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Both North Dakota Senate & House opened with ancient Hindu prayers

Both North Dakota Senate and House of Representatives in capital Bismarck opened their April one and April two sessions respectively with Hindu prayers, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.

Hindu invocation also started the Burleigh County Commission meeting of April one in Bismarck.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocations from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the Senate and House and Burleigh County. After Sanskrit delivery, he then 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 prayers 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.” Reading from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged Senators and Representatives and Commissioners to keep the welfare of others always in mind.


Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader. 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 produces 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.

North Dakota, whose tagline is "Be Legendary", claims to rank number one in water quality, air quality, quality of life; and "shortest average commute time in the country". Doug Burgum is the Governor, Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford is Senate President, and Lawrence R. Klemin is Speaker of the House of Representatives. Burleigh is the second-most populous county in North Dakota and Brian Bitner is Chair of County Commission.

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