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Sarva Dharma Aikya Sthupa

Dear fellow spiritual aspirant! We are excited to bring to you this new resource to highlight the significant and important milestones witnessed during the earthly life of our Divine Master. Baba has always reminded us that His abode is in our hearts. However, in order to give us joy, strength, courage and inspiration on our spiritual journeys, there are extraordinary places that were physically touched, walked and lived by Him. We hope that you will find this series a spiritually uplifting experience and benefit by a richer understanding and deeper awareness of His Divine Glory.
Love & Light Team

When recollecting the Avataric Mission of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, one witnesses notable landmarks that depict the significant milestones in the Divine Life of Baba. One such is the Sarva Dharma Sthupa (the pillar of unity of religions), a beautiful 50 feet high architectural marvel in Prasanthi Nilayam. It was inaugurated on the 23rd November 1975 to mark the Golden Jubilee of His Divine Advent. It is located on the South side of the elegant Poornachandra Auditorium in between Yajur Mandir, the residence of Baba.

At the base of the pillar are symbols of the world’s five major religions, along with the associated inner meaning as explained by Baba inscribed below. On the top is a lotus with its petals opened up and a flame in the center symbolizing inner illumination:

Hinduism: Listen to the primeval Pranava (Om) resounding in your heart as well as in the heart of the Universe.
Buddhist wheel: Remember the wheel of cause and consequence, of deed and destiny, and the wheel of dharma that guides them all.
Zoroastrian fire symbol: Offer all bitterness in the sacred fire and emerge grand, great, and godly.
Islamic Crescent and Star: Be like the star, which never wavers from the crescent but is fixed in steady faith.
Christian Cross: Cut the “I” feeling clean across and let your ego die on the cross, to endow on you Eternity.

Baba laid the foundation stone for this pillar on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima in 1975 and entrusted the construction work of the Sthupa to Brigadier Bose in September 1975. Palani Subrahmanyam, a young sculptor was assigned the task of ornamenting the sthupa. Palani Subrahmanyam has been blessed with the carving, sculpturing and painting of various buildings and statues in Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan, indeed an important instrument in the Divine Mission.

The foundation of the Sthupa was constructed by digging a 7 foot pit. Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust were then invited by Baba to lay a basinful of concrete into the base of the pit. This was then filled with soil with the help of devotees for three days to form the base of the pentagonal structure. On this, concrete slabs were to be laid as pedestal for the Sthupa. On the early morning of the fourth day, there was a heavy downpour of rain. Brigadier Bose was fervently praying and was sure that the soil would get washed away. To his utter surprise the next morning when he went to inspect the site, he didn’t find any signs of soil erosion by the rain. When Brig Bose approached Swami expressing his gratitude, Baba pronounced, ”Whenever any work is done by My devotees with full devotion, no damage can come to their work.”.

23rd November 1975 was a momentous day when Baba’s 50th Birthday Celebrations were held in Prasanthi Nilayam. Baba blessed devotees with His Darshan from a helicopter. The helicopter then landed in the clear area near the Sthupa. Baba disembarked from the helicopter and then walked in a procession accompanied by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Vengala Rao to the Sthupa. The Sthupa was then officially inaugurated by the Chief Minister.

The architectural wonder of the Sarva Dharma Aikya Sthupa today stands as a shining light reminding Humanity on the Unity of World Religions.

“Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the glory of God be sung in all the languages and in a variety of tunes. That should be the Ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid as long as they do not extinguish the flame of unity.”
Sathya Sai Baba