Board of County Commissioners of Clark County (Nevada, USA), home to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, reverberated with Sanskrit mantras from ancient Hindu scriptures on July six reportedly for the first time.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered invocation from Sanskrit scriptures before Clark County Commission 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.
County Commissioners, county 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, Rajan 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 County of Clark.” 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 Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid.
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 Commissioners 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.
Regarding Nevada cities, Zed read the opening prayer of Boulder City Council on June 22, Henderson City Council on May 18 and Carson City Board of Supervisors on February 18; and shall read the opening invocation Sparks City Council on July 12.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. Clark County, with about 150,000 hotel/motel rooms and larger than the state of New Jersey, attracts about 42 million tourists annually for its world class entertainment and casinos and is one of the fastest growing areas of the country.