Establishment of Shantikunj

Gurudev Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya's  3rd visit to Himalaya on June 1971 to met Dada guru (Swami Sarveshwaranand Ji). 

Dada guru provided important guidance for sowing the seeds of rishi tradition.  He said "You have to leave Mathura and shift to Haridwar and start the work of reviving the Rishi traditions.You will recall that when you came here for the first time you had met Risis living in this region in their astral bodies and each of them had expressed distress at the extinction of their traditions and you had promised that you would accomplish this task. This time you have been summoned for this purpose.

"God has no physical form. Whenever something epoch-making is sought to be achieved, Risis who remain engrossed in tapascharya bestow their powers on Devatmas, great personages and get the work done through them. Vishwamitra took Bhagvan Ram to his Asram (hermitage) on the pretext of defending his yagya , trained him in Bala (Gayatri) and Atibala (Savitri) (spiritual knowledge) and got the citadel of demoniac forces demolished, thus paving the way for the establishment of Ram-rajya (rule of truth and righteousness). Shri Krishna had gone for studies to Sandipan Risi and returned after he had been duly imparted the message of the Gita, his role in Mahabharat epoch and in carrying forward the Risi tradition of Sudama. Ancient scriptures are full of descriptions how Risis moulded great personages and got important work accomplished through them, although they themselves always remained engrossed in spiritual pursuits, sadhana, research etc. It is this work which you have to accomplish."

“The seer of Gayatri mantra was Vishwamitra who had lived in Sapta Sarovar, Haridwar and had acquired mastery in the miraculous power of Gayatri. That place is now reserved for you. You will be able to find it out easily. Name it as Shantikunj, Gayatri Tirtha and sow the seeds of all the life transforming traditions which were established by the Risis when they lived in their physical forms. They need a physical medium to get their work done. I, too, had felt a similar need, found in you a competent person, contacted you and initiated you in this task. These other Risi have also similar aspirations. You have to sow anew the seeds of old Risi traditions, which is no doubt a difficult task but you will be getting patronage, blessings and divine gifts of executing competence from me as well as from all these Risis and you will proceed in carrying out the given assignments undeterred.”

Briefly describing the still incomplete work of the Risis, I was asked to acquaint people with the power of Gayatri Mahamantra according to the tradition of Vishvamitra Risi and to establish a Siddhapitha Gayatri Tirtha; to write books and eighteen volumes of Pragya Puran in Vyas tradition; to extend the science and philosophy of yog-sadhana in Patanjali tradition; to build up an atmosphere of refined and ennobling vibrations by eradicating evil tendencies from the minds of the people according to Parashuram tradition; to conduct scientific research and popularise use of medicinal herbs according to Charak tradition; to heal and set right mental disorders by holistic treatments of yagyopathy in Yagyavalkya tradition; to establish Sadhana-Aranyaks for promoting the growth of goodness and character building in Jamadagni tradition; to lead wandering life of a religious mendicant (Parivrajak) with the aim of imparting true knowledge and guidance for the spread of religious and spiritual consciousness in Narada tradition; to provide guidance through the medium of ethics to the administrative set-up in the tradition of Aryabhatta; to build up Pragya sansthans at different places in Shankaracharya tradition; to promote allround health with the help of proper dieting (ahar-kalpa) according to Pippalada tradition and to convene Pragya sammelans from place to place for educating the masses according to Soot-Shounik tradition. Gurudev also indicated the outline of establishing Brahmavarchas Research Institute for conducting research on scientific lines according to the scientific traditions of Atharv Veda, as was done by Kanada Risi.

I was explained, in detail, what I had to do at Haridwar and how difficulties coming in my way were to be resolved. I assimilated each and every word uttered by Gurudev. Last time when I had visited the Himalayas, I was to act according to the directions given by Gurudev alone. This time I was assigned the onerous responsibilities of undertaking additional momentous tasks. This poor donkey was to be more alert and more diligent. Without elaborating, Gurudev simply gave a hint that after doing all this, I will have to pay a fourth visit to the Himalayas and shoulder still greater responsibilities and take steps to withdraw into the astral body.

