Sunday In My City – Vishwa Shanti Ashram 1

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This Sunday, join me on a visit to the Vishwa Shanti Ashram which is a 40-minute drive from my place in Bangalore. It is located at 24 km Tumkur Road in Arasinakunte, and founded by Sadguru Sant Keshavadas,. Vishwa Shanti = Universal Peace. 

Sadguru Sant Keshavadas was born at Bhadragiri, a small southern Indian village in Karnataka State, near Bangalore, India in 1934. At the age of 11, he had a mystical and illuminating vision of God at the dilapidated temple at his native place. God told him, “Sing my name”. Since then he tirelessly spread the loving Word of God or “Sanatana Vishwa Dharma,” the ancient wisdom of the Himalayas, throughout India and abroad. After his passing, his wife Rama continues his mission.

Sadguru Sant Keshavadas

This ashram is a very enjoyable half-day outing including the travel time. Since 26 January was Republic Day and a national holiday, we decided to take off on a short trip. Many years ago, we had a fleeting visit inside this place – but Vidur was only 5 years old and didn’t remember it at all.

The ashram is spread over fifteen acres and here is what we saw. As we enter, we see, in the distance, a 36 foot tall statue of Vittala, an avatar of Vishnu. And exactly in front, at the foot of the statue is a  Lakshmi-Narayana shrine. (Narayana is Lord Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi his consort).

This statue is surrounded by the Ashta Lakshmi-s – the eight Lakshmis, four on each side.

A side-view of the beautiful statue
A close up. I am looking up at it, really
Vittala’s feet – at eye-level for me
A back view of the statue

There’s a lovely brindavan (Tulsi Plant = holy basil = shrine)  out in front.

Beautifully and intricately carved, this “flower pot” houses the holy basil plant
See the base? It is a turtle. I like its smile

Towards the right of this, is the entrance to the Bhagvad Gita temple.  En route to this, we see the seven rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Cauvery, Narmada, Sindhu and Saraswati – depicted by seven statues.

The building housing the Vishwaroopa (original form of  Lord Vishnu in a big way) Statue and Gayatri temple is pulled by the famous chariot, where we see Lord Krishna counseling Arjuna – called the “Gitopadesha” (Gita = the Bhagvad Gita and Upadesha = the narration). This is one of the most significant scenes from the Mahabharata.

The Bhagvad Gita Temple, has the Vishwa Roopa statue of Lord Vishnu – the form Lord Krishna revealed to Arjuna in the Mahabharata. This is quite amazing and beautiful and the walls surrounding this statue are 800 granite slabs on which the entire Bhagvad Gita is inscribed, stanza by stanza, in four languages. Awe-inspiring.

Relatively speaking – size of the statue relative to Vidur

Below this shrine is the Gayatri Temple in a heptagon shaped shrine and very very pretty.

I will continue with Part 2 of this post next Sunday. :-) and show you the fun stuff inside the ashram.

Now, I leave you with this beautiful verse from the Bhagvad Gita:

If you are interested, here is the full text of the Bhagvad Gita in English.

If you’d like to ask questions, go ahead. Free your mind and comment.

Let’s go visit the fabulous Unknown Mami who hosts this lovely linky – and enjoy travel together to more cities from there.

Unknown Mami
With love,

Vidya Sury

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56 Comments

  1. Tara R.

    January 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

    These statues are incredibly beautiful. So intricate and detailed.

  2. Vidya Sury

    January 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Oh, Tara, I got hundreds of pictures at that ashram. :-) It was a lovely experience. The details in the sculptures are always mesmerizing. For example, each face in the “Gayatri” statue was different with different expressions. Thank you, Tara.

  3. Profwaynewsmith

    January 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    What a great set of pictures.  I love picture from temples – it is amazing how much time, effort and energy goes into the statues on display.  You can tell the artists were not just creating them for a paycheck.  Visiting from SIMC.

  4. Hajra

    January 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Hey Vidya,

    The pictures are breathtaking! Though I have never been to Bangalore; my best friend is from there and I keep meaning to be there some time! Loved it… makes me want to be there soon! :)

  5. Heather - Acting Balanced Mom

    January 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    What beautiful artistry!  Thank you for sharing your visit!

  6. joychristin

    January 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Vidya,
    Thank you!  The photos are lovely…capture the essence of majesty and beauty.  Wow. The quote is empowering.  Thank you for sharing “Universal Peace” :) Happy Day!

