ONCE AT PRASANTHI NILAYAM
(Ashram in Puttaparthi)
WHAT TO TAKE: If you
bear in mind that accommodation at the ashram (whether in
the flatlets or in the dormitories or ‘sheds’) is rather like camping in doors - because there is no furniture and you live out of your suitcase - the list below will make more sense. Again, some things are more essential than others; you will almost certainly need to take string and a torch, but a travel jug is not essential as coffee and tea are provided in the canteen. It is up to you to use your discrimination. Likewise, there is plenty of choice where food is concerned. If you do not enjoy either the spicy food or the non-spicy food available in the canteen, there is a wide range of food to take away at the bakery and fruits, nuts, vegetables and other foods at the ashram shops.
For health reason it is UNSAFE to eat outside in the village.
WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED: Nowadays virtually everything can be bought at Puttaparthi, most of it at shops inside the Ashram. However a few things may be worth taking such as: Air freshener spray, insect spray, wet wipes, sun cream, talcum powder and your own toiletries. Also a heating coil with two pin plug (or travel jug) for making cups of tea/soup. Food plastic storage container, small thermos flask to keep water for drinking, bottle and tin opener, notebook, writing paper and envelopes, pens, Sellotape, string, clothes pegs, coat hangers, plastic bags of all sizes, paper tissues, nail scissors, sharp knife, matches/lighter, torch (essential). Also, take a combination lock so that several people sharing a room can get in, or take a padlock with a least three keys. It is advisable to take at least one pair of sheets and in the winter months a light blanket (Nov - Feb) or you can buy most of the above at Bangalore/Puttaparthi.
BEDDING: You can buy cheap flock mattresses, cushions and pillows at Puttaparthi to sleep on but you may want take a sleeping bag and/or an inflatable canvas bed. Metal frame beds can be hired in Puttaparthi village.
WHAT TO WEAR:You are likely to spend at least three hours a day sitting on the ground so clothes should be comfortable and not tight fitting. A plastic mac is useful at certain times of the year, also sun glasses and a hat for those who need them. Cheap sandals or flip-flops are needed in the ashram and a cardigan, pullover or warm shawl for cooler months (Nov - Feb). Do not take jewellery. For men - light plain coloured short or long sleeved shirts and trousers (the vast majority of devotees will be wearing white). NEVER wear shorts. For women – if you do not wear a sari, you should wear a Punjabi suit or a long kaftan or a long sleeved blouse and long skirt. ALWAYS wear a light shawl or large scarf to cover your shoulders. Western type trousers are not allowed.
LAUNDRY (Dhobi): There are adequate facilities at the Ashram.
AVAILABLE AT THE ASHRAM: Fresh milk, powdered milk, butter, cheese, biscuits, honey, jam, marmalade, fresh fruit and vegetables, sugar, tea, coffee, Horlicks, fruit juice, bottled and cold drinks, ice creams, blues, lemon squash, soup packets, porridge, vermicelli, noodles, oats, cornflakes, peanuts, cashew nuts, ketchup, ground nut oil, peanut butter, baked beans, salt and pepper, sweets, drinking chocolate. Stationary, envelopes, candles, batteries, scissors, shaving kits, face creams, hair oil, thermos flasks, some medicines, vitamins, locks, toothpaste/brush, toilet freshener, Dettol, Harpic, lavatory paper, soap, washing powder, mosquito coil/nets, towels, plastic containers, bowls, buckets, plates, knives and forks, beakers, flip-flops, sun hats, tee shirts, mans pyjama suits, underwear, bed sheets, cushions, shawls, saris.
BAKERY AT THE ASHRAM: The following are available daily:
brown/white bread, cake, sweet/salty buns, puff pastry rolls, biscuits, cheese toasts, baked potatoes, cheese puffs, rusks, crunchies, pizzas and even birthday cakes (to order).
The canteen at Prasanthi Nilayam provides vegetarian Indian food and special vegetarian dishes are available for foreigners at festival times. Before going to the canteen you must buy meal tickets at the counter outside and the cost is minimal - Food available: potato crisps, noodles, chips, mixed salads, chapatis, boiled rice, pilau rice, sambar, raita (yogurt), chutney, vegetable curries hot and non-hot, curds, butter milk, porridge, lassie (yogurt drink), coffee, tea, various sweets.
Electral: oral rehydration salts.
Trishun: tablets for colds and flu.
Cofrem: syrup for phlegmy cough.
Kofol: tiny tablets for tickly throats/coughs.
Sat-Isabgol: husks for colon cleansing - bowels regulariser.
Vicco vajradanti: herbs based toothpaste.
Ayur shakti: massage ointment for sprains/muscular aches - colds, headaches.
Rheumasaj: massage oil for joints/muscular aches.
Dabur Chyawanprash: health tonic.
SECURITY: Since June 93 security has
been stepped up in all Baba’s ashrams, for everyone’s
benefit and safety. This means everyone has to file through a metal
detector gate to enter the darshan area. It will save time if you
do not carry a large bag as you will have to leave it in a supervised
cloakroom tent and then queue up afterwards to retrieve it. Preferably,
you should wear a body belt or small purse to take small necessities
like room key, handkerchief, meal tickets and small change.
CAMERAS/RECORDERS: Many people take cameras, tape recorders, video recorders etc.. but please remember that you are not allowed to take them into the darshan line or into the Mandir or auditorium. Everyone with a camera wants to take as many pictures of Baba as they can. If you take pictures, try not to disturb everyone else around you.
