Hindu Baccalaureate Service in a prestigious American university
Correspondent | 03 Apr 2009
The purpose of this Baccalaureate Service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual and cultural tradition, Indo-American statesman Zed stresses.
Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav), held for the first time in Western USA at prestigious University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in May last, will be held again on April eleven next.
Organized by acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed in collaboration with Indian Student Organization of UNR, it will bless graduating class in the traditional Hindu style according to ancient scriptures, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
Besides keynote address by Swami Vedananda, a well-known Hindu monk from California, it will also include blessing prayers by Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, and Native American religious leaders. Shanti-Shanti, the only Sanskrit rock band of the world, will deliver shlokas (hymns) from Rig-Veda (oldest scripture of the world composed around 1,500 BCE) on the occasion.
Starting with ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (the most sacred verse from Rig-Veda) recitation by Rajan Zed and traditional lamp lighting before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts; it will include chanting from Bhagavad-Gita and blessing the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures.
Special certificates will be given to graduates on the occasion with the parting advice as –satyam vada (speak the truth), dharma chara (practice righteousness), matrudevo bhava (treat your mother with great respect), pitrudevo bhava (treat your father with great respect), etc.
Washoe County issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR. Various religious, political, and educational leaders of Nevada are expected to attend this Service.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted, Rajan Zed says and adds that after many important universities in ancient India, like Taxila, Nalanda, Sarnath, Amaravati, Banaras, Kanchi and Ujjain; great Indian universities also flourished in medieval period, like Odantapura (745 AD), Vikramasila (810 AD), Somapura (480 AD), Jagaddala (1090 AD). The purpose of this Baccalaureate Service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual and cultural tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success, Zed stresses.
The flagship institution of the state founded in 1874, UNR enrolls over 16,000 students with a total budget of about $500 million and has over 100 graduate-degree programs. It is one of the top 150 research universities in the country, whose biochemists have begun to develop genetically modified grapes. The University fields competitive teams in 18 sports.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.