‘Prashanti Nilayam’ (‘The Abode of Supreme Peace’), Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi

Sai Baba has three ashrams: His main ashram (spiritual resort) is ‘Prashanti Nilayam’ near Puttaparthi, a village in the south Indian state of Andra Pradesh; then there is Brindavan in Whitefield, on the outskirts of Bangalore; and finally, there is Kodai Kanal, a hill station in the south of India. These ashrams are administered by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

Sai Baba was born and lived in the village of Puttaparthi. Nestled amongst a chain of hills and the river Chitravathi, which flows towards its east, this valley houses the Mandir (temple), residential complexes for devotees, and the headquarters of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

In the early 1940’s Puttaparthi consisted of only two lanes which met each other at right angles and a few mud huts. Baba transformed this “Stone Age village” into a modern township with a unique educational complex and a university, a super-specialty hospital with all modern facilities, and an airport of its own. The crest jewel of this area is Prashanti Nilayam, where millions come every year from all corners of the world to receive the blessings of the Avatar.

When the number of devotees kept on increasing throughout the 1940’s the Old Mandir could not accommodate them, and so Baba built a more spacious ashram. Thus, the New Mandir was constructed to the south of the village of Puttaparthi. Baba inaugurated it on 23rd November 1950, on His 25th birthday, and He named it Prashanti Nilayam.

Baba spent most of the year in Prashanti Nilayam, and hence, this hallowed township is the destination for millions of spiritual aspirants of different cultures, faiths, races, languages and socio-economic strata from all over the world. It is a world where Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Santhi (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence) permeate the entire environment. This small township is a mini world in itself as people from nearly 180 countries came to behold Baba’s divine form and experience His pure love.

They experienced and were transformed by the divine vibrations that permeate the entire ashram. They returned to their places of origin with personal experiences and stories which describe the divine love of Baba for humanity. Prashanti Nilayam bears testimony to Baba’s divinity.

Baba once said: “You are witnessing today the presence here of thousands and thousands of persons. What is it that has drawn them here? Were any invitations sent to them? Was there any publicity in the media to bring them here? The only reason for their coming is the attraction of Divine Love. It is because that wish-fulfilling Jewel of Love is manifest here that these thousands of people from all parts of the world have come here.”

Baba’s omnipresence continues to make Prashanti Nilayam a township of love and peace. People from different countries live together, dine together and mingle with each other with sacred feelings of love and brotherhood. If one wants to see brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God in practice, one can see it in Prashanti Nilayam.

Prasanti Nilayam wakes up in the early morning with the holy chanting of Omkar 21 times, followed by Sri Sathya Sai Suprabhatam (invoking the Lord of Parthi), and Nagar Sankirtan around the Mandir precincts. In the Sai Kulwant Hall Vedas are chanted and bhajans sung, the session ends with Mangala Arathi. In the evening, Vedic chanting begins around 5 p.m. for 45 minutes and is followed by bhajans and Mangala Arathi.

Twice daily Baba walked amongst those gathered, receiving letters and granting interviews. His darshan (the presence and sight of His presence) touched the hearts of those gathered and inspired them on their own spiritual journeys.

After His withdrawal from the physical form on 24th April 2011, Baba’s physical form is placed in a specially made vault on the very podium He used to adorn during His darshan sessions, on the verandah of the Mandir in Prashanti Nilayam.

Mahasamadhi (literally, ‘great samadhi’) means the conscious departure from the physical body of a realized soul. To this extent, the word is not exact in Baba’s case because Baba was not a realized soul but a Self-willed divine incarnation; nonetheless the word bears testimony to Baba’s withdrawal from His physical form and so it is used. Mahasamadhi also refers to the shrine where the physical body is buried.

Places Of Interest

Virtual Tour of Prasanti Nilayam

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