  7. Molly

    January 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. I love seeing something very different from my own western world that I am surrounded by.

    Mollyxxx

  8. Betsy @ Zen Mama

    January 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Wow!  I always look forward to your Sunday pictures.  Very different from Colorado!! Love the quote from the Bhagvad Gita.  Thanks for sharing.

  9. Laurie Matherne

    January 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Whoa. What a great tapestry of photographs. Today, I am feeling a little silly. I like the toes and the turtle shot best of all. 

  10. My Inner Chick

    January 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

     Vidya.Your amazing photos take my breath away.
    the seven rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Cauvery, Narmada, Sindhu and Saraswati – depicted by seven statues.
    Outstanding. Breath-Taking.

    Thank you, Dear for sharing your world.

    My Inner Chick http://myinnerchick.com

  11. Kimberly

    January 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I love that you are extremely immersed in your culture and know so much about it. A lot of people live here and there and do forth and probably don’t know the history of half of the things around them.
    I’m glad that you’re taking your Sundays to introduce us to your beautiful city and surroundings.
    It must be so breathtaking there. And oh the things I could do ;)
    Xoxo

  12. Kimberly

    January 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I’m not sure if my comment went through.
    Poop.
    I love you.

  13. Leovi

    January 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Yes, I really like these fine sculptures, beautiful photos. Greetings.

  14. Terri Sonoda

    January 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Vidya.  Every Sunday is a treat, thanks to you.   I so enjoy taking a look into your amazing world.  Your photos transport me to another culture filled with rich history and beauty.  I only wish I could tour these places with you as my guide, my friend!  The statues are breathtaking.   And I’m with Laurie…..I love the turtle and the toes!   And I loved the verse!   Thank you so much for sharing with and providing such enrichment to my life right from my living room.  Love you Vidya!   

  15. unknownmami

    January 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Re: Vittala’s feet…and I thought I had big feet!

  16. Tami Miller

    January 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    You always have the most amazing photos.  It really is cool seeing the part of the world you live in.  :-)

  17. Paige | simple mindfulness

    January 30, 2012 at 12:10 am

    What a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    I remember visiting an ashram under construction years ago in the mountains of Colorado near where I live.  It took many years for the volunteers to complete everything.  Meeting many of them and speaking with them showed how much love went into every tiny aspect.  I can only imagine the love that radiates from the Vishwa Shanti Ashram!

    Thank you Vidya!

  18. Sheila

    January 30, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Coming here makes me feel like spending all my money and coming to India.  Seriously  I ADORE these posts!  And I actually have and have read the Bhagvad Gita!  I may need to re read as it is one of those that requires that of my mind, but I love it.  One day we’ll have to open a FB chat and discuss some things.  I have a zillion questions.  Or atleast 10.  :)

    Hugs Vidya!

  19. Emily

    January 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This looks like a fascinating place! I would love to go there!

  20. Angelia Sims

    January 30, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Wow! That is an incredible place. The intricate design of every statue….Amazing! I can imagine being humbled in such a place. Can’t wait to see the rest! :-)

  21. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Thank you, “Profwaynewsmith” and welcome! You are right about the paycheck not being important – creating was more important. :-) There are always some people who hang around there, cleaning everything, and hoping only for a meal in return.

  22. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Welcome, Hajra, here and to Bangalore. Do visit soon. You’ll have a choice of places to stay :D

  23. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Hi Heather! Thank you for visiting. We had a wonderful morning at the ashram

  24. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Thank you, Joy. When we entered the shrine with the huge statue, we could actually feel the peace and this was enhanced by reading the engraved verses of the Gita on the walls around the statue. I love the concept of universal peace!

  25. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Dear Molly! So happy you enjoyed the photos. I loved your pictures this week!

  26. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Dear Betsy, when we were there, and reading the inscriptions, I thought of you and Sheila and imagined how much you would have enjoyed visiting that place. Very peaceful and calm and somehow, energizing.

  27. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:35 am

    :-) Laurie – I am with you on that one. I particularly photographed the turtle for its sweet smile. :-)

  28. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Dearest Kim – thank you! The ladies are all beautiful :-D and carefully sculpted! Hugs to you!

  29. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Greetings, Leovi! thank you!

