Prasanthi Nilayam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, A.P.

Prasanthi Nilayam (14°9.91′N 77°48.70′E / 14.16517°N 77.81167°E / 14.16517; 77.81167, 800 meters (2624 feet) above sea level[1]) is the main ashram of Sathya Sai Baba. The "township of Prasanthi Nilayam is located in the village of Puttaparthi, the hamlet where Sathya Sai Baba was born. This area is part of the Anantapur district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in South India."[2]

Main entrance to Prasanthi Nilayam

"Prasanthi Nilayam" means literally "Abode of the Highest Peace."[1][2] Sathya Sai Baba gave daily darshan to his thousands of devotees in this ashram. Sathya Sai Baba was "usually present in Prasanthi Nilayam from early June to the middle of March."[2]

History[edit]

At the age of seventeen, Sathya Sai Baba told one devotee, "The Sai Pravesh (the advent of Sai) will transform that region into Prasanthi Pradesh (a region of highest peace). There will rise a bhavan (mansion)! Lakhs of people from all over India, why only India, from all over the world, will come and wait there for Sai darshan!"[3]

In 1944 a mandir was built to facilitate the growing number of Sai Baba devotees.[4] It is now commonly referred to as the "old mandir."[5][6] Prasanti Nilayam was inaugurated on 23 November 1950, the 24th birthday of Sathya Sai Baba and its construction lasted about two years[4] "Sathya Sai Baba can be said to be the architect and engineer who directed the entire work for construction",[4] says Narayana Kasturi. Sathya Sai Baba "supervised the construction, acquiring of equipment, and watched over the devotees who, standing in long queues along the slope of the hill, passed from hand to hand metal, stones, bricks, water, mud, mortar, and everything needed for the structure that dominates the landscape today."[4]

There are stories of the problems faced in trying to "transport huge heavy girders for the central prayer hall," as they had to come "from near Trichinopoly by train to Penukonda ... (and then had to be) brought over the District Board Road, sixteen miles long with a sandy stream at the seventh mile."[4]

The mandir was painted blue, yellow, and pink "communicating the message of the harmony of spirit, intellect, and heart respectively; for blue stands for spirit, yellow for intellect, and pink for heart (love). The rich harmony of the three does result in santhi (peace) and Prasanthi (supreme peace); and that really is the message of the Prasanthi mandir."[3]

"In October 1957 a hospital was inaugurated on the hill behind the Nilayam."[4]

Poornachandra Auditorium was built in 1973. "It is the venue for conducting cultural programmes, conferences and yagnas during Dasara."[7] It can seat around 15,000 people in the 60 x 40-metre area.[7] Sathya Sai Baba's "simple living quarters are upstairs above the stage."[8]

Chaitanya Jyoti, a world-religions museum

The Sarva Dharma Stupa, "a 50 ft high pillar celebrating the unity of all religions, was built in November 1975 to mark the advent of the Avatar."[9]

Sai Kulwant Hall is where daily darshan took place.[9] "It is a spacious enclosure"[8] with a seating capacity of about 20,000.[8][9] Sai Kulwant Hall is between Sathya Sai Baba's residence (Yajur Mandir) and the Prasanti Mandir. The "carved icons of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman were blessed" by Sathya Sai Baba on 30 September 1999.[9]

Sathya Sai Music College, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Prasanti Nilayam ashram hosts mandirs: a Ganesha Mandir, Subramanya Mandir, Gayatri Mandir,[7] a meditation tree (planted by Sai Baba in 1950),[8][9] two museums (the Eternal Heritage Museum and the Chaitanya Jyothi Museum[9][10]), North and South Indian canteens, a Western canteen[11] and the administration buildings for the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Sri Sathya Sai University).[9]

"There is a branch office of the State Bank of India in Prasanthi Nilayam itself."[12]

Ashram policies[edit]

The sculpture of Jesus Christ in the ashram Prasanthi Nilayam

Certain guidelines and codes of conduct have been laid down for devotees while in the ashram.[13] Devotees are asked to "dress in modest, clean and sober clothing at all times." [13] As far as socializing, "men and women are not expected to mix for the sake of passing time either outside or inside the rooms."[13] Other ashram rules include,

  • maintaining silence
  • restricting behavior that will cause a disturbance to others, e.g., not playing radios loudly, no loud singing of bhajans by groups or individuals, keeping children under control, etc.
  • smoking, gambling, consumption of alcoholic beverages or non-vegetarian food (including eggs), and drugs are strictly forbidden
  • devotees are asked not to "associate with strangers"[13] and to "beware of cheats and persons collecting funds."[13] The ashram explicitly warns people to be wary of "those who claim close association with Sai Baba or claim to have inner messages or special blessings of Sathya Sai Baba."[13]
  • additional guidelines for safety and cleanliness[13]

Ashram schedule (as of 3 May 2011)[edit]

Western Canteen, Prasanthi Nilayam

5:00 AM Temple bell rings 9 times
5:10 AM Temple bell rings 5 times
5:20 AM Temple bell rings once, followed by 21 Aumkars then Suprabhatham
5:40 AM Veda chanting around the ashram, then Nagarsankirtan
8:00 AM Veda chanting in Sai Kulwant Hall
9:00 AM Bhajan singing in Sai Kulwant Hall
9:30 AM Mangala Arati in Sai Kulwant Hall
4:30 PM (5:00PM in the summer) Veda chanting in Sai Kulwant Hall
5:30 PM (6:00PM in the summer) Bhajan singing in Sai Kulwant Hall
6:00 PM (6:30PM in the summer) Mangala Arati in Sai Kulwant Hall
All lights out by 9 PM[13]

Climate[edit]

The climate is "generally hot and dry throughout the year,"[1] summer temperatures ranging from 30 °C-40 °C, (86F - 104F) and winter 20 °C-27 °C (68F - 81F).[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]