Jagannath Society Of The Americas (JSA) was established in 1992. That year the deities Lord Shri Jagannath, Shri Balabhadra and Devi Shubhadra along with Sudarshan and Garuda were established in Shri Ganesh temple at Nashville, TN. This is the first time, with the lead of few Oriya families; the ChaturdhaMurati was installed as deities anywhere in North America. The principle behind the formation of JSA was to promote Jagannath philosophy among the Indians and others in North America. It has been actively involved in sponsoring festivals, dancers, singers, and Jagannath philosophers and scholars from India and abroad. The same year, with the co-operation of Indian community, JSA celebrated the Sri GundichaJatra and BahudaJatra.
The JSA celebrates all the festivals of Puri temple. All the Puja Bidhis are followed as prescribed by the Puri temple. The Nashville temple priests are specially trained in Shri Jagannath puja padhattis.The temple celebrates the Netroschab, Deva ShnanaPurnima, Anashara, RathaJatra, BahudaJatra, KartikaPurnima etc. The puja of the deities takes place twice every day. However every Sunday morning, there is puja and bhajans for an hour by the community followed by the Prasad. The Prasad was cooked in typical Oriya style and about 75 people eat free every Sunday.On the RathaJatraday the Prasad is cooked in Puri temple style and the Prasad to Lord is served in clay pots.The servers keep their face covered with cloth as done in Puri. Every year on the Rath Jatra and BahudaJatra days at least 500 people eat the Prasad. On that day JSA invites, a scholar to speak on Jagannath philosophy, a professional Odissi dancer or a group to dance in front of Lord, and a professional singer to sing to the lord.
Over the years the organization has managed to transform itself from a struggling inception to a well-coordinated entity that is able to complete several annual endeavors. JSA prints and distributes an annual calendar to all JSA and OSA members free of charge. It also takes active part in establishing the Lord anywhere in USA or India. JSA also have published a prayer book consisting of Oriya JagannathBhajans of famous Oriya poets and in process of publishing another soon. JSA has distributed these Bhajan books to many temples free of cost. It has also produced JagannathBhajan CDs and distributed it free of cost to the community.
Our past guest lists are long, but to mention few scholars: the ambassador to USA Dr. Manshing. Chief justice Hon. RangaNath Misra, Famous writers Prof. Santanu Acharya, Smt. Manorama Mahapatra, Prof. Hrudananda Roy, Prof. Nrushingha Panda, Prof. Kahnu Misra, Prof. Chandrasekar Misra, Prof. Rajat Kar, Dr. Kabi Misra etc.
Similarly; among the singers to name a few, Smt. Sunanda Pattanaik, Sjt. Bhikari Bala, Prafulla Kara, Maha Prasad Kara. Akhay Mohanty, Pranab Pattnaik, Binod Bihari Panda have pleased the Lord with their melody.
The dances of Odiya artists to the melodies of Gita Govinda and Dasha Avatar has captured and enlightened the Americans and Indians alike of our Odiya culture.
With the main objective of spreading Jagannath culture, while expressing and experiencing their love and devotion for Lord Jagannath, the devotees of Nashville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama area decided to install the shrines of Lord Balabhadra, Jagannath, Shubhadra and Sudarshan at Sri Ganesh Temple of Nashville. In April 1992, the Pratistha was accomplished with His blessings as per the traditional Vedic rituals. This is the first time the ChaturdhaMurati, the Aradhyas of Odiyas, were installed in any Hindu temple in USA with observance of many traditional rituals round the year.
Jagannath Society Of The Americas, a non- profit religious and cultural organization was established and Nashville was pronounced as Srikshetra of USA and the headquartersof JSA. The main objective was to promote Jagannath philosophy and expand its cultural, religious, educational realms while encouraging devotees for charitable activities in USA, Canada and India.
Ratha Jatra and Bahuda Jatras are very popular and attracts a large number of devotees at the Nashville temple. These are considered as one of the most important festivals of our temple. Usually Yajna, Rathapuja and all other rituals are done as per Vedic recommendations. Every year JSA invites renowned literary figures, philosophers, scholars from India mostly from Odisha,who enlighten devotees with their discourse about Jagannath philosophy. JSA also brings eminent singers and classical Odissi dancers to perform in front of the lords on the RathaJatra day. JSA conducted the first Ratha and Bahuda Jatrasin 1993. It has continuedto keep this tradition in observing both festivalsevery single year since then.
In the past along with the religious and cultural aspects JSA also participated in helping to fund various natural calamities in Odisha and other places. After the super cyclone a sum of Thirty two lakhs was spent in constructing a building to work as floodshelter for the people of Puri. Ordinarily this building is used as a school during the non-flood times.
JSA has been a pioneer in publishing several Bhajan books which were mailed to more than two thousand Odiya homes in past years and continues to do so. JSA also has distributed more than two thousandJagannathBhajan CDs to devotees.
JSA publishes Odiya calendar anddelivers to more than 2,000 devotees every year in U.S and Canada.
JSA has also established a library with a fine collection of Oriya books at the Ganesh temple.
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