The body of a siddha purusha (realized soul) radiates chaitanya (divine consciousness) even after the soul has departed. In the time-honored traditions of eternal India, the mortal remains of a saint are not cremated in fire, but buried in a very special way in the ground. Layers of charcoal, sandalwood, and camphor sandwich the body as per the ancient Vedic practices of bhu-samadhi (holy burial rites), and the holy place is called a samadhi mandir.
Paramahamsa Hariharananda breathed his last breath and merged in God on December 3, 2002, in Miami, Florida, USA. Twelve days later, his holy body was given bhu-samadhi at Hariharananda Gurukulam, the Kriya Yoga ashram in Balighai, Puri, Odisha, India, named after him. The holy sands of Puri were sanctified for yet another time after their re-union with our beloved Gurudev.
As is the custom, a raised platform was made to mark the place where Gurudev Baba Hariharanananda’s body rests and a shiva linga christened as "Harihareshwara" was installed. The shiva linga at the site of the samadhi of a dashanami sannyasi indicates the final merger of a soul with Lord Shiva, one of the three aspects of Almighty God. A small temporary hut was built around it to protect it from the weather and to allow people to sit and pay homage to the great master. The whole place vibrated with divine consciousness. This was the samadhi mandir (samadhi temple) of our beloved Gurudev. The small sacred hut has undergone a splendorous architectural transformation.
The present magnificent structure is the result of the divine vision of Paramahamsa Hariharananda's principal disciple and the current master of our Kriya Yoga lineage, Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. He set forth to have the vision of his guruji’s samadhi mandir built. Talented architects came forward, and in consultation with Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, an architectural drawing was drafted by Histas and Aruna Damania, reputed architects of Mumbai and also devoted kriyavans. The pilgrimage of the grand vision from architectural to structural design was a tenuous job undertaken by Engineer Ranjan Pradhan of Cuttack. Built in the shape of an octagon with arched entrance ways, the new structure, rechristened as Shri Guru Mandir, is an architectural marvel.
The outer octagon, with its twenty-four open arches, has a verandah with a seating capacity for more than three hundred people. Devotees can silently meditate surrounded by ponds of blooming lotuses, colorful flowers and shrubs, and vast green lawns. The first of the 108 saplings on the periphery was planted by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda in 2006. The whole area is designated as a silent zone to allow people to sit and meditate in the Temple of Silence or anywhere in the gardens. A five-foot lotus bud of glass-reinforced concrete crowns this architectural marvel.
The construction of the temple progressed smoothly and quickly. Witnesses to the construction work were amazed to see the gradual unfolding of the divine personality of the shrine. At each and every crucial point of its development, the guiding hand of Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji was working miracles.
The prefabricated lotus for the fontanel of the shrine arrived in four parts from Mumbai along with the team of artisans to complete the installation. They insisted on using a large crane to lift the lotus parts to the top of the shrine, but it could not be arranged in time. Disheartening despair ensued, but Swami Shuddhananda, always a symbol of hope and enthusiasm, said that a solution would arise.
In the meantime Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji, who always oversaw activities and work at Hariharananda Gurukulam, called from overseas enquiring about the availability of the crane and the lifting of the lotus. When we expressed our helplessness, he assured us to go ahead with manual efforts. We were not sure that the alternative mode of lifting the one-ton lotus to the top of the shrine would be possible.
New confidence, new skill, new hope broke the impasse. When the Konark temple was built there was no crane to lift art works on large stones weighing more than one to ten tons to the top level of the Sun Temple. Wood and bamboo rafters were used to do the job. We leaped with joy at the idea, and soon bamboo rafters were built to push the four heavy parts of the lotus to the top of the temple. By the time the sun was setting the task was accomplished, and the lotus was beautifully sitting in its place on the top of the temple.
Since that day the beautification of the temple has been in full swing. Beautifully designed stained glass windows with the Kriya Yoga logo and lotuses and the marble flooring complete the temple’s work.
The new structure, rechristened as Shri Guru Mandir, is an architectural marvel. Around the samadhi altar of Gurudev Baba Hariharananda, the sculpted marble images of the masters of the Kriya Yoga lineage are installed along the fifteen-foot long walls within the sanctum sanctorum of this temple. The life-like five and a half feet marble cenotaph of Gurudev blessing the devotees is positioned facing east and on either side, the walls of the inner shrine have the sculptures of the lineage of masters beginning with Mahavatar Babaji. The inner shrine can accommodate approximately forty people at a time.
An imposing monument forty feet high, of rare architecture, intricate jali work, stained glass windows, arched doorways, huge glass doors, and marble floors, the Shri Guru Mandir is a piece of art, a priceless jewel of love and dedication that will herald through the ages.
The love Gurudev Hariharanandaji invoked in his devotees, the will and vision of his successor, Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji, and the dedication of the monks of Prajnana Mission have immortalized this landmark.
The Shri Guru Mandir was inaugurated in honor of Paramahamsa Hariharananda at the beginning of his centenary year (May 27, 2006 to May 27, 2007).
The magnificent octagonal shrine was dedicated to the public on the 24th of May, 2006, by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda with an all-day worship and fire ceremonies conducted by Vedic scholars, following strict Vedic injunctions. The cenotaph of Gurudev Baba Hariharananda was unveiled amidst Vedic chanting and devotional songs of devotees who had assembled from all corners of the globe to witness the event and pay their respect. The evening ceremonies came to a conclusion with a chandi havan (fire ceremony), invoking the blessings of the Divine Mother, and arati in the Shri Guru Mandir.
Hundreds of spiritual seekers visit regularly this most auspicious temple and ashram, the epitome of peace, bliss, and joy. Swami Shriyukteshwarjji predicted that this Balighai property would flourish and be a place of spiritual pilgrimage for countless seekers throughout the world.
Photo Gallery - Shri Guru Mandir Construction Progress