Volume 18 - Issue 06
June 2020
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Posted on: June 09, 2020


Sri Sathya Sai Sharda Peeth

Sai Lighthouse Shines at the Indo-Pak Border


On October 3, 2016, barely a hundred plus devotees attended the bhoomi puja (groundbreaking ceremony) in the middle of a paddy field in a sleepy village as a first step towards a faint dream.

For decades, the devotees in the northernmost region of Bharat had aspired to have their own place for Sai service and spiritual activities. The location was outside the city of Jammu, in the middle of agricultural land not far from one of the world's most volatile, explosive and dangerous international borders, in this case the line of actual control (LoC). As unlikely as the location seemed, it was clearly an area most in need of the balm of Sai healing.

Given that the Indo-Pak border runs through mountains, valleys and uneven terrains, the location of the proposed Sai Centre could be within 6 to10 kilometres from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The village of Marh (pronounced Mud) in Halq region of Jammu, is about a 45 minutes’ drive from Jammu Airport and the Railway station during normal traffic.

From Groundbreaking to Inauguration – It was just His Glory

It was a warm afternoon when the ground breaking concluded and the excitement of such a dream coming true was palpable except for the many tasks that lay ahead and the unimaginable resources that were needed to make it all come true.

Fast forward three and a half years to March 6, 2020, when three signature Prasanthi Nilayam style buildings along with Sai Kulwant Hall style domes were ready to welcome devotees, the colour palette was blue and pink, in conformity with Sai architecture. The buildings were bright, spacious and oozing a divine energy that one experiences while crossing Gopuram gate of the ashram in Puttaparthi.

The past 3 years and 5 months, since the bhoomi puja on October 3, 2016 till the inauguration on March 6, 2020 have been a journey of leaps of faith, infinite resignation, unending prayers and divine interventions galore at Sri Sathya Sai Sharda Peeth Seva Centre of Jammu.

How else can one explain the grand premises built at the cost of over 3 crore rupees when on October 3, 2016, the Sri Sai Prashanthi Trust, J&K, Jammu had only a dream in their hearts, a prayer on their lips and hardly any balance in their account, and only half of the current land area.

Today, the land area is doubled to 16,000 square feet and the 3 buildings with a total built-up area of 8400 square feet are ready!

Devotees are in a celebratory mood, enthused to revive spiritual, education and service activities on a grand scale and thus achieve their life's goal of self-transformation.

The sacred ground breaking ceremony on October 3, 2016

The Significance behind the Name

The name Sri Sathya Sai Sharda Peeth Seva Centre is inspired by Bhagawan Baba's frequent mention of Kashmir being one of the prominent seats of learning in ancient India known as Sharda Peeth.


How the Thrones Arrived

Even as the work was just starting, a surprise crate was received at the venue, perhaps to herald the divine arrival. It contained a walnut wood chair with a matching footstool for the Lord, with the sarva dharma logo hand carved on it.

It came from Pulwama, the epicentre of militancy in the Kashmir valley. It was an offering from an officer of the Indian Army, a colonel who had been on duty there during a troubled time.  His wife's family being Bhagawan's devotees were praying for his safety.

The colonel completed his term safely during the peak of terrorism and as his thanksgiving, got the chair and footstool made! Today, this throne and footstool are placed for the Lord in His Visitors' Room. 

The ornate throne on the altar came from a long-time devotee in Hong Kong who had procured it from mainland China and was looking to find a perfect home for it.

She had bought this twenty years ago when Sai Bhajans started in her house. Bhagawan mysteriously guided her to buy this after a lot of search in Hong Kong and China. Now at her advanced age, when she was looking to find a place for this precious treasure, she felt no place would be more appropriate than this new centre for the "Imperial Throne" meant for the "King of her Heart".

How Swami Willed the “Prasanthi Look” for His Abode

After many struggles, prayers and help from generous devotees, the toilet block and last mile connectivity happened. Just when everyone thought that everything was nearly done, Bhagawan did not seem satisfied.  He wanted His temple to reflect His Prasanthi Nilayam.

By the end of December 2019, by divine design a devotee who had come to Prasanthi Nilayam to study the sarva dharma stupa to make one for a Sai Centre in Canada got involved and the work of making the domes began in early February.

On March 3, the smaller replica of the Sai Kulwant Hall style domes were up on the Jammu Sai Centre, well in time for the inauguration on March 6, 2020, bearing testimony to the universe's ability to galvanize a rare combination of factors such as modern technology, team work, mysterious miracles and intuitive guidance, to achieve its purpose.


Whether it was during the random purchase of the traditional deepams or brass lamps from a government emporium in Bangalore or the ordering of the marble statues from Jaipur, Bhagawan's presence was felt in all matters. 

