Nestled in the beautiful setting of the rural Pensylvannnia woodlands, Jesus Datta Retreat Center in West Sunbury, has evolved into a peaceful refuge, perfect for meditation in natural surroundings. Approximately 50 miles north of Pittsburgh this unique spiritual Center was established in 1986 by Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji.
The USA Tour
During the 1980 visit, Sri Swamiji went to Pittsburgh where He said, " My USA tour begins now". It was from that time onwards many people started taking an interest in Sri Swamiji. Padma met Sri Swamiji at the Unity Church where she used to be a manager. Most likely this meeting was one of the main reasons that Swamiji came to Pittsburgh in 1980. During this tour, Sri Swamiji spoke a bit about the Bermuda Triangle and said "He could decipher the mystery surrounding it" (a few years ago, Swamiji once again commented about the Bermuda Triangle, but this time He said: " People talk about the Bermuda Triangle. Swamiji has centers in California, Baton Rouge and West Sunbury, that is the triangle. " So, that is a hint abut the sacred geography of Sri Swamiji's Centers in the USA. When Sri Swamiji was asked to explain, He just said, "you will see". Basically everything that Swamiji is doing has a purpose connected (as we are all aware), but we don't understand it.
During this Pittsburgh visit, Sri Swamiji stayed with Padma in Fredericktown, PA. The first public programs were held in Pittsburgh.
Formation of DYC Pittsburgh Chapter
DYC in Fredericktown was inaugurated in 1986. Sri Swamiji requested that a Datta temple be built in USA, because He forecasted a big world war in the year 2025. Swamiji visited the present DYC Pittsburgh site in West Sunbury and "found" the 3 sacred rocks on the land that was inherited by padma. His decision to build an ashram was made. Interestingly, in 1981 padma was in Trinidad, she had asked Sri Swamiji if it was OK to sell that property. Sri Swamiji began to say 'OK', but then immediately changed His answer and said "No, there is some purpose for it".
Padma, Ramana, Joshua and Carol moved to DRC. In August Sri Swamiji visited DRC (then DYC) for 2 weeks. Prana Prathistha was performed for Datta and Lakshmi (idols brought from India by Joshua and Carol). A 3-day Kriya Yoga course was offered at Slippery Rock University. Meditation music concerts were held at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Pittsburgh, and Slippery Rock University. The deities were installed first and later a temple was built around it. Swamiji infused "Shakti" into the Vishnu and Shiva rocks. A Datta Yantra was carved into the surface of the Vishnu rock. Swamiji referred to DRC as the "American Kedarnath". He says that " it is a Nature center, a Universal temple and a Healing center " and commanded all devotees to come and touch the rocks. Lakshminarayana touched the rocks and received an "electric Shock" like feeling. Datta Temple construction began to enclose the Murthi's. Joshua and Nancy along with an architect developed the temple design. devotees from Europe, Canada and USA, donated generously to truly make this a universal temple.
Sri Swamiji visited DRC and performed Kumbhabhishekam of Datta temple on Varaha Jayanti (also Earth Day). Again, Sri Swamiji invested His Shakti into the rocks and deities. Swamiji also stated that DRC would save Swamiji's mission.
Birth of Datta Retreat Center
During this visit of Sri Swamiji to West Sunbury, every thing changed. The prayers of many of His devotees were answered. He entered the door of Datta Temple and spent a few minutes looking at, may be talking to, Datta and Lakshmi. Later Sri Swamiji said that Datta spoke to Him and said, "Do not close the Center". Immediately He met with all the gathered devotees and asked for volunteers to support DYC by pledging $50 per month for the rest of their life. Sixteen devotes readily volunteered and received Sri Swamiji's blessings. He renamed that site as "Datta Retreat Center". Later Sri Swamiji selected a 13 member local Executive Committee to maintain the Center. Then Sri Swamiji surprised every body by proposing a plan to construct a meeting hall and a small house for Swamiji. Funds were collected to start the construction of the Prayer/Meeting Hall.
Year of the Guru Nilayam
At Datta Retreat Center Sri Swamiji inaugurated the newly built Guru Nilayam by cutting a ribbon on July 10. The 12 year anniversary of the Prana Prathistha for the Temple was celebrated with accompanying Homa, Puja and Abhishekam, while Sri Swamiji sat on the largest Sacred Rock for hours, speaking, Blessing, giving darshan and holy prasadam, conducting most of the program while thrilling the devotees with His Presence in that lovely nature setting. The daily program was replete with other puja's special events and evening music programs and ended with a fireworks display on the last evening. His mood was so relaxed throughout and all the devotees could enjoy that serene atmosphere. Sri Swamiji also visited the newly constructed parking lot, and met with the Executive Committee to discuss future plans for the Center.
Jayalakshmi Mata's Aradhana and Construction of Kitchen
Sri Swamiji inagurates new Kitchen building. Plans for Unity Hall are set in motion. Sri Swamiji performs Sri Jayalakshmi Mata's Aradhana for the first time outside of India.
Guru Purnima in DRC
Feb: Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji (Sri Swamiji's successor) visits Datta Retreat Center for the first time. July: Celebration of Guru Purnima at the feet of Sri Swamiji.
JDRC Land Purchace
Sri Swamiji made a special visit to JDRC during which time the land surrounding the JDRC was put up for sale. With Sri Swamiji's vision and direction we were able to acquire the land and expand JDRC for the first time.
Kriya Yoga and International Conference
A 3 day course of Kriya Yoga with Sri Swamiji was conducted at JDRC. It was a unique experience with more than 200 people participated.
This was a special occasion where multiple priests performed the Maha Rudram over 4 days.
On this special occasion Sri Swamiji instituted the Patron Membership to continue to preserve JDRC.