The Spiritual Hub
Samadhi Mandir is the central place of spiritual activities of Sivananda Ashram. The two main activities - early morning meditation, and the evening Satsanga - are held here. This place is the source of spiritual vibrations and inspirations for all the seekers. Even when no programme is going on, devotees prefer to sit under this holy atmosphere and do japa, prayer and meditation. Let us also peep into it.
The Samadhi Shrine is at the end of a long big hall. Above the Samadhi is Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj's Murti is in the lotus posture seated in a beautiful lotus. The imposing sight leaves you captivated and spellbound. You forget to enter into the Hall and are stuck up on the steps only. Thank God that you are stuck up. Now you are able to notice the beautiful carvings on the main door. The eight outer squares on the doors depict symbols of various religions and faiths. The inner eight squares depict eight significant words, as if they were the quintessence of all religious teachings or the fundamental universal principles of all religions and faiths. The eight words are Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realise Be Good Do Good. The meaning and significance of these words have been explained in "Swami Sivananda - Philosophy and Teachings". It is sufficient to note here that this Shrine is of a saint who respected all religions and accepted all that is good from all the sources.
The first thing you notice after entering the Hall is oil paintings with appropriate short write-ups on both the sidewalls. This place is source of inspiration for innumerable devotees. One Mr. Allen from Britain, on his for his personal satisfaction, went on creating oil paintings show the various episodes from the life of Swami Sivananda. And when he showed these painting to the President Swamiji Maharaj, the latter immediately arranged to put them in the Samadhi Mandir. As a first time visitor, you are engrossed in them. And you also notice below the paintings some very appealing thoughts from the writings of Swami Sivananda.
When the visitor is little tired he looks up for some change, and finds a big volume of Vedas very carefully preserved in a glass case, and a charming Murti of Lord Vishnu. This volume is treated as the living presence of Veda Bhagavan and is a special worship is offered fortnightly. Chanting of the mantra "Om Namo Narayanaya" and recitation of Sri Vishnu-sahasrsa-nama Stotram is done here regularly. On the right side there is a huge picture of Swami Sivananda, presented by devotees from Argentina.
The innermost part is the sanctum sanctorum, the Samadhi of this great saint. You observe devotees coming with deep faith, overwhelmed with emotions approaching the Shrine, before entering it, they touch the feet of Ganesh seated over the entrance door. They bow down very reverentially, and then do circumambulation of the Shrine, bow down again and after coming out apply holy ashes.
In the evening, you come again to the Samadhi Mandir to attend Satsanga, the main programme of the Ashram. Satsanga starts with prayers of all deities, and is followed by recitations of various Stotras (hymns). Then there is a spiritual discourse. It is followed by bhajans (devotional song), prayers for all those who are suffering, prayers for peace, and for the welfare of the entire mankind. After the concluding prayers, there is Arati and prasad distribution. A senior Swamiji takes up his seat one again and many devotees are also seated. Swamiji calls the devotees who had given their names in advance. The devotees come one after other, ask spiritual or even personal questions. Then, Swamiji takes a look around, inquires about the stay and comforts of the newly arrived visitors. The intimacy shown by the senior Swamiji is unique. You feel it is a sort of family gathering. Swamiji calls you also, and shows such intimacy that you feel that you are meeting your own father and you feel you are a part of the Sivananda family. Now you decide never to miss the Satsanga.
It is a pleasant surprise for you that on most of the days the discourses are in English, and even when a discourse is in Hindi, its gist is given in English.
The morning meditation session is from 5 to 6. But you come a little early and see many devotees already sitting in meditation. After brief prayer, the group meditation begins, at the end of it there is a little kirtan.
Following early morning meditation, Revered Swami Atmaswarupananda gives a sparkling short talk. Sometimes some senior Swamiji is also gives a brief talk. The atmosphere is so much charged that everyone is inward drawn, no one speaks with anyone else, and no one looks here and there.
Next, devotees hustle over to the Lord Visvanatha Temple and join the "Om Namah Shivaya" kirtan there while the puja of Siva is in progress.
It may be noted that most worshipful Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj gives the highest priority to this morning programme and he is invariably attending it when he is in the Ashram. His morning talks are so inspiring that they are complied and published in many books.