How else can one explain the manager of the deepam store turning out to be the husband of Bhagawan's Anantapur college student who went out of his way to find the best possible pair of tall lamps for the Bhagawan's Jammu Centre? Or a reliable Sai devotee pointing them to the source of divine images made out of finest marble, which were delivered in time at the remote location!

The spacious Sai Asha Hall has a marble idol of Goddess Vaishno Devi apart from Shirdi Sai and Lord Ganesha
as the Trikuta range of mountains which is home to the sacred Vaishno Devi shrine is clearly visible from the Sai centre.

The large photo of the Athi Rudra Lingam of Prasanthi Nilayam is to reflect the centuries old tradition of Kashmir Shaivism prevalent in the area.

Fired by Sai Love, Sai Sevadal Make it Happen!

Hiccups after hiccups kept delaying the workflow and by January 2019 and the main building was only a shell of a structure with brick walls and roof, and without doors or windows. The floors were rough. The second building had only the foundation and ground floor walls. The compound was deserted and open with no fence to secure it. Yet the divine presence was unmissable. Even at that time, the local devotees of Marh village would light a lamp on the rough structure that was to be an altar and offer flowers to the sagging vinyl sheet that they had hung with the image of the Maha Sannidhi. As if to acknowledge their devotion, and assure them fearlessness, divine grace manifested from the sagging vinyl sheet in the form of vibhuti and amrit.

Work was thus going on at the site at a halting pace with no clarity of when the project would ever be completed. There was some talk of re-planning it in phases and taking up just a small part at a time. And then a shift happened just after the Jammu sevadal returned home from their duty at Prasanthi Nilayam in August 2019.

Suddenly a divine force started to speed up the work on the ground and from October 2019 onward, the level of motivation, enthusiasm and devotion was of unprecedented levels. Devotees would come from far and near to offer seva and witness the glory of their Lord at play.

It strengthened their faith that Bhagawan was personally leading the project, a sentiment echoed by Sri Shiv Kumar Sharma, the State President and Jammu Trust settler during the inauguration function.

Then came the final push to the project at the start of the year 2020 when the Jammu youth group from RS Pura (another town bordering LOC) led by Captain Satpal of Marh arrived at the site with the divine lotus feet of the Lord in the form of marble padukas received from the SSS Central Trust in Prasanthi Nilayam.

This marked the arrival of their God and Lord and from that moment onwards, the pace of work picked up further, as did the commitment of the devotees and their belief in the project's viability.

On Shivaratri day, February 21, 2020, when devotees came to participate in the prana pratishthan of the divine images, to invoke the life force in the idols, most of them were stunned to see their Lord's abode resembling a mini Prasanthi Nilayam.

The local village of Marh has a high concentration of Sai devotees and by divine providence, after the project started, Bhagawan's plan kept unfolding step-by-step. With His grace, at the outset in 2016, the government approved several water sources for the site. Without these, such a massive construction would not have been possible. Soon after, the electricity transformer for the area got upgraded, the main road leading to the village was repaired, the new highway behind the site was commissioned and the local Sai samithi convener got elected the village sarpanch!

Right after the inauguration on March 6, 2020, the local 300 feet road leading to the Sai Centre is being paved by the panchayat!  Looks like after testing the devotees for 3 years, Bhagawan is showering an abundance of His grace as His validation for their patience, prayers and persistence.

The Unthinkable Inauguration on Mar 6, 2020

In hindsight, devotees are further wonder struck at the timing of the inauguration on March 6, 2020 and the smooth and safe return of all guests and devotees before the travel ban and the COVID curfews. The Managing Trustee of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust Sri R J Rathnakar, the All India President of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations Sri Nimish Pandya and team of SSSSO officials and guests had joined the Jammu devotees for the inauguration function.

When in 1968, the Avatar declared at Dharmakshetra, Bombay that the purpose of His incarnation was to protect the devotees and revive Sanathana Dharma through Vedic culture, little could one have imagined that re-establishing the seat of Matha Sharda, the Goddess of learning (also known as Saraswati) on the northernmost frontier of Bharat would be part of His vajra sankalpa or His iron clad resolve. 


The precision and perfection with which Sai glory is spreading and His mission growing to achieve the goal of uniting humanity into one family - Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, is a stark reminder that He lives, lives and continues to ever live, drive and protect His devotees, and accomplish His mission to love all and serve all. Clearly, this is the first of many more Sai miracles that the world will witness in the days to come. We bow to Lord Sai, whose glory is infinite!

Jai Sai Ram.

Thank you and loving Sai Ram,
Team Radio Sai

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