Hindu Prayer To Open US Senate

June 27, 2007 at 10:36 am 1 comment



History will be created when a Hindu prayer will be recited at the opening of the US Senate in Washington DC on July 12.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain, told IANS that he had been officially asked to say the prayer. He said he believes this may be the first time any Hindu prayer is delivered in the Senate since its formation in 1789.

Zed is likely to choose the prayer from the Rig Veda, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita. He said he plans to start and end the prayer with ‘Om’, the mystical Hindu syllable. The full text of the prayer will be included in the Congressional Record.

There are an estimated two million Indian Americans in the US. Followers of Hindu groups like ISKCON may add up to another one million.

‘July 12 will be an illustrious day for all Americans and a memorable day for Indian Americans when prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures will be read in the great hall of democracy,’ Zed said.

Usually, the Senate chaplain delivers the opening prayer but sometimes guest chaplains are invited from all over the country to read the prayer.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Abby J Ovitsky  |  August 4, 2007 at 7:47 am

    I agree with Zed, we need to work on interfaith. The more outreach there is, the more we can uncover attitudes of intolerance amongst us. The America of 1789 is not the America of 2007. That is a good thing. I am a Jewish American, daughter of a Polish war refugee and I personally found Zed’s prayer to be moving to me spiritually. It is my prayer also that we can work together, side by side, and stand in mutual respect of our individual devotions, in acknowledgement of our collective paths to the One Master of the Universe, whatever name we want to give to him or her. In so doing, we are taking a step toward world peace. Respecting different paths to God in the US Senate provides a role model for other governments to respect their minority citizens as well, and it can only lead to peace. I see Zed as such a role model. It took courage to stand up there and to continue leading the prayer when everyone remained seated. Had I been Zed, I am sure my voice would have trembled as Moses’ voice is said to have trembled when he came down from Mt. Sinai to preach to the heathen masses. I do not equate the Christian majority leaders in the US Senate to heathen masses, but many world leaders do perceive them that way. Faith begins with acknowledgment that no one group has a hotline to God. Peace begins with respect and mutual tolerance of our fellow Americans.

    Peace Out.


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