Balighai, Odisha, 752002
Hariharananda Gurukulam, situated in the natural surroundings of forest, fruit trees, and beautiful gardens, is a sanctified place for meditation, prayer, and worship. It is in Balighai, near the holy Jagannath Temple of Puri, in Odisha, India. It is from here the music of the Bay of Bengal continuously resounds.
Gurudev obtained this property in 1975. In December, 1995, Gurudev called his dear monk and successor Swami Prajnanananda Giri to tell him about an exceptional visionary dream. In the dream, Swami Shriyukteshwarji directed Gurudev to transfer the Balighai property to the name of Prajnananandaji and predicted that in the future the property would become a beautiful place of international reputation where many people would come to meditate. Gurudev insisted that his dream would come true through Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. As the years pass, Hariharananda Gurukulam continues to flourish as a center of spirituality. It has now also become a place of pilgrimage with the sacred samadhi shrine of Gurudev known as Shri Guru Mandir.
Balighai Ashram has serene, secluded, picturesque grounds close to the sea and the holy city of Puri, with hundreds of mango orchards, coconut palms, and other fruit and flower trees. The efforts of Paramahamsa Prajnanananda have resulted in another milestone in the history of Kriya Yoga. Subsequent to the inauguration of the new building complex in January, 2000, many other buildings have been constructed. The ashram has housing accommodation for more than 300 guests, a large dining hall, a Shiva temple, a large pond, a newly established Hariharananda museum, a library, health center, and much more.
The ashram has become a center of great spiritual activity holding annual International Kriya Yoga Seminars with Paramahamsa Prajnanananda and many monks, yogacharyas, and delegates gracing the occasion. It is well attended by many disciples from India and all over the world. Throughout the year many seminars and celebrations honor the birthdays of the lineage of masters, Guru Purnima, the mahasamadhi of Gurudev, as well as many festivals.
The Youth Orientation program is held twice a year for the college students of Odisha. Residential Brahmachari Training courses were held in 2002, 2004, 2005 to 2006, and 2007 to 2008. Selected applicants from India and abroad studied the scriptures and Sanskrit and also participated in charitable activities through the Gurukulam.
Adi Kutir, the small straw-roofed cottage is Gurudev’s room (the bottom photo on the right), where his physical body lay during the final darshan. It now serves as a meditation room as well as the residence of Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. Across from this cottage is a building that has a large meditation hall, Yogananda Yoga Mandir, with a second floor that holds two hundred people.
The magnificent Shri Guru Mandir is the samadhi shrine of Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda and the Temple of Gurus, the lineage of masters of Kriya Yoga.
The third floor is the study floor, graced with Shri Vyas Kaksha, (a brahmachari classroom) and Yukteshwar Library with a large collection of scriptures and many spiritual books by many saints and authors of the world.
The Vishwanath Temple at the Gurukulam was inaugurated with Vedic rituals, peace invocations, and the installation of the invoked divinity through pranapratishtha (installation of energy) into the forms of the deities. The temple is a magnificent structure facing a small pond. There are steps on all four sides of the pond. The steps to the temple lead to the pillared marble area with beautiful paintings and sculptures depicting stories from Hindu mythology. While Lord Ganesha and Kumara guard either side of the entrance to the garbha griha (main part of the temple), in the middle of the temple is the Shiva lingam, the formless aspect of God. Having the temple on the ashram grounds adds to the sanctity of the atmosphere and invokes devotion in the hearts of the devotees.
There are many other beautiful buildings on these fifty acres of property. Brahmananda Sant Nivas and the Patanjali Yati Nivas are the residence for all the swamis. Satyananda Brahmachari Nivas is the dormitory for the brahmacharis who reside at the ashram. The Satyakam Nivas is the residential brahmachari trainee quarters and Gayatri Nivas is the brahmacharini trainee quarters. The ashram has a dormitory, Nabin Kali Matru Nivas, for visiting female disciples.Shyamacharan Bhakta Nivas houses the visiting male disciples. The ashram cows stay at Nandini.
When walking down the path to Shri Guru Mandir, one must stop at the Shri Sanyal Mahasaya Museum and see the photo exhibits of Paramahamsa Hariharananda's life, displays of his writings, his personal items, video and audio recordings of him, and much more. Memories of him are kept alive here.
In January, 2004, Annapurna Anna Kshetra, the dining room was inaugurated with a havan followed by prasad. Since then this dining room has served thousands of people.