Shilanyas of Atlanta Center
Published: Feb 09, 2014
The upcoming new Radha Krishna Mandir and Community Center, Yugal Kunj in Duluth, Georgia, has been generating some excitement in the Atlanta community. A milestone was marked on December 28, 2013 with the auspicious foundation-stone laying ceremony (shilanyas vidhi) for the auspicious beginning of construction of the center on its sprawling acreage. The event was organized by Radha Madhav Society under the august guidance of Siddheshvari Devi Ji, lovingly known to all as Didi Ji. The ceremony was performed by Pundit Rangacharya. Partaking in the ceremony was like a dream come true for all participants, and the excitement of devotees and volunteers was palpable.
Along with other volunteers, the youth volunteers were the life blood of this event and they were all happily engaged in seva. It was a joy to behold that even the very young children pitched in with full enthusiasm.
There were enclosed tents for seating at the ceremony, a food area, and a special children’s area. Each section was kept warm with fresh firewood that was constantly replenished. Most of the site was under construction with unpaved roads. Coordinating parking for everyone was a challenge in itself for the volunteers but everything went smoothly. Despite a strong forecast of rain throughout the day, the first drops fell only when the entire ceremony was complete.
During the ceremony, the land was sanctified. Forgiveness was asked from trees, birds, animals, and insects that would be affected by the construction. Ganesh pooja was then performed followed by Nav Graha pooja of all cardinal directions.
Didi Ji led everyone present to the main site where the heart of the Mandir would be. The foundation stone was laid by Didi Ji and Braj-raj (the dust of holy Vrindavan) was sprinkled on the ground by her.
The vision of Didi Ji for the Radha Krishna Temple and Community Center is to help families lead happy, healthy and spiritually balanced lives, carry out humanitarian and community service activities, and conduct Hindu youth camps and family retreats.
Didi Ji has envisioned a Mandir that is not merely built by bricks and stones, but by a spirit of harmony and community. Her wish for us is to have a sense of ownership and get involved with this project. This center will not just be a place of worship, but will also serve as a home for humanitarian, cultural, and spiritual activities that will benefit the devotees and everyone in the local community.
The event concluded with everyone getting blessings and prasad from Didi Ji. This was followed by Maha Prasad. Throughout the event, the young ones were kept busy with games, face painting, and even an animated movie on Lord Krishna.
One age group that Didi Ji wishes to reach out to is the seniors. Elders in our community are a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. Didi Ji wishes to create an integrated program where children can benefit tremendously by learning from their elders.