NEW YORK, USA, October 22, 2023 (press release): In the small town of Elmira, New York, Swami Paramahamsa Vishwananda completed the inauguration of the Paranitya Narasimha Temple and ashram on September 3, 2023. It was the culmination of a massive undertaking by a mere handful of his American devotees and monks. Hundreds of people from around the world made the pilgrimage to attend. Devotees from Russia, Brazil, Canada, India and Africa all landed in the small town of Elmira to be volunteer and help at this historic event.

The main deity of the temple is Paranitya Narasimha, the eternal form of Narasimha. He first appeared on December 22, 2011 in Germany as an ishtadev for American Swami Tulsidas. This sixteen-armed version of Narasimha represents the sixteen shaktis of a poornavatar. Paramahamsa Vishwananda explained that Narasimha is the cosmic power of God manifest…which creates, sustains, and destroys infinite Universes. He also says He is the most merciful of all the avatars. Guruji’s dream of bringing Paranitya Narasimha to America has resulted in the largest Narasimha temple in the United States.

The Lady of Lourdes church and monastery, built in 1940, had stood empty for years. When the small group of Bhakti Marga monks pulled up in their U-haul after surviving one of the worst blizzards in American history, there was no heat, water, or electricity. And, as many Hindu monks have done for millennia, they lived a life of austerity while fulfilling their guru’s wish to establish an ashram in America. The entire church had to be stripped down, and prepared for the weight of the massive deities that were being shipped from India.

Paranitya Narasimha arrived from South India during the winter of 2022. It took two and a half years for the black granite carving to be completed and shipped. Paranitya Narasimha is 8 feet 3 inches tall, and weighs 3.5 tons. The priests arrived from Atlanta, Detroit, and Columbus to perform the installation rituals. The Head Priest, (Sriman) Samudrala Venkatacharyulu, traveled from Pittsburgh. The other priests were Srimannarayana Puranam, Samavendam Laxminarsimhacharyul, Murali Krishnamac Gudimella-Tirumala, and Vidyasagar Acharyulu.

On August 28th, 2023, the inauguration began. Each day of the inauguration witnessed more and more energy descending. The four arms of the Hari Bhakta Sampradaya were on full display as rituals, yoga, meditation, knowledge lectures by the swamis, and kirtan electrified the community. The priests started the four day event with very strict instructions about how everything was to proceed. By the last day, as the thousand people in the church danced and sang until the walls shook, the priests admitted they had never witnessed such a display of Bhakti.