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Ananthaadi Raayara Matha of Atlanta celebrates 352nd Aaradhana Mahotsava of Shri Raghavendra Swamy

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, September 16, 2023: The Ananthaadi Raayara Matha of Atlanta (RAMA) celebrated the 352nd Aaradhana Mahotsava of Shri Raghavendra Swamy (Rayaru) with devotional fervor and traditional customs. The Mahotsava spanned across three days with August 31, & September 1 celebrations at 1060 Rocky Road, Lawrenceville, culminating to a grand finale on September 2, 2023 at Gadhpurdham Swaminarayan temple in Norcross. Over 500 devotees joined the celebrations over three days with visitors from various states including Florida, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

Shri Raghavendra Swami is a 16th century saint, and Guru, who advocated Vaishnavism and popularized the Dvaita philosophy of Madhvacharya. Each year, the day he entered Jeeva Samadhi (Brindavana) at Mantralayam and believed to live in a metaphysical form for 700 years, is observed as the Raghavendra Aaradhane. Aaradhane is celebrated on the second day during the Shukla Paksha in the month of Shravana, as per the south Indian calendar. Generally, it is three-day celebration, the first day known as Purva Aaradhane, the second day, Madhya Aaradhane and the third, Uttara Aaradhane.

“This year’s Aaradhane was planned with a self-sufficient theme that included using banana leaves to serve food, Tulasi leaves for decorating and garland making, and plenty of vegetables for preparation of Prasaada, all of which were home grown,” Pradeep Vittalamurthy, Founder, Chairman, RAMA said.

Amongst others, a highlight included Ashirvachana, (video) message from the Peetaadhipati of Mantralaya Matha Shree Shree Subhudendra Theertharu, addressing all the RAMA devotees. Various poojas performed includied Parimala Seva, Paaduka Seva, Pallakki Sewa, Pushpa Sewa, Sarva Sewa, Kanakabhisheka, Asttora Sewa, Unjal Sewa and Panchamrutha Sewa..

Devotees were served an elaborate traditional meal including ladoos made by RAMA devotees, hyagriva (amidst others), on home grown banana leaves.

A beautifully decked Pallakki (palanquin) parade carried Lakshmi Narasimha deity and Prahlada idol accompanied by dances and rendition of hari bajans. The celebrations concluded with Uyyale (Unjal) (crib) seve that symbolically rests God and Rayaru for the day.

Aaradhane celebrations also highlighted RAMA Gurukula’s efforts with RAMA Gurukula students (100+ students from 3 years old+ children, women, men and teachers) chanting shlokas, bhajans, Bhagavadgeeta, and presentations of various subjects including ‘Importance of Sandhyavandane’, ‘Three avatars of Vayu – Hanuma, Bhima & Madhwa’, ‘Brief history of Rayaru’, ‘Works of Rayaru’ and ‘Details of Mantralaya’s Rayara Brundavana’. Cultural programs included dances from RAMA Nrityalaya and Haridaasara composition from RAMA Dasakalarava.

“It was very satisfying to see 500+ people being involved and getting blessed from Rayaru on his 352nd Aaradhane on all three days. Special thanks to all the devotees who traveled outside of Atlanta and made special efforts to come and witness Aaradhane in Atlanta,” Vittalamurthy said.

Shri Rāghavēndra was a Hindu scholar, theologian and saint. His diverse oeuvre includes commentaries on the works of Madhwa, Jayatirtha, Vyasatirtha, interpretation of Upanishads from the Dvaitaand standpoint a treatise on Purva Mimamsa. An accomplished Veena player, he has composed several songs under pen name Venu Gopala. He served as the pontiff of Madhwacharya Mutt at Kumbakonam from 1624-1871. His Brindavana in Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh attracts thousands each year.

Devotees enjoyed the festivities with an elaborate traditional food spread. For details about the Matha you can check https://atlantarayaramath.org/.

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