Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 3 May 2013.
Address: Various homes, Atlanta, GA 30303
Activities and ScheduleThe group recites the Sundarkand (a chapter from Tulsidas' Ramayan) once or twice a month usually on Sunday mornings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Saturday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The recitations are scheduled for the entire year in advance and are hosted at alternating homes. The group generally performs Akhand Ramayan (a recitation of the whole Hindi Ramayan over 24 hours) once a year around Navratri. Sometimes families will host an Akhand Ramayan when they move into a new house.
HistoryA group of friends had been thinking about how they could start a group in which their children could learn about Hinduism and Indian culture. Krishnakanta (called Didiji), an Indian woman who now lives in an ashram in Kent, Ohio that is tied to the Brahmrishi mission in Pinjore, Jaryana, India, knew some families in Birmingham. After she visited them she visited Atlanta and met some of these friends at a Divali function at the India American Cultural Association in Smyrna, GA in October 1988. They asked her how they could start something. She suggested that they start a group that would recite the Sundarkand, a chapter from Tulsidas version of the Ramayana. The group began with about five families. As they invited other friends the group kept increasing every year. originally each family would host a katha twice a year. As the groups grew new members wanted to host one. There are now 18 kathas scheduled at 18 different houses in 1999.
DemographicsAll participants are Indian with about 80% Punjabi. They speak mostly Punjabi and Hindi. Parents often bring their children and sometimes their elderly parents so all ages are represented.
DescriptionThe group moves from house to house for each event. Generally, the katha is hosted in a family's living room, den, or basement. A large altar consisting of various images and pictures of Hindu deities is usually at one end of the room and serves as a focal point for worship.
Group ActivitiesBefore the group recites the Sundarkand a lay leader conducts a puja, which she learned from Didiji. During this puja the leader recites mantras and instructs the host family in a ritual. The group then sings a song for Ganesh before reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. They then read the Sundarkand, which usually takes a little over an hour to recite. After the Sundarkand they sing different bjajans led by various participants. The leader then usually announces when the next katha will be before the group sings another song. The group then does arti before sharing a meal that the hosts have prepared. This research was done in June, 1999 by Jennifer Saunders.