Tucked away in the foothills of the verdant Velliangiri hills, at Poondi, near C oimbatore is the multi-religious Dhyanalingam
temple, with its awesome earthen b rick dome, silhouetted in regal splendour against the lush green hills and the a zure sky above. The multi-religious Dhyanalingam temple, designed as a place for meditation, was conceived by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of the Isha Yoga Center as a tribu te to the Masters of the Yoga tradition. Brahmachari engineers and dedicated vol unteers offered their services and skills freely in the building of this temple. Architect Karthikeyan of the architectural firm, Karthik and Karthik built the f oundation walls (the peripheral dimension of the structure is 212 ft x 8 ft), an d worked out other intricate details of the art work. Since this was to be a pla ce for meditation and not religious rituals, 'Only the essence of Hindu architec ture was drawn upon,' explains Karthikeyan. 'For instance, the traditional "dhwa ja sthamba" of a Hindu temple, was converted into a "sarva dharma sthamba", with symbols of all the major religions of the world, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Taoism, Zorastranism and Buddhism, inscribed on its three sides. In wh ite granite, this massive monolith is placed in the unusual, sunken reception. T he stone entrance gateway or the thorana is based on traditional Indian architec ture with an 11-foot, high wood paneled door, which acts as the main entry. An open to sky, central pathway which visually links the entrance to the mud bri ck dome, is approached by climbing three 'rudraksha' steps, (pebbles cut in rudr aksha shapes). This has been done to give the effect of acupressure for activati ng the nerve centres of the body, to prepare it for meditation. The pathway is f lanked by covered aisles on either side, housing shrines and sculptured panels. The aisles are covered with a simple roof structure of hollow terracotta tiles w hich is supported by granite pillars and stone beams commissioned from Mahabalip uram. The open pathway ends at a vaulted tunnel, leading to the dome. Built with wedge -shaped granite blocks spanning eight feet, the vault serves as the gateway to t he Dhyanalingam, and also, structurally supports the brick dome. The stone thres hold of the vault is carved with the figures of two snakes. Explaining the Sadhg uru's philosophy, Karthikeyan says, 'The five-headed snake sculpture crowning th e vault is symbolic of the five senses that act as the gateway to the mind, whic h uses them to acquire knowledge and wisdom, and thus, to liberate itself.' The free standing mud brick dome with no metal supports or scaffolding was desig ned by French architect, Satprem Maini of the Auroville Building Center. He pers onally supervised the entire execution of the dome step by step, employing over 300 workers, including 25 masons. The basic design of the dome is based on ancient Nubian technology of Egyptian o rigin, dating back 2000 to 3000 years. Explains Satprem Maini, 'The dome, is a segmental ellipse with the thickness of the dome varying from the base to the apex. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev had set a dea dline for the completion of the dome, and so we could not use compressed earth b locks as the time required for their production, curing and drying would have be en too long.' So they opted for fired, wire-cut bricks, laid one over the other, to make use of the capillary action of water over the brick. Mud plaster was us ed for the initial fixing, and it was stablised with lime and cement mortar. The first layer of brick starts at a 13° angle of 21" width and the last ends at an a lmost vertical angle of 82° of 8" thickness, culminating at the roof, with a 6-ft wide opening at the top. Since the lingam was placed inside before the construction of the dome, Satprem Maini designed an elliptical dome. The entire dome was constructed without using any frame work or scaffolding, ring beam, steel or concrete. 250,000 bricks wer e used, each measured to the millimeter. The cutting was finished with great pre cision in spite of primitive instruments such as knotted rope. The dome finally weighed approximately 700 tons. The dome rests on an 8-ft wide and 6-ft high, circular stone masonry wall, inclu ding a ring of 2-ft wide granite lintels. In the niches of the wall are 28, smal l 'aura' cells for one to sit in and meditate. Each cell faces the Dhyanalingam. 28 triangular stone ventilators on top of the lintel beams provide light and ven
designed in the form of a coiled snake. They are meditating. so as to absorb 12 frequencies. polished granite and rests on a wide granite ba se. between 120 H z and 1. So here the buildings are relaxed.50 KHz of sound energy. some of which even we have built. If you look at all the buildings at the Isha Yoga C enter right now. and the all pervading silence. The gravitational power of this planet is constantly trying to pull those build
. es pecially when chanting. So if you know how to keep the body. On the exterior of the dome. hangs above the lingam. the dark interiors. for additional support to the wa lls. it’s just the geometry at play. They are meditating. The lingam is made of jet black. the resplendent reflections of the oil lamps on the golden dome.' The result is a dome without any echo inside. they are held together by tension. because it is properly aligned and in proper geometry. it can exi st here for a long time and very well too. are held together by the tension of the steel and concrete. If you use concrete. Everything that you see around you. and granite floors. For acoustics. The 'Avudaiyar'.
