McFarland City Council in California (USA), incorporated in 1957 and made famous by Kevin Costner lead movie “McFarland, USA” currently in theaters, will have its first historic Hindu opening prayer on April 23, containing verses from world’s oldest existing scripture.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed will deliver the invocation from ancient Sanskrit scriptures before the City Council. After Sanskrit delivery, he then will 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 the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, will recite 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 plans to start and end 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 plans to say “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he will then interpret as “Lead us from the unreal to the Real, Lead us from darkness to Light, and Lead us from death to immortality.” Reciting from Bhagavad-Gita, Zed proposes to urge councilmembers to keep the welfare of others always in mind.
Bestowed with World Interfaith Leader Award, 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.
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.
McFarland is the titular location for the critically well received sports drama film, “McFarland, USA”, directed by Niki Caro and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Inspired by the true story of a 1987 cross country team from McFarland High School, the film stars Kevin Costner as the school’s coach who leads the team to win a state championship.
Manuel Cantu Junior, Stephen McFarland and John Wooner are Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and City Manager respectively of McFarland, founded in 1909 whose tagline is “Tradition, Unity, Excellence”.