Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav), held for the first time in Western USA at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in May 2008, enters third year.
Organized by Indo-American leader Rajan Zed in collaboration with Indian Student Organization and South Asian Association of UNR, it will bless graduating class in the traditional Hindu style according to ancient scriptures, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
Besides keynote address by a Hindu monk, it will also include blessing prayers by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Confucian, and Native American religious leaders. Well known musician Jim Eaglesmith will chant a kirtan number in Sanskrit with audience following him in the chant.
Starting with ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (the most sacred verse from oldest scripture Rig-Veda dated around 1,500 BCE) recitation by Rajan Zed and traditional lamp lighting before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts; it will include blessing the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures.
Special certificates will be given to graduates on the occasion with the parting advice as –satyam vada (speak the truth), dharma chara (practice righteousness), matrudevo bhava (treat your mother with great respect), pitrudevo bhava (treat your father with great respect), etc.
Washoe County issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR. This “Third Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR” will be held on April 11 in its campus. Various religious, political, and educational leaders are expected to attend this Service.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted; Zed says and adds that after many important universities in ancient India, like Taxila, Nalanda, Sarnath, Amaravati, Banaras, Kanchi and Ujjain; great Indian universities also flourished in medieval period, like Odantapura (745 AD), Vikramasila (810 AD), Somapura (480 AD), Jagaddala (1090 AD). The purpose of this Baccalaureate Service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual and cultural tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success, Zed stresses.
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