Charlotte Ashram & Sri Lakshmihayagriva Sannidhi – Parakala Ashram and Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva Sannidhi, Charlotte, NC, USA
PARAKALA ASHRAM & SRI LAKSHMI HAYAGRIVA SANNIDHI
8616, Robinson Forest Dr., Charlotte, NC, 28277
ādhāraṁ sarvavidyānāṁ hayagrīvaṁ upāsmahe||
Introduction to the Ashram
About Parakala Mutt and the Deity
Welcome to the Parakala Ashram and Lakshmi Hayagriva Sannidhi at Charlotte, NC. This Ashram is operated by the Parakala Lakshmi Hayagriva Mission, USA, Inc (PLM, USA), a religious nonprofit organization registered in the State of New Jersey in 2014. The organization is affiliated with the Brahmatantra Swatantra Parakala Swamy Mutt, headquartered in Mysuru, India and having branches all across India. Established in the 12th Century AD by Swami Nigamantha Mahadeshikan at Tuppul in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, this is the oldest Srivaishnava Mutt in India. It follows the Vishishtadvaita Philosophy propounded by Srimad Ramanujacharya, whose 1000th birth anniversary was celebrated in 2017. Starting from Sri Brahmatantra who was the first Pontiff (Peethadhipathi or Acharya) of the Mutt installed by Swami Deshikan, there have been 36 peethadipathis in an unbroken lineage. The present Acharya, HH Srimad Abhinava Vageesha Brahmatantra Swatantra Parakala Mahdeshikan is the 36th Peethadhipathi. The octogenarian Acharya continues to provide the spiritual guidance and and leadership to his innumerable disciples all over the world. PLM, USA and this Parakala Ashram have been created as per his wishes and with his blessings to bring this tradition into the lives of the devotees in the US.
The Presiding Deity of the Mutt is Lord Lakshmi Hayagriva – the Horse-Faced God of Knowledge and Learning. This Deity is worshiped by millions of Hindus to-day as the God that bestows knowledge, intelligence and success in educational endeavors of men, women and children of all ages. Often, they seek Lord Lakshmi Hayagriva’s blessings while starting teaching of the alphabets to the children, or while they are going through their college admissions and professional career in their adult life, or in the later years of their life for a clear healthy mind and memory. A small Vigraham (“Idol”) of the Lord, worshiped originally by Srimad Ramanuja and subsequently by Swami Deshikan and every one of the 36 pontiffs of the Mutt (and not touched by anyone else), is still being worshiped at the Mutt in India.
Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva Vigraham at this Ashram in Charlotte
In 2011 on the request of a number of its disciples and Lakshmi Hyagriva devotees in the US, Parakala Mutt agreed to let an exact replica of its ancient and sacred Original Vigraham of Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva be cast in metal by an expert artist skilled in making such vigrahams. The Vigraham was then consecrated by the Pontiff himself in a grand ceremony at Hyderabad in India. He then performed with his own hands daily Pooja and sravanam abhishekams to this Vigraham along with the Original Vigraham at the Mutt for a few months. The Vigraham was then brought by us to the US. This is the Vigraham that is now adorning the Shrine at this Ashram along with the vigrahams of Srimad Ramanuja and Swami Deshikan.
Ashram Philosophy and Worship Method
Parakala Mutt follows the Srivaishnava doctrine as propounded by Srimad Ramanuja. It is based on the philosophy that Bhakti (devotion) culminating in Parapatti (Total Surrender) to the Supreme Being, Narayana is the Path for MokSha. Narayana alone is both the Means and the Goal of the Moksha aspirant. Absolute faith in Him and performance of unconditional and selfless Service to Him and His devotees during one’s life time here on this earth, followed by Eternal Service to Him in His Abode of Paramapada form the centerpiece of Srivaishnava Philosophy. Ramanuja taught and practiced that any one and every one who follows the above principles will attain Moksha regardless of who he or she is and what status she or he occupies in this world.
At the Ashram we follow the Pancharatra Agama system of worship as in many other temples. The priest who has received formal deeksha (initiation) is the only one who is eligible to touch and offer pooja to the Deity on behalf of the devotees. Also, cooked food being offered to the Deity has to be prepared only by a person who has had samashrayanam (initiation) in the Srivaishnava tradition. So long as these few traditional protocols are respected, any one can come in and worship Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva and receive His blessings. The Ashram remains open to the public. We invite and welcome every one regardless of their race, religion, creed or gender to come and participate in the worship services and other activities at the Ashram.
The Aradhanam for Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva is performed every day in the morning and evening seven days a week as required by the Agama shastra and Parakala Mutt tradition. However, the Ashram is open to the public for worship as shown below. These hours can be increased in the future depending on devotee attendance. If any devotee wants to visit the Ashram outside these published hours, please contact the Priest or Sri Ranganath who may be able to accommodate their visit.
Mondays, Tuesdays: CLOSED
Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: Open 6 PM- 8 PM
Saturdays and Sundays: Open 8.30 AM – 2 PM, 4 PM – 8.30 PM
Ashram Timings when Deity is on Sancharam:
Open during weekends 9 AM- 12 Noon; and 5 PM – 8PM
(Volunteers will conduct group recitation sessions, discussion activities during these hours. A proxy idol of Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva will adorn the shrine as the “Place Holder” during the absence of the Deity, though there is no formal pooja).
We have resumed the Ashram activities at Charlotte as per the normal timings. However, visitors are requested to contact the Priest in advance to schedule their visit.
May Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva keep us all safe.
Priest: Sri Ranganath Bhattar
Tel: (925) 205-6867
Meet our new Priest
Sri Ranganath Bhattar
Sri Ranganath Bangalore Madhavabhattar joined the Ashram as our new Resident Priest from Dec 3, 2019. He replaces Sri Narayana Bhattar who served temporarily as Resident Priest prior to that.
Sri Ranganath Bhattar hails from a well respected family of priests. He has been rendering priestly services under the tutelage of his father and two elder brothers all of whom are priests at the Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple at Malleswaram, which is one of the well known temples in the city of Bangalore. At the young age of 23, he has completed two levels of Agama examinations, and has more than five years of practical experience in the Pancharatara Agama system of worship. He is literate in Sanskrit and has had several years of training in the chanting of Yajurveda and Tamil Divya prabandham. He is well trained in the performance of all the common vedic rituals, pujas and homams, etc.at the Ashram and at devotee homes.
Ranganath Bhattar is also a very energetic and enthusiastic young man and is eager to serve Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva and His devotee community in the Charlotte area and across the US during the sancharams. He has a Bachelor’s degree in commerce from Bangalore University. He speaks Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and English. Please welcome him to the Ashram and extend your support to him.