Abode of Supreme Peace
Prasanthi Nilayam, the Highest Abode of Peace is the crest jewel of the now internationally famous village of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. With the construction of this monument of Love and Peace in 1950 by the dedicated and loving devotees of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a new Movement itself for the regeneration of human society has started. It soon became the cynosure of all eyes of the world as it housed the Ultimate in human form. People belonging to all creed and all walks of life cluster here for the coveted Darshan (sight) of the most beautiful human form on earth descended to confer Grace, Peace and Love on one and all, black or white, east or west, young or old. Over a period of years, this structure gathered a rare beauty and grandeur making it now an architectural jewel. Its serene atmosphere that proclaims its alchemic influence on the visiting multitudes is atonce unique and elevating. Here silence is more eloquent than speech. Service is more rewarding than chanting or meditation. Absorbing the atmosphere is a treat to all human faculties. Senses get controlled and groomed, and mind silenced and attentive. Originally a small temple in 1950 when it was first dedicated to the Lord, it has now grown into a much bigger size, covered with a beautiful roof, covering a Darshan area of some 10,000 square yards. The expanse of the sitting space on both sides and in the centre can accommodate mutitudes, the crowd milling around and squeezing in to another half of it during celebrations. The irresistible and most powerful Love-Waves emanating from this Abode of Highest Peace will not spare any spot on the world map from its care whether it be hard rock or dry sand.
The subtle influence of the Avatar is so compelling that the impact of a visit to Puttaparthi is great. Absorbing the spiritual atmosphere here, one feels refreshed and recouped. It is atonce enchanting and entrancing. People of different nationalities and cultures realise the Brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God here. Devotees from abroad are attuned to the atmosphere without much of an effort. After all who in this world is not related to Prasanthi Nilayam? It is everybody’s home. The pathways leading to the Abode may look new, but the destination cannot be unfamiliar.
Those who have distanced themselves from Home, of their own volition, are again initiated into a purposeful, spiritual life of calm and quiet with no reprimand whatsoever. In short, a visit to Prasanthi Nilayam is a homecoming from far and near. The talkative, the extravagant, the egocentric, the arrogant, the ill-tempered and the short tempered are cut to size and proper shapes with no additional and visible labour. It is like a vehicle entering the workshop in a battered condition, but coming out in good running condition, the duration depending on the number and depth of dents. But reconstruction and reconditioning are sure to be. On return hard headed administrators become soft and friendly, hard hearted industrialists become kindly and accommodative, conscienceless politicians become honest and upright, headstrong mothers-in-law become loving and considerate, irresponsible husbands become sympathetic and co-operative, wayward children become obedient and disciplined, unhealthy family relations become healthy and strong, and so on. All for a sea change. All begin to realise that none can escape the eyes and hands of Sai. The realisation of the omnipresence of Sai effects the transformation. Decades ago Bhagawan had declared that ‘every step in the career of an Avatar is calculated’. This Divine workshop of Prasanthi Nilayam, the Highest Abode of Peace, is perhaps the first and foremost in this direction.
Nestled in the heart of a cluster of bald hills with a scant population of less than a hundred, this unknown, unnoticed, unrecognised and undeveloped village awaited the Advent of an Avatar for centuries. The result? Fulfilment! The bald hills put on green caps; the dry tree tops put up green leaves; the plants prepared colourful bouquets; the bees hummed to collect honey for the Lord; and sands collected and spread themselves to soften the path and River Chitravati began the muse on a tune-all to greet the Divine on holy 23rd of November 1926. The one time sleeping village is now agog with multitudes from every nook and corner of the world drawn by the fragrance of His Glory, Word and Deed.
Located in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh, this tiny village has now grown into a full-fledged township with all modern amenities that would suit a fast growing population of multinational texture. It has now the distinction of being the seat of a world class Super Speciality Hospital – Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, where possibly for the first time in the world, the most modern state-of-art facilities in surgery and medicine provided totally free of cost, a Deemed university – Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, comprising three campuses, providing free education in arts, science, and management including M.B.A, M.Tech in computer science and PhD, a music college, a couple of Higher Secondary Schools and several primary and middle schools. This tiny, but most privileged village turned township also houses a planetarium of international standard two Museums – Sri Sathya Sai Sanathana Samskruti (Eternal Heritage) Museum, a spiritual museum, where one can see a depiction of timeless panorama of seers and sages of all faiths and religions, Chaitanya Jyoti Museum, dedicated to the depiction of Life, Mission and Message of the Avatar of the Age, not to speak of an Air Port and modern Railway Station. Until recently the nearest rail head was Dharmavaram on the Guntakkal – Bangalore line situated 45 km. from Puttaparthi which distance had to be motored down by the visitors. Now a new Railway Station “Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam” at a distance of 9 km is on the railway map of India much to the comfort and convenience of the visiting devotees. The Station has all the facilities that a major railway station can offer.
The original name of this village was Gollapalli – a village of the cowherds, as many of them lived here eking their livelihood by tending the cows. The hasty and revengeful action of one of these cowherds drew a curse from a dying serpent whom he had stoned to death as it was seen sucking milk from the udder of his favourite cow. The curse began to operate in due course virtually eliminating the cowherds and the cows. The entire area was covered with anthills with snake pits housing serpents. Gollapalli thus became Puttapalli (village of ant hills) and in due course Puttaparthi. Concurrently the cowherds were replaced by tribals, who, in turn, by some Brahmin families and, later, by Kshatriyas including the Ratnakaram family of Bhagawan Baba. With regular worship of deities, especially the stone that was flung on the serpent, in the nearby Venugopala Swami Temple, the village again began to flourish.
Puttaparthi is now adored all the world over as the birthplace of the Avatar of the Age, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It has assumed the position of the foremost pilgrimage centre of the country as the Abode of the Living God is located here.
Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu