One of its kind in the world, Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav) enters fifth year on April 15 at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in USA.
Organized by Universal Society of Hinduism in collaboration with Indian Student Organization of UNR, it will bless graduating class in the traditional Hindu style, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
Besides keynote address by a distinguished Hindu monk from California, it will also include blessing prayers by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, 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) recitation by Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, 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.
Washoe County issued a special Resolution to mark the significance of First Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted; Rajan 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 CE), Vikramasila (810 CE), Somapura (480 CE), Jagaddala (1090 CE). 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.
The flagship institution of the state established in 1874, UNR is one of the top 120 universities in America for funded research having internationally known researchers in renewable energy, earthquake engineering, environment, etc. It is helping to create the world’s most accurate atomic clock and is home to one of the largest earthquake-simulation labs. Various Hollywood movies have been shot at UNR, which has about 18,000 students with Marc Johnson as interim President.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.