancient Hindu scriptures before New Mexico Senate in Santa Fe on this day. After first delivering in Sanskrit, he will then read the English translation of the prayer.

According to reports, no Hindu has delivered opening prayer in New Mexico State Senate since its formation. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of all Indo-European languages.

Rajan Zed will recite from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE, besides lines from Upanisads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. He plans to start and end the prayer with "OM", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanisad, Rajan Zed plans to say "Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya", which roughly translates as "Lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to Immortality."

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has no datable beginning but some scholars put it around 3,000 BCE. It has no founder, no one authoritative figure, and no single prophet or holy book. One of its scriptures, Mahabharata, is the longest poem ever written, comprising over 100,000 couplets. Hinduism in North America was introduced in 1830s with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau studying Hindu scriptures like Upanisads and Bhagavad-Gita. Vivekananda made a strong impression at World's Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893 and he then founded Vedanta Society. Protap Chunder Mozoomdar of Brahmo Samaj delivered his first American address on September 02, 1883 in Concord, Massachusetts.

New Mexico State Senate is composed of 42 members, with each district having a population of about 43,300. New Mexico, which has the lowest water-to-land ratio in USA, was the home of first atomic bomb. Native Americans have been living in New Mexico for about 20, 000 years and it has the oldest public building of America, The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, built in 1610.

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