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California Senate opens with Hindu prayer

Last updated on: August 28, 2007 09:28 IST

The California Senate heard a Hindu opening prayer on Monday, the first in its 157 years history, when Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed recited the Gayatri and other ancient Sanskrit mantras.

Starting with "Om", the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work, he read from the Rig veda.

He also delivered from the Bhagavad Gita and ended the prayer with the last mantra of Rig Veda, before concluding with "Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti", which he then translated as "Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all".

Before starting the prayer, he sprinkled Gangajal (holy water from river Ganga in India) on the podium.

Zed, after reciting the original lines in Sanskrit, then read the English translation of the verses.

Reverend Canon James D. Richardson, Chaplain of California State Senate, introduced Rajan Zed while Don Perata, Senate President pro Tem; Senator Christine Kehoe (San Jose) and Senator Elaine Alquist (San Diego) personally welcomed him.

"This day of August 27, 2007, is an esteemed day for all Californians and momentous day for us when opening prayers from ancient Hindu scriptures are being read in this majestic hall of democracy," Zed remarked.

Zed created history on July 12 last when he opened the United States Senate session in Washington DC with a Hindu prayer for the first time in its 218 years history.

A Correspondent