INSIDE ANANDASHRAM

The main gate of AnandashramStanding below the arch one can see the main Ashram building on an elevated hilly spot at a distance of about 250 meters. The path from the arch to the main gate of the Ashram is hedged by thickly grown coniferous plants making it appear as a green wall on either side of the path.

As one enters the gate, to the right is the Reception office to welcome visiting devotees, register their names and allot accommodation.

Flag HoistingA few meters from the gate there is a small circular garden and on its southern side stands the flag mast atop which flutters the Ashram insignia with the holy Ram Nam printed on it. The aim of human life is realization of God, for which the easiest way is constant remembrance of God. The flag reminds us of this goal and the act of hoisting the flag symbolizes our commitment to raise ourselves to the higher plane and attain the goal.

On important days, e.g.: Jayanthi and Samadhi days of Beloved Papa, Pujya Mataji and Pujya Swamiji, and also on Sannyas day of Beloved Papa, a new flag is hoisted amidst chanting of Ram Nam.

To the right of the circular garden is a small cottage which is the Information Centre. All new visitors are shown a video giving a general idea about the Ashram and its activities.

Satsang HallTo the left of the circular garden is the Bookstall, from where visitors can get all the books published by the Ashram.

Adjecent to the Bookstall is the Satsang Hall, where the reading of the books of Beloved Papa and other saints is taken up very afternoon between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Beloved Papa sitting under the banyan tree in the PanchavatiGoing up a few steps from the garden, one comes to the Panchavati. The name signifies five trees, planted by Beloved Papa in 1931. On this level ground of about 60' x 200' Beloved Papa used to conduct Satsang in the mornings and evenings.

The Bhajan HallWalk up a few more steps and one is in front of the Ashram Bhajan Hall. Several years ago Beloved Papa, sitting on an Asan in the centre of the Bhajan Hall, used to have a direct view right up to the main road.

The ShrineIn the southern end of the Bhajan Hall is a small room. This small room was the ANANDASHRAM started by Beloved Papa in 1931. It was here that Beloved Papa and Pujya Mataji lived with a handful of devotees in those early days of the Ashram, and it was the launch pad for their unique mission of Universal Love and Service. This room is now called the shrine.

The relics of Beloved Papa are preserved in a beautiful silver box, which is placed over a marble platform in the shrine, packed with the holy ashes of Beloved Papa and Pujya Mataji and several books containing Ram Nam written by devotees. To the left of the silver box, marble replicas of Beloved Papa’s and Pujya Mataji’s holy feet are implanted. Two beautiful pictures of Beloved Papa and Pujya Mataji are placed on the wall above the platform. The walls of this room are adorned with pictures of Gurudev (Beloved Papa’s father and Guru), Beloved Papa's photo as a young man of 17, as well as pictures of parents of Beloved Papa and Pujya Mataji.

Inside The Bhajan HallBeloved Papa’s cut-out in the same posture as He used to sit during the Bhajan sessions and next to it is Pujya Mataji’s picture. On the walls of the Bhajan Hall one can see pictures of several saints and sages, including those of Jesus Christ, Zoroaster, Guru Nanak and others.

Mother Krishnabai Centenary HallTo the right of the Bhajan Hall is the Centenary Hall. Coinciding with the 100th birthday of Pujya Mataji, a new spacious hall was constructed and christened Mother Krishnabai Centenary Hall, on the 25th September 2003. Generally this hall is used as ‘Mauna Mandir’ for meditation purposes, but on occasions when a large number of devotees are present in the Ashram, this is also used for conducting Satsang.

There are three Samadhi Mandirs – one of Beloved Papa Swami Ramdas, one of Pujya Mataji Krishnabai and another of Pujya Swami Satchidanandaji. These are situated to the left of the main gate.

Pujya Mataji's Samadi MandirThe Samadhi Mandirs are uniform in design - tile-roofed structure, large twin doors on all the four sides and eight windows. The Ram Mantram OM SRI RAM JAI RAM JAI JAI RAM, in the style written by Beloved Papa, Pujya Mataji and Pujya Swamiji, is beautifully engraved on wooden panels above the windows. The windows and doors are exquisitely carved, the Samadhi platform and the floor are set with white marble, and the ceiling is artistically decorated with carved and painted Ram Nam. A portrait in standing pose of Beloved Papa, Pujya Mataji and Pujya Swamiji adorn the wall just above the southern door of the respective Samadhis.

GoshalaThe Ashram has a Goshala (Cow Shed), in the south-east corner of the campus, with over 50 heads of cattle and the milk yield is passed on to the Ashram Bhojan Shala (Canteen) which feeds not only the devotees but also the poor and hungry who happen to come to the Ashram.

LibraryA well equipped library in the Ashram provides an opportunity to visiting devotees to gain spiritual knowledge through well over five thousand spiritual and religious books in different languages.

Ram Nam BankRight next to the library is the Ram Nam Bank. Ram Nam Likhit Japa was started with a target of 25 crores, with a view to make a symbolic presentation of the Likhit Japa note-books to Pujya Mataji on 29th September 1955, on the occassion of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of her renunciation. However the Likhit Japa continued even after that, though with lesser intensity, and is still continuing. The total Likhit Japa is about 100 crores. The Ram Nam Bank was found inadequate with increasing number of Likhita Japa note-books being sent by devotees from all over the world. Another large room has been dedicated to store the books now being received. In a significant note, when Acharya Vinoba Bhave visited the Ashram in the 1950s and saw the Ram Nam Bank, he said, "These are more powerful than atom bombs."