Discover Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram
Where is Shree Peetha Nilaya located?
Shree Peetha Nilaya (SPN) is situated in the heart of the German countryside. SPN is Bhakti Marga’s international headquarters and overlooks Springen, a peaceful village in the district of Heidenrod. The Ashram is approximately one hours drive from Frankfurt International Airport.
The area surrounding the centre is blessed with incredible natural beauty. Devotees and spiritual seekers benefit from the tranquil atmosphere which is a perfect setting for exploring their deeper natures.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s historical connection with Germany
Shree Peetha Nilaya is Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s second ashram in Germany. Stefanshof was the site of the original Ashram in 2004. Stefanshof is a small village near the historical town of Kastellaun, in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis district.
A large group of Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s initiated devotees first moved to live at Shree Peetha Nilaya in 2008. The Mayor of Heidenrod officially opened the centre in 2013.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s main residence is SPN.
Why did Paramahamsa Vishwananda choose Springen?
The Ashram was an old German Trade Union conference centre, which had lain derelict for over 10 years. Paramahamsa Vishwananda was looking for a larger facility to establish his principal international Ashram in Germany. One of his associates suggested he went to see the centre. There is a beautiful forest valley at the rear of the Ashram. During that first visit to the future home of Bhakti Marga, Paramahamsa Vishwananda gazed out upon this valley. He realized, in that moment, this was the same place he had a vision of 7 years earlier, when he was 23 years old. This was an auspicious sign that confirmed this was to be the new home for his Ashram.
The conference centre guest rooms were ideal for accommodating residents and visitors to SPN. The centre’s generous event spaces were well suited for conversion to the Hindu Mandir, Chapel and Darshan Hall.
The Ashram buildings and grounds cover 13 acres.
Shree Peetha Nilaya – the meaning behind the name
Shree Peetha Nilaya means ‘Abode of Maha Lakshmi’. Maha means ‘great’ in Hindi. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of spiritual fortune, prosperity and health. SPN is therefore said to be a manifestation of the Divine Mother.
What is there to do at the Shree Peetha Nilaya?
Bhakti Marga has developed a wide range of activities for visitors to the Ashram. Visitors can join Bhakti Marga Academy introductory courses and activities. The Academy has specifically tailored the courses for people who are new to the Bhakti path or visiting Shree Peetha Nilaya for the first time. Devotees who already know Paramahamsa Vishwananda love practising their Sadhana (spiritual practices) in SPN’s protective energy.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda creates the opportunity for the devotees living in SPN to help visitors gain a deeper understanding of their own spiritual potential. Shree Peetha Nilaya is also the perfect environment for visitors to receive direct experience of Divine Love in action.
Thousands of visitors travel to SPN throughout the year to participate in the myriad of events, festivals, courses and worship gatherings. The majority of events are Hindu in orientation. However, the key Christian festivals are an important part of the year at Shree Peetha Nilaya. Bhakti Marga holds Easter and Christmas celebrations in the Chapel over multiple days.
Bhakti Marga Academy
Paramahamsa Vishwananda founded the Bhakti Marga Academy in 2016. Students are able to participate in an extensive curriculum of courses on Hindu philosophy. Courses are provided for both beginners and those with advanced knowledge. Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s erudite commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, the Shreemad Bhagavatam and Sri Guru Gita have proved immensely popular with devotees. The BM Academy organises several residential retreats each year, for those who want to deep dive into the teachings.
Bhakti Marga Music offers courses in Hindu devotional singing and music (Bhajans and Kirtan). Bhakti Marga Art offers courses in devotional, spiritual and icon painting. Visitors can take part in courses designed for people of different capability levels. Highly skilled teachers, with decades of collective experience, deliver the courses.
What is there to see at Shree Peetha Nilaya?
The Ashram has a host of unique, key points of interest. Babaji’s Cave in the basement recreates Mahavatar Babaji’s secluded retreat in the Himalayas and is an amazing place to meditate. Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, the famous Hindu Saint has a Mandir (temple) near the Ashram entrance dedicated to him. A magnificent white marble Shirdi Sai statue sits lovingly at its centre. Shirdi Sai showers his blessings on the devotees and visitors who step inside its womb-like red brick structure.
Large stone statues of Shiva and Hanuman radiate their grace from the nearby hill above the main Ashram building.
The beautiful Hindu Mandir inside the main building features a large altar lined with a multitude of Hindu statues (Murthis). Scores of Relics and the personal possessions of well-known Hindu Saints are on display in glass cabinets inside the Mandir.