I was informed that the work at Haridwar would be more difficult than that at Mathura. The onslaughts of devilish elements would have to be faced more resolutely and there would be several ups and downs. After explaining where and how I had to live and perform my daily routine, I was told that I should regard it as a joint programme of Gurudev and all the other Risis. I assured Gurudev that for me he was the representative of the Supreme Lord and all the Risis and Devtas; and all his instructions would be complied with till my last breath.

Our talks ended. After bidding farewell, Gurudev disappeared. I was escorted upto Gomukh by his Virbhadra. It is not necessary to mention the places where I was required to stay for about a year as they are inaccessible places in the Himalayas.

While returning, I stayed at the place indicated by Gurudev in Haridwar. It was the tapobhumi of Sapta-Risis, which was lying deserted and was for sale. It was marshy. Ganga used to flow through this land in the past. I liked it. The owner of the land was contacted, the deal was struck and reduced into writing. I had to take the decision all by myself. The counsel of the advisors was of no avail, as I failed to make them understand the mystical significance of the place, the purpose for which it was being acquired and the blue-print of the proposed construction. Even the supervisory work of construction had to be done by me. Thus came into being the Shantikunj Saktipitha at Haridwar.

Establishment of Gayatri Tirtha in Shantikunj, Haridwar

I returned from the Himalayas in 1972 to Haridwar where I had already got a small building named Shantikunj built earlier. It was sufficient for the stay of Mataji and devkanyas who were living with her. More land was purchased and construction work was started. The idea was to develop it into a Risi Asram. In the beginning living accommodation for myself, my colleagues and guests along with a kitchen, was built.

This Asram symbolises Devatma Himalaya and hence symbolic temples of Ganga, Uttrakhand and seven Risis, other important Risis were built here. Within two years the temple of Adya-sakti Gayatri, wells and the meeting hall were also built and Shantikunj was turned into a tapasthali (a centre for spiritual pursuits). A small room for installing the idol of Gayatri Mata and the Akhand Deep had already been built earlier.

Twenty-four purascaranas of twenty-four lakhs each were to be performed to awaken the dormant energy (sanskars) of this land which was lying barren since long. In the beginning nine virgin girls performed jap for four hours in the day and four hours in the night. Later, the number of these girls was increased to 27. They were all trained and taught by Mataji and after a period of six years they all attained the standards of graduation and postgraduation. All these girls were suitably married between the ages of twenty to twenty-five years. Earlier, all these girls, numbering more than hundred, were trained in music and in delivering religious discourses and were sent throughout the country in batches of five for spreading the message of the mission, especially in awakening of women all over the country.

The work of moulding and preparing vibrant and brilliant workers was taken in hand at Haridwar and for this Pran pratyavartan camps, Yug-shilpi camps, Vanprastha camps of the duration of one month each were organised. The holy atmosphere of Shantikunj situated on the banks of the holy Ganga in the lap of the Himalayas surcharged with spiritual vibrations attracted and inspired hundreds of persons who participated in the series of small and big Gayatri-purascaranas which were started here for general category of sadhaks. Side by side, the training of self-sacrificing vanprasthis, who had dedicated their entire life in the service of this mission, also continued. All these sadhaks were supplied with free food. The number of such sadhaks continued steadily increasing. The services of such selfsacrificing, devout, full-time sadhaks who were in conscious process of spiritual awakening were needed to revive Risi traditions by engaging them in the spread of this momentous missionary task.

Two hundred and fifty quarters were built in Gayatri Nagar. A big hall to accommodate about a thousand persons to listen to spiritual discourses and a yagyashala with nine kunds were also built.Yagya is performed at Shantikunj in the morning for two hours to promote piety. It was so planned that the permanent residents of the Asram and the visitors participating in purascaranas may jointly perform a purascarana of twenty-four lakh jap daily. A small press was also installed for urgent work. In the meantime the construction of the grand building of Brahmavarchas Research Institute was taken in hand. The completion of all these works took about four years. In the meantime other works which were necessary for the revival of Risi traditions were also taken in hand according to feasibility.


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