BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, April 9, 2018: Sri Krishna devotees of Atlanta have something exciting to look forward to. “Swagatham Krishna”, a welcome ceremony for the opening of Shri Krishna Vrundavana marked the descent of Lord Krishna inAtlanta. His Holiness 1008 Shree Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, Pontiff of Jagadguru Shree Madhwaachaarya Moola Mahaa Samsthaanam of Shri Puthige Matha, Udupi came to Atlanta with a mission to start Shri Krishna Vrundavana, the abode of Shri Krishna, Shri Mukhyaprana and Shri Guru Raghavendra in Atlanta. On the auspicious day of Ugadi, March 18,2018, devotees of Shri Krishna gathered at the Chinmaya Gurukulam Ashram in Cumming to celebrate the occasion.
Atlanta is the sixth city across the US to house the temple. Swamiji has established Shri Krishna Vrundavana in Edison, NJ, Thousand Oaks in Los Angeles,San Jose, Phoenix and Houston.
“Shri Krishna has come to bestow his blessing upon the devotees of Atlanta and the Southeast. I would like the formation of the Shri Krishna Vrundavana to be an auspicious occasion to bring unity and love within the devotees in Atlanta and the Southeast,” Swamiji said in his address.
The event began with the traditional procession, followed by Kolaata, a folk dance performed with sticks. Kids performed mythological skits, and students from a local Sanskrit school welcomed Krishna in Sanskrit.
Swamiji noted that Shri Krishna Vrundavana will benefit people of all sampradayas (traditions), and their future generations by spreading the message of Lord Sri Krishna and strengthening the customs and traditions of our great culture in this part of the world.
“To the younger generation, this temple provides an opportunity to experience our rich cultural, traditional and religious roots,” he said. The chanting of shlokas and traditional pooja of Shri Krishna, Shri Mukhya Prana Devaru, and Shri Raghavendra Swamy by Swamiji enhanced the religious and spiritual fervor.
Having embraced sanyas (renouncement of worldly pleasures in exchange for service to mankind and the Almighty) at the age of 12, Swamiji is the 30th pontiff in the 750 years old Indian Vedic traditional lineage of Jagadguru Shree Madhwaachaarya who founded the Dwaitha school of philosophy in the 12th century A.D. He embellished his in-depth study of the Sudha with mastery over Tarka, Vyaakarana, Mimamsa, the supplementary sacred texts needed to complete mastery over the scriptures. He celebrated “Sudha Mangala” several times for scores of students.
Swamiji is the head of over 35 religious and spiritual institutions in India and abroad and is the International President of World Conference of Religions for Peace, (WCRP)New York.
Yet to identify a suitable location, the temple, affiliated to Sujnana Religious & Charitable Foundation (SRCF) offers a special service to Krishna devotees for 48 days.
“For 48 days until Prathistha Mahotsava, devotees can register for an opportunity to invite Lord Shri Krishna to their homes for puja,” said Jayaprasad Acharya, head priest at the Atlanta location. “Additionally, priest services will be made available from Shri Krishna Vrundavana to devotees starting from March 18th, 2018. The idols that taken to different homes are over 750 years old. These idols were handed by Shri Madhwacharya to his disciple Sri Upendracharya and pooja has been performed to the idols every morning and evening since. The same traditional pooja will be performed at every devotee’s home to those idols. There will be a cook who is well versed in cooking satvika food for pooja and functions that are conducted at devotees’ homes or at the temple in the future.”
Jayaprasad Acharya, who has relocated to Atlanta for the purpose of the temple, is the disciple of Swamiji and has learnt all pooja vidhana (process) at Puttige Matha’s Vidhyapeetha.
“The 48 days is the recognition of the 27 nakshatras, 9 Grahas and 12 Raashis as being an integral part of the any new venture. Shri Krishna will travel to all the devotee’s homes these 48 days accepting pooja offerings from devotees as we identify a place for the temple,” he elaborated.
The Vrundavana celebrated Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanti at the residence of various devotees, open to everyone. Even as Shri Krishna finds his permanent abode in Atlanta, those interested in any pooja services or having the pooja of the idol at their home may contact Jayaprasad Acharya at email@example.com. The temple has an active Facebook page Shri Krishna Vrundavana – South East USA which lists other contacts.