Utah’s Alpine City Council started day with Hindu mantras 1st time in 169 years

Hindu prayers opened the June 11 meeting of Alpine City Council in Utah for the first time since its
incorporation in 1850, containing verses from world’s oldest extant scripture.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Alpine City Council. After Sanskrit delivery, he read the English interpretation of the prayers. 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.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed said “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”; which he then interpreted as “Lead us from the unreal to the real, Lead us from darkness to light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged councilmembers and others present to keep the welfare of others always in mind.

Besides Alpine; Zed was also scheduled to read invocations in the City Councils of Bluffdale, Herriman, Oakley, Perry, Willard cities—all in Utah, between June 10-13.

Rajan Zed had opened Utah State Senate, Utah House of Representatives; county commission meetings of Juab, Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Weber counties; city council meetings of Centerville, Draper, Charleston, Heber City, Layton, Payson, Provo, Salem, Sandy, St. George, South Jordan, Syracuse, Taylorsville, Vineyard, West Bountiful, West Valley, Woods Cross—all in Utah; with Hindu invocations in the past.

Zed, a global Hindu and interfaith leader, has been bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award. Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, on the Advisory Board of The Interfaith Peace Project, etc. He has been panelist for “On Faith”, a prestigious interactive conversation on religion produced by The Washington Post; and leads a weekly interfaith panel “Faith Forum” in a Gannett publication for over eight years.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Alpine, known for its long-held tradition of Alpine Days, claims to hold dear “values of family, community, and service” and “takes great pride in its incredible parks and open spaces”. Notable people associated with Alpine include baseball player Dale Murphy, classical music group The 5 Browns, basketball player Frank Jackson, etc. Troy Stout and Shane Sorensen are Mayor and City Administrator respectively.

Details of the picture attached: Rajan Zed (third from left) with Mayor Troy Stout (third from right) and councilmembers just before reading invocation in Alpine City Council.

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