Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav) will bless the University of Nevada graduating class in the traditional Hindu style according to ancient scriptures, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
In its fourth year, the service at the prestigious university will include blessing prayers by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, and Native American religious leaders. Giving it an inter-racial flavour, musician Jim Eaglesmith will chant a kirtan (religious song) in Sanskrit with audience following him in the chant..
Organized by Indo-American community leader Rajan Zed in collaboration with Indian Student Organization of UNR, it will have a keynote address by a Hindu monk.
Starting with ‘Gayatri Mantra’ (the most sacred verse from oldest scriptureRig-Veda) recitation by Rajan Zed and traditional lamp lighting before the statue of goddess of learning – Saraswati; it will include blessing the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads andBhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted, says Zed.
“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 says.
Established in 1864, the flagship institution of the state, UNR, is one of the top 120 universities in America for funded research, which spans issues relating to the environment, renewable energy resources, the life sciences and plasma physics.