Utah senate opens with Hindu prayer

February 15th, 2008 - 1:54 pm ICT by admin  


New York, Feb 15(IANS) The senate of Utah, a US state dominated by Mormons, was opened for the first time with a Hindu prayer involving the chanting of Sanskrit mantras. Rajan Zed, a prominent Hindu chaplain who has earlier read prayers in the US senate and state senates, read the opening prayer Wednesday from ancient scriptures before the Utah senate in Salt Lake City. After first delivering the prayer in Sanskrit, he read its English translation.

Utah is the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormonism, founded in 1830. Mormons, known to be orthodox and conservative, account for over 60 percent of the state’s population of about 2.5 million.

Zed sprinkled holy water from the Ganges on the podium before starting the prayer. He recited from the Rig-Veda, besides lines from Upanishads and the Gita. He started and ended the prayer with “Om”, the Hindu mystical syllable.

Zed presented a copy of the Bhagavad Gita to senate president John L. Valentine who thanked him for the historic prayer. Senate majority leader Curtis S. Bramble said that the theme of the prayer was peace and he put forth a resolution to include the prayer in the Senate Journal, which was unanimously passed.

Fewer than a thousand Hindu families currently live in Utah.

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