Devotees attend prayers in the Chapel twice daily. Residents produced the exquisite Christian icon paintings, which adorn the Chapel walls. Visitors can view a breathtaking collection of hundreds of Christian Saint Relics exhibited in the adjacent room.
Other points of interest at SPN
The Bhajan Café is the social hub of the Ashram. The tantalising menu includes delicious vegetarian/vegan cakes and snacks. Guests are able to drink nutritious, refreshing fruit and vegetable smoothies, along with a choice of teas and coffee.
A lively family of peacocks parade around the Ashram grounds. The Ashram owns a small dairy cow farm on the outskirts of Springen village. The forests in the immediate vicinity provide wonderful, peaceful walks to help visitors to re-connect with nature.
An Ashram is a spiritual community. People living there commit to make their relationship with the Divine the central focus of their activities throughout the day.
Fifty monastic residents currently live in SPN. The devotees’ day starts with optional meditation practice at 6.00 am. Morning Prayers take place from 7.00 am to 8:00 am daily. Devotees and visitors attend Evening Prayers again from 6.00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Guests can eat three meals every day in the Ashram: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Residents and seva workers freshly prepare all food in the large kitchen. Many ingredients are grown in the ashram kitchen gardens.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda requires all the food served in SPN to be pure vegetarian. Bhakti Marga does not use Garlic or onion ingredients in the menu. The vibration of Sattvic vegetarian food optimises the effectiveness of peoples’ spiritual Sadhana practices. In the Hindu tradition, a vegetarian lifestyle enables people to maintain a benign relationship with animals.
Devotional singing and music: Kirtan and Bhajans are an important part of the Bhakti path. An accomplished group of musicians live within the resident community. The practice of Hindu ceremonies, Stotrams, Chalisa and Bhajans are an intrinsic part of the daily prayer sessions.
Visiting Shree Peetha Nilaya
Bhakti Marga welcomes visitors from all faith traditions and those who have yet to follow a specific spiritual path. Visitors do not need to have knowledge or experience in spirituality to visit SPN. The Ashram has a limited number of guest rooms; as a consequence, rooms are in high demand when public events such as Darshans and Hindu festivals are taking place. The SPN team will try to make special arrangements for visitors who would like to stay at SPN for the first time. This is always dependent room on availability.
The simple 5-bed, en-suite rooms for visitors cost 38 Euros per person and include three meals each day. The Ashram has separate guest rooms for Men and women. This helps guests to concentrate on their spiritual practices and study, without the potential distractions of secular life.
While staying at the Ashram visitors can wear any clothes they feel comfortable in. Bhakti Marga kindly asks visitors to wear appropriate Hindu clothing when attending prayers and other ceremonies whenever possible.
When is the best time to visit Shree Peetha Nilaya?
When Paramahamsa Vishwananda is not travelling the world giving Darshans and Satsangs, he is frequently at SPN. Several times a year he also leads groups of devotees on pilgrimages to holy places around the world.
Paramahamsa Vishwananda is normally at SPN during the main spiritual festivals and events during the year. These include Easter, Just Love, Gurupurnima, Navaratri (9 days) and Christmas through to New Year. To avoid disappointment, we recommend you always check Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s calendar before booking travel arrangements to visit Shree Peetha Nilaya. Please follow this link to view Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s Calendar
Bhakti Marga requires all visitors travelling to SPN to register for all public events in advance. To register please click on the event you would like to attend in the Bhakti Marga Global Events Calendar and follow the registration process. If you need accommodation at SPN, it is recommended to request this when you register.
Visitors interested in travelling to the Ashram for the first time should contact Swamini Karuna. Swamini will be glad to give you advice on how to plan your visit to ensure you have the best possible experience.
Visitors can view all Bhakti Marga’s global events, including those held at SPN on the Bhakti Marga Global Events Calendar. You can identify events that Paramahamsa Vishwananda is attending by looking for a red dot before the name of the event in the calendar. This calendar is useful if you want to register for Bhakti Marga events happening in different parts of the world.
Seva at Shree Peetha Nilaya
Seva is voluntary work as ‘selfless service’ and an integral part of ashram life. Visitors who stay in the Ashram can take part in the daily seva programme. This helps them to experience the joys of spiritual service. Guests typically work with SPN residents in garden, kitchen or housekeeping teams who help run the centre. The experience of seva activity gives a special feeling of joy in peoples’ hearts. Visitors who decide to join the seva programme are provided with suitable clothing, if necessary, by the team leader who coordinates their seva duty.