In the 1980′s Swami Yogeshananda came to Atlanta to introduce Vedanta to the South. The word ‘Vedanta’ being unfamiliar to westerners, a non-profit organization was established a few years later under the name of The Eternal Quest to promote the study and practice of Vedanta. Meetings and classes were held in various rented locations. Afterwards, with the help of friends, a house was purchased in Tucker to establish a permanent center, now known as the Vedanta Center of Atlanta.
Our new chapel was completed in October 2006, and dedicated on January 13, 2007. In January 2009, the Vedanta Society of Southern California sent Swami Brahmavidyananda to Atlanta to carry on the work started by Swami Yogeshananda, who retired to the Trabuco Monastery in California and is now a regular speaker at the Southern California Vedanta Centers. Swami Brahmavidyananda returned to the Hollywood Center in the summer of 2010. Brother Shankara became our spiritual director and Resident Minister in August 2010.
About Our Logo
AUM, or OM, is a syllable in Sanskrit. It is an attempt on the part of the Vedic rishis (seers) to reproduce in human sound their experience of the fundamental vibration of the energy of the universe. It has become the “name of God” and so the root mantra of all mantras, and from it has been derived a profound spiritual philosophy. In our Logo an AUM has been superimposed on a dogwood blossom, symbol of Atlanta, within a border suggesting lotus petals. Design by Larry Berryman, executed in marble by Ode Droit, photographed by Ty Butler, adapted for the web by Jay Moore.
Our Community and Spiritual Leaders
You will find us to be a welcoming, diverse and dedicated community. Together, we hold discussion groups, hold meditation sessions, bring in guest lecturers, and invite monks from other Vedanta Centers to visit us and share their wisdom. We continuously engage in our interfaith work with the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta and other interfaith groups. We invite you to join us at any time.
Swami Swahananda is a very senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order. Born in 1921 in Habiganj in what is now Bangladesh, he received initiation from Swami Vijnanananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. He joined the Order in 1947 and was ordained a sannyasin in 1956. He came to the United States in 1968, and has been head of the Hollywood center since 1976.
Brother Shankara is the current spiritual director and Resident Minister of theCenter.
Swami Prabhavananda accepted Gary Kemper as a disciple in 1973 and gave him the name Shankara in 1975. Swami Swahananda initiated Br. Shankara in 1977. For the next 33 years Shankara continued his life as a householder and served the Swami and the Vedanta Society of Southern California in various capacities, including Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He received Brahmacharya vows after his wife of 48 years died in November 2009. In June 2010, Swami Swahananda appointed Br. Shankara as Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Atlanta. He began serving here in August.
Previously, under Swami Swahananda’s direction, Br. Shankara assisted in founding the Vedanta Center of Greater Washington, DC; Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely; and Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashramas in Phoenix AZ, Pittsburgh PA, and Raleigh NC. He also helped establish several non-profit religious organizations, including American Service to India, and the Ramakrishna Foundation.
Swami Yogeshananda nurtured and guided our community for about two decades before retiring to the California monastery in March 2009.
Swami Brahmavidyananda took over as the interim director and he returned to the Hollywood Vedanta temple in June 2010.
Vedanta Center of Atlanta Board of Directors
|Revathi Venkataramani, Member|
Our Center’s board of directors and executive leaders are elected by the general body during our annual general meeting. The board is responsible for all activities, operations and finances of the Center, which is a non-profit and tax-exempt entity.