After the US Senate, the California state legislature now plans to open its session with Hindu prayers on August 27. This move indicates the growing influence of the Indian-American community in the US political circuit.
Rajan Zed, the priest who created history by reciting a Hindu prayer at the opening session of the US Senate on July 12, has been invited to do the same for the 40-member California State Senate.
Zed will recite from the 'Rig Veda', the oldest scripture in the world, besides lines from Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita.
He also plans to recite the lines "Asato ma Sad gamaya, Tamaso ma Jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor ma Amrtam gamaya" from the Brahadaranyakopanisad.
These lines roughly translate as "Lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality."
After reciting the prayer in Sanskrit, Zed will translate it in English for the senators.
Current Senate Chaplain Reverend Canon James D Richardson, an episcopal priest, usually offers the opening prayer. But guest chaplains are also invited from time to time.
The prayers are offered on behalf of the Senate, in recognition that "our freedom and our abundance are gifts from God."