University of Nevada – Reno Holds Hindu Baccalaureate Service
Unique, one of a kind baccalaureate service in the world, was held at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR).
“Eighth Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR (Dikshant Utsav)” blessed the graduating class in the traditional Hindu style, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates, participatory reading of Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit, keynote address by a Swami, a Mormon choir, classical dance of India based on shlokas, traditional lamps lighting and blessing through a Cherubic Hymn. In addition, it also included blessings by Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Native American, Baha’i, etc., religious leaders who recited prayers in various languages from Arabic to Paiute to Spanish, etc., besides English. UNR Associate Dean of Students Marcelo F. Vazquez, offered advice to the graduates.
Organized by Universal Society of Hinduism (USOH) in collaboration with UNR Indian Student Organization, it started with lighting traditional lamp before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts, and included blessing of the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas,Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures, by well-known Hindu monk Swami Vedananda from California.
USOH President Rajan Zed, who opened the Service with a recitation of Gayatri Mantra (the most sacred mantra of Hinduism from oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda) in Sanskrit and audience repeated after him, said on the occasion that the purpose of this baccalaureate service was to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they had a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success.
City of Sparks issued a “Proclamation” few days back to mark the eighth anniversary of the Hindu Baccalaureate of UNR. US Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller and US Congressman Mark E. Amodei also sent testimonials recognizing Eighth Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service. Washoe County had issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR.