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GVA Conducts Rath Yatra;  Month Long Utsav In Atlanta


Atlanta, Dec 2012: Gaudiya Vaishnava Association (GVA), is a non profit spiritual organization that has been operating in the Atlanta area for a number of years. GVA was founded by His Divine Grace Swami Bhakti Swarup Tirtha Maharaj with the sole objective of spreading spiritual awareness all over the world, and to propagate, preach and promote the only means of deliverance - the chanting of the Holy Names of God, Shri Krishna. In order to bring this awareness to the wonderful citizens of Atlanta, GVA conducted a month long Utsav starting with the Duluth Fall Festival.

On September 29th, Gaudiya Vaishnava Association (GVA), conducted the Ratha Yatra as part of the Duluth Fall Festival parade at Duluth, Georgia. Under the spiritual guidance of its Founder Acharya, His Divine Grace Swami Bhakti Swarup Tirtha Maharaj, the devotees carried Their Lordships Sri Jagannath, Sri Baladeva and Srimati Subadhra devi in a well decorated palanquin on the streets of the city of Duluth. An age old tradition that originated from Puri, India it is still followed in many temples around the world. Lord Jagannath bestows His causeless mercy to one and all by coming outside the temple and being carried in a rath (chariot) as a yatra (journey). The devotees carried the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra banners.
The people of Duluth who gathered along the Ratha Yatra route received the Unlimited Mercy of Their Lordships. Many citizens of Duluth are witnessing the Ratha Yatra for the first time and very happily joined the parade. Amidst all the extravaganza, it is noteworthy to say that the Harinam Sankirtan (Chanting of the Holy Name of Shri Krishna) with Karatalas & Mirudangas done by GVA in the 2 hour parade was ecstatic and attracted the young and the young at heart and everyone danced in great jubilance.

The major event of the Fall Utsav is the Shrimad Bhagavatam discourses by the Founder  Acharya of GVA, Swami B.S.Tirtha Maharaj between October 1 and 17 in the Cumming and Alpharetta areas. Shrila Maharaj spoke from the 2nd Canto - 'The Cosmic Manifestation' with in depth explanations about God realization, pure devotional service, the process of creation, the scheduled incarnations of the Supreme Lord with specific functions and how Bhagavata Mahapuran is the answer to all questions. He explained the importance of chanting the Lord's holy name by anyone through this sloka:

Shrila Maharaj presented 'The Nectar of Instruction' , also known as 'Upadeshamrita', written by Shrila Rupa Goswami. A direct disciple of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the leader of all the Goswamis, Shrila Rupa Goswami gave this Upadeshamrita to guide our activities and become pure Vaishnavas. It is a timely discourse presented by Shrila Maharaj when everyone in this world is influenced by the modes of passion (greed) and ignorance (lust).

When giving a detailed explanation for this verse, Shrila Maharaj explained how one can  control ones senses, especially the tongue, controlling which one can conquer their other  senses and the mind to live a happy and peaceful life.

An interactive question and answer session became the finale for the two weeks long  discourses. Members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints attended the final day program and posed a series of wonderful questions, like When did creation begin?,Who  is God?, What is God Realization?, How to be Joyful? and How to achieve Universal Brotherhood? In answer to their questions, Shrila Maharaj, gave examples from the Vedas and the Bible, pointed out the common aspects of Vaishnavism and Christianity, explained the position of Lord Jesus Christ, proved that service to God is superior by narrating the story of Thomas Becket (also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury). They greatly appreciated the answers and each one received the Bhagavat Vani magazine from Shrila Maharaj with his blessings. Shrila Maharaj was in US from September 24th to October 27th on a transcendental tour delivering spiritual discourses from Shrimad Bhagavat Gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam and Upadeshamrita in New Jersey, Texas and Georgia.

On October 22nd, as a penultimate program, Gaudiya Vaishnava Association performed  Harinam Sankirtan on the auspicious Ratha Yatra of Lord Sri Venkateshwara with Goddesses Shridevi and Bhudevi at The Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Georgia. Continuous sankirtan for nearly three hours mesmerized all the devotees who attended the ratha yatra and was a very memorable event. Everyone is eagerly waiting for the next Ratha Yatra. Chief priest at the temple, Shri Gopala Bhatar was very appreciative and thanked the sankirtan party.

Gaudiya Vaishnava Association's final program for the Fall Utsav 2012 was the Global Mela held at Global Mall in Norcross on October 27th and 28th. Global Mela attracts each year more than 15000 visitors during the two day event from the Southeast. GVA distributed Shrila Maharaj's spiritual discourses in CDs, DVDs & MP3s. Transcendental books namely "Actually There's No Problem" and "You Ask He Answers" written by Shrila Maharaj and "Bhagavat Gita Made Easy" MP3 sets were the highly sought after items during the Mela.

Young Vaishnavas from GVA performed Lord Shri Krishna's childhood pastime 'Damodar Lila', a dance-drama during the inaugural function welcoming the chief guest, Honorable Indian Consul General for Atlanta Mr. Ajit Kumar. TV Asia, a local TV channel interviewed the devotees distributing CDs containing Shrila Maharaj's discourses and the youth group as part of their event coverage.

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