Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav), held for the first time in Western USA at prestigious University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in May last, will be held again on April eleven next.
Organised by acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed in collaboration with Indian Student Organisation 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 scholar, it will also include blessing prayers by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, and Native American religious leaders. Shanti-Shanti, the only Sanskrit rock band of the world, will deliver shlokas (hymns) from Rig-Veda (oldest scripture of the world composed around 1,500 BCE) on the occasion. A “benediction through the medium of dance” will also be organised at this Service.
Starting with ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (the most sacred verse from Rig-Veda) recitation by Rajan Zed and traditional lamp lighting before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts; it will include chanting from Bhagavad-Gita and 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 has issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR. Various religious, political, and educational leaders of Nevada will attend this Service.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted, Zed said and added 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 stressed.
The flagship institution of the state founded in 1874, UNR enrolls over 16,000 students with a total budget of about $500 million and has over 100 graduate-degree programs. It is one of the top 150 research universities in the country, whose biochemists have begun to develop genetically modified grapes. The University fields competitive teams in 18 sports.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.