In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Carmelite nuns and well-known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed prayed together in Reno (Nevada, USA) today for making the "world a better place".
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 Songs of David and Intercessions, and read from Gospel of Luke in New Testament.
According to Sr. Susan Weber, Prioress of Carmel of Our Lady of the Mountains Monastery, where the prayers and dialogue was held, it was always nice to share the prayers and have dialogue. It was second year of such joint session of Carmelite-Hindu prayers in the Monastery. Sr. Rosey Klupfel led the prayers.
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 Taittiriya Upanishad, Rajan Zed said, "Om saha naavavatu, Saha nau bhunaktu, Saha viiryan karavaavahai, Tejasvi naavadhiitamastu, Maa vidhvishhaavahai", which he then translated as, "May we be protected together, May we be nourished together, May we work together with great vigor, May our study be enlightening, May no obstacle arise between us". 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, 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 adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.