Hindu statesman Rajan Zed with nuns in the chapel of the Carmelite monastery
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed with nuns in the chapel of the Carmelite monastery

Special to Earthpages.org

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Carmelite nuns in Reno (USA) invited acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed for dialogue and praying together yesterday.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, prayed from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, dated from around 1,500 BCE, with lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. The nuns prayed from Psalms and Hymnal, and read from Romans in New Testament.

According to Sr. Susan Weber, Prioress of Carmel of Our Lady of the Mountains Monastery, it was a joy to meet and share conversation and prayer together. They have decided to make this interfaith dialogue and prayer an annual feature. Zed presented nuns with copies of Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord).

Rajan Zed started and ended his prayer with “OM”, the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work. After Sanskrit delivery, he then read the English translation of the prayers. Sanskrit is considered a sacred language in Hinduism and root language of Indo-European languages.

Reciting from Brahadaranyakopanishad, Rajan Zed said, “Asato ma sad gamaya, Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya”, which he then translated as “Lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to Immortality.” Nuns repeated after Zed– “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” (Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all).

Rajan Zed points out that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. As dialogue brings us reciprocal enrichment, we shall be spiritually richer than before the contact.

Carmelites, a Roman Catholic religious order now spread worldwide, was founded as a community of hermits in 12th century in what is now northern Israel, and was joined by nuns in 1432. The life of a Carmelite nun is completely contemplative, consisting of prayer, meditation, manual labor, and silence/solitude. Carmel of Our Lady of the Mountains Monastery, spread over 19 acres on a hill overlooking city of Reno in Nevada, was founded in 1954. Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.