Several Hindu temples across the United States on Wednesday sought heavenly blessings for the newly inaugurated President Barack Obama by ringing bells, lighting sacred lamps and reciting from scriptures.
The ceremonies were held in response of the Hindu American Foundation's call to Hindu religious leaders to seek blessings for the success of the new administration.
"With a new administration comes hope and a promise of new beginnings, and our prayers as Americans reflect these collective aspirations," said Shashikant Sane, a co-founder of the Hindu Temple of Minnesota.
"Our Vedic prayer -- from Hinduism's holiest scripture -- translated from its Sanskrit asks, 'May God bestow on the leader of our great nation, the strength and wisdom to take care of all people with utmost care and compassion, and by just and ethical means.'"
Several Hindu temples in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Miami, Florida held special prayers and voiced optimism that President Obama will renew a commitment to inclusion and religious pluralism in the United States.
Last week, in a letter to then President-elect Obama and his transition team, the Foundation had urged that the Obama Administration make a sustained effort to broaden the religious dialogue in the United States.
President Obama has expressed support for the faith-based initiative programme started by the outgoing administration, and the Foundation hopes that this and other programmes reflect the religious diversity of the country.
"Today we join hands with all Americans and look to President Obama for steady and inspired leadership during these trying times," said Nikhil Joshi, a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. "We ask that all of our elected leaders will come across the aisle to join hands in working for a better and brighter America."