Jewish Prayer Blessed Graduates At Hindu Baccalaureate Service In An American University

April 12, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Die Jüdische

A unique one-of-a-kind in the world Hindu Baccalaureate Service was held at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in USA on Saturday where the graduating students touched the feet of a Swami (monk) to seek his blessings and where a Jewish Rabbi read Hebrew prayer.

Attended by Nevada's first lady Dawn Gibbons and Provost of UNR Marc Johnson, the Service at this top research university included a bhajan (devotional song) "Radhe Radhe Govinda" by famous performer Jim Eaglesmith and the graduating students chanted after him. Tilak (religious mark) was applied on students' foreheads and they sought blessings from the burning flame, which was passed around.

Organized by acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Indian Student Organization (ISO) at state-supported UNR established in 1864, it started and ended with 'Gayatri Mantra' (the most sacred verse from Rig-Veda, oldest scripture of the world composed around 1,500 BCE) recited by Rajan Zed.

Traditional lamp was lighted before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts. Laddoos, ceremonially prepared by senior Hare Krishna devotee Annabelle Younger, were distributed as prasad (blessed food) to the participants.

Swami Vedananda, a well-known Hindu monk from California, in his keynote address, blessed the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita--all ancient Hindu scriptures.

Although a Hindu Baccalaureate, it also included Hebrew prayer from Torah, Buddhist prayer in Pali, prayer from Koran in Arabic, Native American blessing in Paiute, besides prayer blessings by Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Community of Christ, and Baha'i religious leaders.