  30. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Mmmuah, Kimberly,  Disqus dared not disappear your comments – Or they’ll have me to deal with. ;-)

  31. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Kimberly, actually I have my son to thank most of the time for his special interest in visiting temples and other architectural delights. I love those too – but his desire to visit them “now” is a treat for us, as well. Thanks – :D (I appreciate you letting me know that the commenting was giving you grief and am glad i figured out how to sync the comments)

  32. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Thank you, so much, Terri. Yes, I too dream that we can go visit these places together.  The turtle is sweet, isn’t it? We spent a lot of time reading all the inscriptions. Hugs to you and so happy you enjoy this.

  33. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:41 am

    That’s exactly what I said to my fellas the moment I saw those, Unknown Mami. I was often teased “bigfoot” and never had a choice in footwear twenty years ago. Thank God, not anymore. I made it easier on myself by loving shoes. :D

  34. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Thank you Tami! 

  35. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Sheila, please come. And don’t worry about a place to stay (and a guide, such as I am). It’ll be great fun.  Can’t wait to hear your questions! :-D – zillion or ten. Hugs to you!

  36. Vidya Sury

    January 30, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Hi Angelia and welcome! So happy you liked the photos. I can guarantee that next Sunday’s photos will be very colorful and fun:-D Thank you for your comment – and I loved your photos very much. You’ve got a great eye!

  37. BLOGitse

    January 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    wow, your art pieces are amazing – and you have A LOT of them!
    Have a good week!

  38. Angela|Powered by Intuition

    January 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Vidya, Another fascinating post. I love the inscription on the statue above about conquering lust and other habits that detract from happiness. Once again you have stunning photography too!

  39. Arvind Devalia

    January 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks Vidya for sharing your amazing pics!

    Clearly this is a place I must visit one day soon:-)

  40. Lisa@Advent's Adventures

    January 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Amazing 
    Vidya! I love these walks we take :) Beautiful statues. I can’t wait to see next weeks post! 

    xoxo,
    Lisa 

  41. Kaylen

    January 31, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Looks like an amazing place to visit!! Great photos-thanks for sharing! I love the view from the base of the statue: my eye’s view is the feet. :)

  42. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Emily! Yes, it was. And a great place to carry a picnic basket to – there’s lots of greenery and place to play! :-)

  43. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you, BLOGitse! :-) It is exciting to think we can get away for a few hours whenever we want!

  44. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you, Angela. That shrine was beautiful, with the top of the statue bathed in sunlight. The whole place had a lovely glow and the ambiance was just perfect to relax and read the inscriptions! :-)

  45. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you, Arvind! You’ll really enjoy it. :D I’ll be happy to take you there!

  46. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Lisa! :D I love your company too! And this time, no boo-boos :D Next week there’s going to be a lot of color! I look forward to seeing them with you! ;-)

  47. Vidya Sury

    January 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, Kaylen. It gave me a great sense of being very human when I looked up. With all the mythological stories we enjoy here in India, it makes it all the more enjoyable! Thank you for visiting!

  48. Jt Clough | Big Island Dog

    January 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    The photos are inspiring.  When on thinks about all the history and culture that goes with them awe inspiring!  Mahalo for sharing your city with us.

  49. Vidya Sury

    February 1, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Thank you, Jt! Indeed, the stories enhance the visuals manifold :D

  50. Vidya Sury

    February 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you, Tami! :-) I am happy you visited with me!

  51. Vidya Sury

    February 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    You’re right, Paige.  That’s one thing I also admire – they don’t seem to care about what they get in return. Most of the people around the place do their work lovingly. They care about their contribution. Thank you, Paige!

  52. vanita

    June 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I can not begin to tell you how i love these posts. vidya the pictures are beautiful and i feel like a land i’ve never seen is calling me home.

    • Vidya Sury

      June 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      :-) Just know you will have a friend here :D

  53. seema

    December 23, 2012 at 5:17 am

    So lucky to see at least photographs of beutiful statues of maa gayatri devi Visws swaroop of lord Vishnu sitting in home thanks a lot

  54. usha

    May 22, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Hello Vidya,
    Are there any bathroom facility available in the ashram?
    Any contact numbers? I am Usha, writing an article on the place.
    Do let me know if you know any details.
    Regards
    Usha

    • Vidya Sury

      May 22, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Hi Usha!

      Yes, there are washroom facilities available there. In fact, it is a popular picnic spot and on a holiday, it is not uncommon to see families hanging around the grass having lunch or watching their kids play. Details about the ashram, phone numbers etc are available here: http://www.vishwashantiashram.org/

      Would love to see your article when you publish it!