The Washington state senate opened for the first time with a Hindu prayer involving the chanting of Sanskrit mantras.
Rajan Zed, a prominent Hindu chaplain who has earlier read opening prayers in the US Senate and many state senates, read the prayer from ancient scriptures before the Washington Senate in Olympia on Friday. After first delivering the prayer in Sanskrit, he read its English translation.
Zed read from the Rig Veda, besides lines from the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He started and ended the prayer with Om, the Hindu mystical syllable.
"This is a great day for Washington and a historic day of honour for us when prayers from ancient Sanskrit scriptures are being read in this great hall of democracy," Zed said before reading the prayer.
Zed presented a copy of the Bhagavad Gita to Senator Rosa Franklin, president Pro Tem, who was presiding over the senate.
Brad Hendrickson, deputy secretary of the senate, and Senator Edward B.Murray thanked Zed for the historic prayer.
Zed later met Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen in his office and also presented him with a copy of the Bhagavada Gita.