Saturday, July 14, 2007
Rig-Veda in the Senate
July 12, 2007; Washington, DC - History was created today when the United States Senate opened its session with Gayatri Mantra from Rig-Veda, the oldest Hindu text composed around 1,500 BCE.Good news is that America hardly took notice. Also that some prominent Christian wingers now feel alienated from all 100 senators, not just the Democrats. A small but significant symbolic event. If our legislative bodies insist on opening their sessions with prayer, a dubious practice anyway, they certainly can't limit it to prayers from Christians & Jews.
This was the first Hindu prayer ever delivered on the Senate floor since its formation in 1789.
Senator Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania introduced Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain from Reno, Nevada.
Before starting the Senate prayer, Zed sprinkled around the podium, few drops of water from Ganges River of India, considered holy in Hinduism.
Zed’s prayer included recitations from Brahadaranyakopanisad and Tattiriya Upanisad. Reading from third chapter of Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), the famous philosophical and spiritual poem often considered the epitome of Hinduism, he urged Senators to strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world, performing their duties with the welfare of others always in mind, because by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. May they work carefully and wisely, guided by compassion, and without thought for themselves, he added. [my italics]