Washington: President Trump invited a Hindu priest to White House to pray for the health, safety and well-being of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The priest Harish Brahmbhatt from the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Swaminarayan Mandir in New Jersey and religious leaders from other faiths also joined the occasion of National Day of Prayer Service, reported The Tribune.
The priest recited verses in Sanskrit from Yajurveda.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress. On this day all Americans are encouraged to pray.
In his address, the President said, “Throughout our history in times of challenge, our people have always called upon the gift of faith, the blessing of our belief, the power of prayer, and the eternal glory of God. I ask all Americans to join their voices and their hearts in a spiritual union as we ask our lord in heaven for strength and solace, for courage and comfort, for hope and healing, for recovery and renewal.”
First Lady, Melania Trump extended her deepest sympathy to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19.
This tradition of annual prayer at White House was first started by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Since 1952, every US president has issued a proclamation in the honour of the National Day of Prayer.
BAPS Swaminarayan temple is one of the largest temple outside India. This is probably the first time that a priest from this temple has attended and recited prayers at the White House.