Sparks City Council in Nevada (USA), incorporated in 1905, started its new year with ancient Gayatri Mantra, considered the most sacred mantra of Hinduism, and sprinkling of water drops from river Ganga, considered holy by Hindus.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed opened the January 12 meeting of Sparks City Council with an invocation which began with Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit, which he later translated in English. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages. Zed sprinkled few drops of water from river Ganga of India before starting his prayer.
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.
Council members, city employees and public were seen standing in prayer mode with their heads bowed down during the invocation. Mayor Geno R. Martini introduced Zed, who was wearing saffron colored attire, a ruddraksh mala (rosary), and traditional sandalpaste tilak (religious mark) on the forehead.
Rajan Zed is a global Hindu and interfaith leader, who besides taking up the cause of religion worldwide, has also raised huge voice against the apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. Bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award; Zed is Senior Fellow and Religious Advisor to Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, Spiritual Advisor to National Association of Interchurch & Interfaith Families, etc.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Sparks, whose city slogan is "It's Happening Here", is a custom-made town, tailored ordered by the Southern Pacific Railway Company. Steve Driscoll is the City Manager. Notable people associated with Sparks include: actress Jena Malone, political pundit Karl Rove, swimmer Brian Retterer, and cartoonist Brian Crane.