A unique baccalaureate service was held at the University of Nevada-Reno on April 27.
The graduation was traditionally Hindu, but also included a Mormon choir, Christian blessings, and blessings from Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Native American and Baha’i religious leaders who spoke in Arabic, Pali, Hebrew, Paiute and Spanish. Teacher Christina Thomas performed the blessing for the Native part of the service.
Organized by the Universal Society of Hinduism in collaboration with UNR Diverse Organization of South Asians, it started with lighting the 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 Prapannananda, of California.
Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed opened the service with a recitation of Gayatri Mantra— the most sacred mantra of Hinduism from the oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda. Zed said the purpose of the inclusive baccalaureate service was the root the graduating class in spiritual tradition to give them a meaningful life in addition to material success.