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History - Sai tempel Onderdijk

How it began…

The story behind the development of a Sai Temple and every activity thereafter...

It all began with Jan and Alída van Velzen, Bas’ parents, by realising a meditation room in their own home after joining a study group in Hoorn in 1989. The study group transitioned towards Onderdijk, and a  temple was born in what was once a bedroom, thus turning a vision into reality.


Alida’s source of inspiration is the books of Sri Sathya Sai Baba – a great Master from India – and Jan followed suit after attending a symposium in Hamburg.


Alída then thought of visiting India. The opportunity, somehow, presented itself sooner than expected. On September 24, 1989, Jan tagged along with a group to India, not because the trip seemed to be all that attractive, but due to him being driven by a curiosity about the phenomenon of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and a desire to not ‘lose’ his wife.

following an extraordinary experience, they returned home and continued on their path, ignited by a new perspective in their enthusiasm, and the living room transformed into their venue for morning studies which in turn culminated in singing (practicing devotional songs called ‘bhajans’) in the temple.


Jan and Alida then made it customary to spread positive energy in the room by chanting ‘OM’ 21 times first thing in the morning and ending the day with meditation. This is in practice even to this day.


Over the years, the space for singing started becoming insufficient. They relocated to a church building, but the return to Onderdijk did not take too long. Since then, the study group not only meet on Friday mornings, they gather for singing on Sunday mornings too, supported by a first-class repertoire.


In 1991, Bas and his brother embarked on a six-month tour of India, during which he met Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Guruswami. Afterwards, despite having gone back to his home in The Netherlands, Bas’ immense attraction towards India led to him revisiting the country. Four years passed by, during which he lived, studied and worked primarily in India, and received spiritual education from Guruswami. Thereafter, he undertakes the establishment of a place in the Netherlands where people, from any and every background or religion, will get a home.


In 1996, through Guruswami, Bas got introduced to Swami Gopala Krishna who embraced him with utmost love, which led to an unexpected three-month stay. This wound up being confusing for some Baba devotees that Bas went to see Swami Gopala Krishna as a Master besides Sai Baba. A part of the group branched away from ‘Onderdijk,’ but some remained and rapid expansion followed.


On May 3, 1998, the Unity of both Masters is unmistakably expressed with the festive opening of the new temple (in the former bulb shed).


That was the beginning of the temple’s numerous metamorphoses, and Bas (now known as Kannaiah) is a symbolic figure related to the Temple in Onderdijk.


Although Bas had to relocate many times after his marriage with Carla Hartog, he continued the meetings in Onderdijk. In 2011, to everyone's surprise, a new house was built beside the temple. With the acquisition (October 2016) of the spaces behind the house of Jan and Alída, they wanted to guarantee the continuity of the temple.


They hope to continue spreading love and peace, the way Jan and Alída have been doing together since the beginning, with the support of the many visitors to the all-embracing Sai Temple in Onderdijk.

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