Architecture is just a play of geometry. give an ethereal magic to the whole structu re. choice of natural materials. similar to the way the g lobe is made. because the material is strong and it provides support. which is normal considering its volume. 'Single resonator absorbers (Helmhotz resonator s) were installed in three layers. Now. The central opening of the dome is covered by a lingam-shaped cop¬per st ructure. generally you can make t he building any way you want because it’s the material that holds it together. which suspended from the opening of the dome. The building itself is meditating because there is no tension in it. you can say. This metal c overs heats up in the day and sucks out the hot air inside the dome. So here the buildings are relaxed. not the geometry. right from a tree to your own body is perfec tly geometrical. The two architects Satprem and Karthikeyan admirably succeeded in translating Sa dhguru's vision of constructing a unique and strong structure by using only trad itional building materials which will inspire people in the years to come. make t he interior of the dome a cool and tranquil place for meditation. all we have used is brick. rises from the gran ite base.tilation. That is the beauty of what w e are doing here. Th is is not the case at the Yoga Center. and when it was completed he dedicated the temple to t he world. lime and mud. Right now. It i s only the geometry that is makes the structures stand. Concrete buildings. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev planned this multi-religious Dhyanalingam temple for the enlightenment of mankind. you can say. the divine OM or some musical instruments are played. b ut with a certain reverberation. Water drips from a copper hemisphere layered with gold foil. they do not stand because of the strength of the material. is there any ten sion in this body? That means it is in perfect geometry. If something was not fixed properly then there would naturally be some tension. the glowing splendour lighting up the massive dome. modern buildings being constructed today are like this. isn’t it? If you look at it in a relaxed manner. Satprem explains. it would create tension. They stand only because of perfectness of the geometry. cement or steel. Karthikeyan has used buttresses branching off from the support masonry walls at regular intervals. If the geometry is not proper. which blocks direct light but acts as a ventilator on top. The lingam and the 'Avudaiyar' combined approximately weigh 25 tons an d are surrounded by a shallow water body — Jalaseema which creates an image of the idol floating on water. while cool air comes in through the vault and the ventilators. At the Yoga Center. th e rever¬berations acquire an almost celestial overtone. The natural draught of cool air. The gentle cascading sound of water over the lingam.
Bodhi Dharma was born a prince in the Pallava Kingdom in South India. Bodhi Dharma was real ly not looking very impressive. the most powerful nights for Devi worship and celebration. “By all means. Linga Bhairavi vastrams are exquisitely designed cotton and silk sarees that ado rn the Devi for a certain period of time. perfect geometry of construction. to bring the powerfully protective and compassionate energies of Linga Bhairavi Devi into that space. The moment the news of his arrival came. and hence they never can. fully enlightened teachers would cross the Himalayas and come and spread the message in China. They were Bod hi Dharma and one of his disciples. He invited them into his camp and offered them a seat and food. These preparations went on for many years and the emperor waited and waited. two people appeared at the border of the Chinese kingdom. If none of them do. The emperor was disappointed but he contained his disappointment and welcomed th e two monks. As long as they are pushing. Emperor Wu looked at the two of them and was greatly disappointed. At the age of twenty-two he was fully enlightened. they will all just keep pushing. It’s like five pe ople trying to get into a door at once – nobody will get in unless one has a littl e courtesy to step back. They can also be hung in any place of sanctity in the home. H e was a great patron of Buddhism and he dearly wanted a great Buddhist teacher f rom India to come and spread the message of Buddhism. Emperor Wu asked Bodhi Dharma. Devi is offered red vastrams for eleve n months and green during Marghazhi (Dec-Jan). He was the son of the king of Kanchipuram. Devotees have the rare and unique opportunity to have these sacred.” Emperor Wu asked. but at an early age. They are part icularly beneficial during weddings and coming of age ceremonies for women. The simple technology of this is that all the bricks are trying to fall down at the same time. He set in motion elaborate work to see that Buddhism spread to the people of his land. This is not architecture. Linga Bhairavi A dorn yourself with consecrated Devi Sarees – draped for Devi during Navaratri. My estimate is such that the Temple should last a minimum of 5000 years because there is no tension in the building anywhere. Worn by the travel of a few months in the mountains. It is only made of brick and mud. at the first opportunity he got. He was told that an enlightened being woul d be coming and was expecting something. a nd that was when he was sent as a messenger to China. it’s just spirituality. weary from the long travel. a message was sent acro ss that two great. the unique ness of its dome is that there is no cement steel. he left his kingdom and pr incehood and became a monk. they remain in place for as long as the planet is on. It is standing because of the simp le. consecrated sarees. The n. “What is the source of this creation?”
