WASHINGTON: So the newly elected US Congress woman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, kept her word and took the oath of office on the Gita in Washington DC on Thursday.
With her hand on the holy book, 31-year-old Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to the US Congress, was administered the oath by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
An Iraqi war veteran, Gabbard said, “My Gita has been a tremendous source of inner peace and strength through many tough challenges in life, including being in the midst of death and turmoil while serving our country in the Middle East.’’
Gabbard is one of the five children of Mike Gabbard, a Samoan senator from Hawaii. Her mother Carol Porter is a businesswoman who converted to Hinduism.
According to Gabbard, “I chose to take the oath of office with my personal copy of the Bhagavad-Gita because its teachings have inspired me to strive to be a servant-leader, dedicating my life in the service of others and to my country,”
She said, “I was raised in a multiracial, multicultural, multi-faith family. My mother is Hindu; my father is a Catholic lector in his church who also practices mantra meditation. I began to grapple with questions of spirituality as a teenager.
“Over time, I came to believe that, at its essence, religion gives us a deeper purpose in life than just living for ourselves. Since I was a teenager, I embraced this spiritual journey through the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
“In so doing, have been blessed with the motivation and strength to dedicate my life in service others in a variety of ways.’’
Ami Bera, who is the third Indian-American after Dalip Singh Saund and Bobby Jindal to be elected to the US Congress, also took the oath of office.
Born to Gujarati parents who moved to the US in the 1950s, Bera is a Unitarian universalist by faith. He has been elected from California.