BOOKSHOP: There is a large selection of books and in several languages.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Some shops in the Ashram sell photographs of Swami, badges, CDs, DVDs, Videos, tape cassettes of Swami’s discourses and bhajans.
VALUABLES:A money belt is advised for your passport, tickets, traveller’s cheques and money; do take care of your cameras, recorders etc. there are safe deposit facilities at the Public Relations Office and there is also a Lost Property Office. Ensure that the suitcase you take has a lock and especially during the monsoon season line it with a plastic bag to prevent contents getting soaked in transit on coach and taxi journeys.
BEGGARS: Swami has asked us not to give money or clothes to beggars. If you wish you can make a contribution to the feeding of the poor.
MAIL: When writing from the Ashram, best to use airletters which can be bought there. Mail can be picked up at the ashram Post Office.
Prasanthi Nilayam, P.O. Dist. Anantapur
515 134 (A.P.) India.
You can phone practically anywhere from the ashram and it is cheaper than from anywhere else.
BANK: There is a branch of the Bank of India inside the ashram where you can exchange your traveller’s cheques.
CODE OF CONDUCT: There is a Code of Conduct at the Ashram, in particular, men and women are separated during darshan and bhajans and they are expected to keep completely apart at these times. The same applies while waiting for darshan when the devotees form up in lines.
The Gift of Darshan
“Always find a quiet corner after my Darshan. My energy goes from Me as I pass you. If you proceed to talk immediately, the energy received by you is dissipated and returns to Me unused. Rest assured that whatever My eyes see becomes vitalised and transmuted. You are being changed day by day.
Never under-estimate what is being accomplished by the act of Darshan.
My walking amongst you is a gift yearned for by the Gods of the Highest Heaven and here you are receiving this grace. Be thankful. But also remember that to whom much is given - from him much will be demanded”. BABA.
When you go to Prasanthi Nilayam it is important to remember that
this is a spiritual experience and that you are in the presence of
Divinity. Perhaps we can conclude with some words from Bhagavan Baba
“You have come from long distances, you have given up several comforts, you are putting up with various difficulties. You have come with great hopes and ambitions, and if you realize that, and if you realize the code of conduct that is prescribed in Prasanthi Nilayam, and submit yourself to it, Swami is ready to give you all opportunities for your own sadhana and practice. Swami will take you very close, and will create a situation in which you will feel happiness and bliss in your own hearts...Have a feeling in your heart that Swami is your father, Swami is your mother; have such a feeling, develop such a feeling. If you can entertain such sacred ideas, ideas of fatherhood and ideas of motherly nature, then you will also be happy and Swami will be happy
(From a discourse by Bhagavan Baba on 28.3.75 at Brindavan.)
“The Lord comes as Avatar when He is anxiously awaited by saints and sages. Sadhus and virtuous persons had prayed long and as a result! have come.
Do not treat this chance lightly. This Nilayam should be treated with reverence and respect. Make the best use of your stay here. Allow your minds to bloom as fragrant offerings at the Lord’s feet by doing some sadhana. The senses have to be curbed to become obedient servants. I insist on silence. Talk less, talk in whispers when you must talk.
Do not thrust your sorrows, your needs and your problems into the ears of those who have come here with their own burdens. I am here to listen to you and to console you. Do not by your loud voice disturb those who are meditating upon, reading or writing the Name of God. Meditate, if possible, alone; read spiritual books, if you can; write the Name of the Lord in the quietness of your corner. If you cannot do any of these, at least do not disturb others who are engaged in the above spiritual pursuits.
Here, you must acquire the skill of winning the Grace of God. Hearing about God and hearing the voice of God are very important events in life that transform the individual. I always hear, not the talk that comes from the lips, but the cries of agony and the call of pining hearts hungering for Grace. Come just one step forward, I shall take a hundred towards you. Shed just one tear, I shall wipe a hundred from your eyes. Do not grieve later that you missed the chance when it had come within reach.”
Guidelines and Code of Conduct at
Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan
DO’S - PLEASE -
I. observe Silence and keep children under firm control.
2. dress and behave in a clean, modest and sober manner. (Ladies using western dress may kindly have a wide scarf across the shoulders and wear long skirts).
3. observe seating arrangements for ladies and gents separately.
4. form the Queue habit on all occasions.
5. stay wherever you are during Aarti and after Darshan until Bhagavan has left.
6. take good care of your personal belongings such as Cash, camera, tape recorder etc..
7. deposit any article lost and found at the Lost Property Office.
8. vacate your room immediately you are required to do so by the Accommodation office.
9. when you vacate your room, ensure that all taps are closed, electric switches are put off and the room is in clean condition; lock it and return the key to the Accommodation office directly and not through or to any other person.
10. make use of the Canteen where the food is hygienically prepared by devotees for devotees.
11. bring enough funds with you to adequately take care of your needs.
12. devote your time to spiritual activities and your own Sadhana.
All foreign nationals are advised to make sure that they comply strictly with Government regulations in force at the time regarding registration, residence permits etc.. and that all their travel documents are in order. This is exclusively their personal responsibility. Those not in possession of valid travel and residence documents are not permitted to stay in Prasanthi Nilayam/Brindavan.
(For additional information, please contact the Public Relations Office in Prasanthi Nilayam or the Information Centre in Brindavan.)