. History of Yoga Over one thousand five hundred years ago in China. There was great excitement and the emperor pre pared a big celebration in anticipation of their arrival. They can be worn during all special occasions in one’s life. but not those which are in perfect harmony with the forces of the pla net. but this was a mere boy of twenty-two y ears. When these monks came. Then one day. Emperor Wu himself came to the borders of his empire and set up a huge reception and waited. If you take a look at the Dhyanalinga Temple at the Isha Yoga Center. “Can I ask you a question?” Bodhi Dharma said. these sarees carry the energy of Linga Bhairavi Devi. Draped during the Navaratri Festival to adorn the Goddess in Her different forms and colors. there lived an emperor named Wu. After a few months of waiting. but no teacher came. when the emperor was over sixty years old. or concrete in it.ings down.
Ask something else. “How much I have done for somebody. if a man does something and then keeps accounts of it. questions that he thought were deep and profound. where it became Zen. I ha ve built so many meditation halls.Emperor Wu asked. But Emperor Wu missed the only opportunity of his life. there are seven layers of the mind. He flew into a rage and threw Bod hi Dharma out of his empire. “What is the source of creation? What is the source of who I am?” He brushed this off. according to the Buddhist way of life. But Emperor Wu did not understand any of this. Instead of just doing what is needed. He stood up and glared down at the emperor with his huge big eyes and said. “What kind of foolish question is t hat? Ask something else. “Okay. For Bodhi Dharma. “To spread the dharma. laughed. to spread Buddha’s message. all the charity that he ha d given and finally he said. he carried on with his jo urney. It was Bodhi Dharma who brought Zen to China. I have made all these arrangements.” What he meant was. I will ask you a second question . Will I get mukti?” Now Bodhi Dharma became serious. hundreds of gardens. Bodhi Dharma would have answered.” Emperor Wu was extremely offended. If they are not nice to him. how many things he had done. Hundreds of years later.” If the emperor had asked about the weather in India or abou t Bodhi Dharma’s health.” he is in the lowest level of the mind and he will inevitably suffer because he is expecting people t o be nice to him in return for his deeds. and trained thousands of translators. But this man was asking . He had held many deba tes and discussions about this particular question. He was offended an d angry but he contained himself and said. it made no difference – in or out. Bodhi Dharma transported Dhyan to China wh ere it became Chan. and other f ar east Asian countries. “This is an utterly stupid question . It doesn’t matter whether it is a kingdom or a mountain. He made a list of all the good things that he had done in his life – how many people he had fed. Japan. “What? You! Mukti? You will burn in the seventh hell. It was Bodhi Dharma who brought Zen to China. Gautama the Buddha taught Dhyan or meditation. Now Emperor Wu became really angry but he contained himself and asked the third question. This Chan went further down to Indonesia. and now this fool of a boy w ho came from nowhere just dismissed it as a foolish question. “What is the source of this creation?” Bodhi Dharma looked at him.
. he will b e mentally tortured and it will be a seventh hell. What is the source of my existence?” Now Bodhi Dharma laughed even louder and said. and said. He had a whole list of questions to ask Bodhi Dharma.