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Hindu mantras open Redding City Council in California
The Redding City Council in California in the US, incorporated in 1887, had its first historic Hindu invocation on July 16 evening, containing verses from world's oldest existing scripture. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed delivered the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the City Council.

The Sacramento river courses through female-majority Redding, which claims to be "Jewel of Northern California" and whose vision is to “build neighborhoods rather than homes”. Patrick H. Jones and Kurt Starman are Vice Mayor and City Manager respectively of Redding which is known for Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay. Prominent people associated with it include Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, film producer Kathleen Kennedy, baseball players Rick Bosetti and Buck Martinez, football player Ryan O'Callaghan, Digg.com co-founder Kevin Rose and soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayer. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages. Zed, who is 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 prayer 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 translated as “Lead me from the unreal to the Real, Lead me from darkness to Light, and Lead me from death to Immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, he urged councilmembers to keep the welfare of others always in mind. Councilmembers, city employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during this invocation.

Wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead, Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India, considered holy by Hindus, around the podium before the prayer. Zed presented a copy of Bhagavad-Gita to Mayor Rick Bosetti, who introduced and thanked Zed. “It is a historic moment of pride for the community when the prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy of this great city of Redding,” Zed stated before starting the invocation.

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