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Gary Kemper, (Br. Shankara) is the spiritual director and Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Atlanta. He began to study at the Vedanta Society of Southern California (VSSC) in 1973; his guru, Swami Prabhavananda, gave him the name Shankara in 1975. When Prabhavananda died in 1976, Swami Swahananda became Head Minister of VSSC. For the next 34 years Shankara continued his life as a householder and served the Swami and VSSC in various capacities, including Secretary of the Board of Trustees. When his wife of 48 years died in November 2009, Shankara took brahmacharya vows, becoming a monk. Swami Swahananda appointed Br. Shankara as Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Atlanta in June 2010; he moved here in August of that year. Previously, under Swami Swahananda’s direction, Br. Shankara assisted in founding the Vedanta Center of Greater Washington, DC; Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely; and Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashramas in Phoenix AZ, Pittsburgh PA, and Raleigh NC. He also helped establish several non-profit religious organizations, including American Service to India, and the Ramakrishna Foundation.
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