Hindu statesman Rajan Zed opens U.S. House with Hindu prayer

rajan zed.jpgReno Hindu statesman Rajan Zed was in Washington, D.C., today to open the U.S. House of Representatives at noon with a prayer as guest chaplain.

This is Zed’s second presentation in Congress, having given the first Hindu prayer to open the U.S. Senate on July 12, 2007.

Zed was scheduled to deliver a prayer from the sacred Hindu text Rig-Veda and lines from “Upanishads”and “Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord),” both ancient Hindu texts.

Beginning with Gayatri Mantra, considered most sacred mantra in Hinduism, Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said before the event he would recite from “Brahadaranyakopanishad,” saying: “Lead us from the unreal to the Real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality.” Reading from “Bhagavad-Gita,” Zed said he would urge members of Congress to “strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world.”

Offering a Hindu prayer, Zed said, “will make people more educated … so I think it is good for everybody.”

House Chaplain Rev. Patrick J. Conroy invited Zed to serve as guest chaplain, Zed said. The prayer was shown live on C-SPAN.

Zed read the first Hindu invocation of the U.S. Senate in 2007, offering a prayer for peace but drawing protest from a Christian family in the Senate gallery and from some Christian bloggers who viewed Hindu prayer as “an assault on their values,” according to a Gannett News Service story the next day.

“Beliefs are different, but everybody is free to have their own beliefs,” Zed said on Wednesday in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

As to whether listeners might protest his House prayer, “I don’t think it will bother me,” Zed said.

Zed has provided opening prayers for various state senates and assemblies and from county and city government bodies around the country, and he has received numerous honors for his interfaith work. He also is coordinator of the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Sunday Faith Forum.

Source: RGJ