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Hindu prayer to open United States Senate

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

Nevada (United States), Jun 25: History will be created when Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain, will read Hindu prayer at the opening of United States (US) Senate in Washington DC on July 12 next.

Rajan ZedAccording to reports, this will be the first time any Hindu prayer will be delivered in the US Senate since its formation in 1789.

Zed is still to finalize the exact prayer he will deliver, but he is thinking something from Rig Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE; besides lines from Upanishads 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. Full text of the prayer will be included in the Congressional Record.

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, no one deity worshipped by all, and no single prophet or holy book. One of its scriptures, Mahabharata, which dates around third century BCE, is the longest poem ever written, comprising over 100,000 couplets.

"July 12, 2007, will be an illustrious day for all Americans and memorable day for us when opening prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures will be read in the great hall of democracy," Zed states.

Rajan Zed, besides being Director of Public Affairs and Interfaith Relations of Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada, is also Public Relations Officer of India Association of Northern Nevada, affiliated with World Congress of Faiths-London, listed in "Who's Who in America" 2006, volunteers as a chaplain in various hospitals of northwestern Nevada and nearby California, and is active in interfaith dialogue in the region. He lives in Reno with wife Shipa Zed, a community volunteer; son Navgeet Zed, a youth activist; and daughter Palkin Zed, an accomplished author of two published books.

According to US Senate website, "...Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State...During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate's faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation..." Usually the Senate Chaplain delivers the opening prayer, but sometimes guest chaplains are invited from all over the country to read the prayer. According to a Senate Chaplain Office communiqu, the purpose of the opening prayer is to seek God on behalf of, and for the Senators and the prayer should affirm our rich heritage as a Nation "under God".

US Senate shares with the US House of Representatives responsibility for all lawmaking but is given important powers under the "advice and consent" provisions of the Constitution besides adjudicating impeachment proceedings.


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