In an interfaith gesture, Carmelite nuns and well-known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed prayed together in Reno (Nevada, USA) on February 13 for the “peace and love” of humanity.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, prayed from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, with lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures. The nuns prayed from the Book of Revelation and Gospel of Matthew, both from New Testament; Psalms from Old Testament; and hymn based on English mystic Julian of Norwich.
It was third year of such joint session of Carmelite-Hindu prayers in the Carmel of Our Lady of the Mountains Monastery.
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.
Zed read Gayatri Mantra, the most sacred mantra of Hinduism, in Sanskrit and nuns repeated after him. Reciting from Rig-Veda, he said, “samani va akutih, samana hrdayani vah, samanam astu vo mano, yatha vah susahasti”, which he then translated as, “United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be at one, that you may long together dwell, in unity and concord!”
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 (Sr. Susan Weber is the Prioress). The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.