Leaders of various religions and denominations blessed some of the graduating students at the 5th Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service on April 15, 2012.
Organized by student groups and community organizations, the Hindu Baccalaureate Service (Dikshant Utsav) enters its sixth year at the University of Nevada, Reno on April 21.
Sponsored by the University's Interfaith Students Club and the Diverse Organization of South Asians in partnership with the Universal Society of Hinduism (USOH), the service will bless the graduating class in the traditional Hindu style, complete with applying a tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates.
In addition to a keynote address delivered by a distinguished Hindu monk from California, the service will also include blessings and prayers by Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i and Native American religious leaders. Well known musician Jim Eaglesmith will chant a kirtan number in Sanskrit, asking the audience to follow in the chant. Dancer L. Martina Young will deliver blessings through dance movement.
The service will open with a recitation of the ‘Gayatri Mantra' by USOH President Rajan Zed followed by a traditional lamp lighting before the image of the goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts. Next, blessings will be bestowed on the graduates with wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini will be part of this blessing ceremony.
This Hindu Baccalaureate Service will be held at 5 p.m. in Ballroom C of the Joe Crowley Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.