Sri Amrutha Sai Narayana Sarweshwaralayam stands serene and majestic in the beautiful countryside of Manakin-Sabot, VA. The temple premises and the surrounding woods emanate an aura of peace, tranquility and positive energy. It owes its existence today to the vision and desire of Pandit Sri B.Rajagopalan (popularly known as Mama) along with a group of sincere devotees as instruments for fulfilling his vision of establishing a unique center of spirituality in Western hemisphere. This humble desire was blessed by Sri V. V. Sridhar Guruji. The temple’s mission is to promote the welfare of humanity in general and specifically to people in this part of the world, through prayers for peace, happiness, health and prosperity of all.
The Beginning: It was in 1998 that Sri Guruji had prophesied Sri Rajagopalan mama’s instrumental role in establishing a temple in the United States of America. On December 27th, 2004, Mama, who used to live in Canada at that time, performed the first “Yantra puja” in Richmond at the residence of Soumya and Siva Gowrishankar .Those who were fortunate to witness the puja were mesmerized by the rituals including elaborate Abhishekam, the divine Vedic chanting and the spiritual energy radiating from the whole process. Smt. Sarada Jammi, who happened to be present during that day was awestruck along with all others who participated in this puja.
Nobody would have been able to guess that one single puja would lead to a series of events that would change people’s lives in a monumental, if intangible, way. In November 2006, when Smt.Sarada expressed a desire to have a place of worship for Baba in Richmond, Mama advised her to start with daily Parayana of Sai Satcharita and to conduct Baba’s Arati at her residence four times a day. His advice was put into action straightaway by Sarada along with other devotees. It was during a subsequent yantra puja at the residence of Sarada and Babu Jammi that Mama predicted that very soon a temple for Baba would be established in Richmond through the hard work of like-minded people.
In January 2007, at the behest of Mama, Smt. Sarada registered a formal organization with the blessings of Baba and Sri Guruji. “Sri Sai Narayana Organization” was founded on 18th January,2007. The spark kindled by the first Yantra puja prompted people to request for similar rituals to be conducted in their own homes. Soon Mama was shuttling between Canada and Richmond to conduct Yantra puja at the houses of devotees, eventually leading to the creation of a core “Satsang” group (congregation).
Once the formal organization came into existence, the next step was to look for a suitable site for the proposed temple. Initially a plot was chosen twenty-five miles away from the current location. But based upon some intuition and the Divine intervention, the current site Manakin -Sabot in Goochland County was found to be on the market for sale. The 5.67 acres of land in the charming, lush green location was meant to be Baba’s home, and things started to fall in place with His grace.
The land was purchased in May 2007 for a total cost of 225K out of which 67K was given in down payment. Two individuals, of which one is not even a person with religious beliefs, came forward to offer an interest free loan of $40,000 and $27,000 respectively.
From that point onwards, Baba’s grace has steered things forward and we have the magnificent temple as it stands now.
Sri Kurma Narayana: Earlier in 2006 July, mama attended a “Prayoga Maha Yagnam” conducted by Pujya Guruji in Srikurmam, Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh. After the Yagnam, Guruji presented him with a statue of Sri Kurma Narayana Murthy and instructed him to take it along with him to North America. As long as he lived in Canada, Mama could never succeed in bringing the vigraham with him, but as soon as he permanently moved to Richmond, the mission was successful after the first Prayoga Yagnam was performed at the temple site and Sri Kurma Narayana reached the USA. It is to be noted that, as Guruji once pointed out, the land of the temple site is shaped as a turtle (“Kurmam” means turtle), with the head in the pond in the Northeast and the tail in the south. (Incidentally, Babu Jammi’s family, for several generations, has been closely associated with the Sri Kurma Narayana Temple in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh).
Sri Kurma Narayana is a powerful deity and prayers to Him help us navigate through daily life with ease.