[Advaita-l] First Sharada temple outside India in Pennsylvania

Abhishek RK rkabhi at gmail.com
Sat Nov 26 05:33:49 CST 2005

First Sharada temple outside India in Pennsylvania

2005-11-24 Published by newindpress.com Gathered by Press Trust of

NEW YORK,NOVEMBER 24: Devotees across the US can now offer prayers
at the imposing new Sharada temple, an extension of the
Shankaracharya monastery in Sringeri, Karnataka. This Sringeri
Sadhana Center nestled amid Poconos Mountains in Stroudsburg,
eastern Pennsylvania, is the first 'cardinal monastery' of Sringeri
outside India. The centre crossed yet another milestone in its 10-
year-old history with a bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) for
its new temple in August. The centre has Sharada, goddess of
learning, as its presiding deity. The idea is to have an imposing
Sharada temple in Stroudsburg, which will be a replica of its great
centre in Sringeri. Its design on stone will bring out the message
of Advaita, which are the preachings of saint-philosopher-poet Adi
Sankara. Its gopuram has been designed to provide solace for the
grieving and encouragement for those seeking spiritual truths. While
most other Hindu orders have expanded overseas since early 19th
century, the Adi Sankara order was prevented by its centuries-old
strictures of crossing the 'dark waters'- till Sri Bharati Tirtha
Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru Sankaracharya of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham
ruled in 1995 that the Poconos Mountain centre should be taken up by
his devotees. A group of mainstream American devotees has been
running the centre for 20 years now. On facing financial problems,
the Shankaracharya intervened, instructing his international
devotees to form a board and get the Poconos centre going. "He
instructed his devotees to purchase the centre lest it be lost,"
Hinduism Today wrote in its December 1997 issue. "Now it is an
official extension of the ancient Sri Sharada Peetham of the
Sringeri Mutt, with His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha as its spiritual
head." The Sringeri Sankaracharya appointed Ravi Subramanian,
formerly research scientist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in
Mumbai and Bell Labs, New Jersey, and currently principal engineer
with Andrew Corporation in Warren, New Jersey, as its first
chairman. "The Foundation was formed," Hinduism Today said. "The
nearly defunct Rajarajeshwari centre was renovated and renamed
Sringeri Sadhana Center, becoming the executive arm of the
foundation." The first event in 1995 at the renamed centre was a
Vedic summer camp. It was followed by Ati Rudra Mahayagna in 1997.
The bhoomi pujan for the Sharada Temple was followed by a change at
the helm of the foundation. Subramanian passed the baton on to S.
Yegnasubramanian, scientist at Lucent Technologies, who had chaired
the centre's earlier mega event, a vedic yagna, which had never been
performed in America before. Both the yagna and the bhoomi pujan had
some aims. The immediate one was to add to the prosperity of the US.
The other aim was to enhance the social status of India's neglected
Vedic priestly classes. "The Ati Rudra Maha Yagna was witnessed by
6,000 devotees. Vedic priests, numbering 120, surrounded 11 fire
altars in a huge yagnasala (worship hall) at the centre in
Stroudsburg. The event cost 0,000, nearly half of which was used to
bring 81 qualified priests from India for the ceremony. Permanent
improvements at the centre consumed 0,000. The affair proved costly
and complex to organize.

bhava Sankara deSika me saraNam

sadASiva samArambham SankaracArya madhymam
asmadAcArya paryantam vande guru paramparam

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list