A Labor of Love: The Dhyanalinga Dome
Questioner: Sadhguru, why is the Dhyanalinga encased in the shape of a dome? Is there any scientific reason?
Sadhguru: Anything that radiates, whether it is light or heat, always tends to radiate in the form of a circle. If we had built a square building, if you are sensitive, you would feel a dislocation in that space. So, it had to be a round building for the Dhyanalinga.
The way I compromised the Dhyanalinga complex design is one aspect of my life which still makes me cringe. Every time when I walk through, I know what it could have been and what we have done because of our own limitations of budget and time. Initially, I wanted to put it about 60 feet below the Earth and surround it with a big pool of water. That would have been the best way to do it. But when we were building, I had to complete it in a certain span of time because my life was going through a certain phase. Due to time and budget limitations we hurried it up and so I had a plan B. That was also too expensive, so I settled for plan C. Now we are trying to do everything possible to beautify Plan C and make it worthwhile because for who He is, there is not enough ornamentation for him. We are striving to do what we can.
Architecturally, the Dhyanalinga dome is very unique. Usually, domes are semi-circular like in the Taj Mahal or Gol Gumbaz, but we decided to build an elliptical dome. To make a section of an ellipse stand the way it is standing without the use of any steel, concrete, or cement was the whole challenge. That is why the dome is unique. If you casually look it, it may look like a hemisphere, but it is actually a section of an ellipse. We wanted it that way because a linga is also an ellipsoid, so an elliptical dome is the best complement for the linga’s energy.
The reason why we used only bricks and no cement, steel, and concrete is because concrete – if it is very high quality concrete – has a maximum life of around one hundred and twenty five years. We don’t want to trouble the next generation of people who live there. Just imagine if a concrete pillar collapses on somebody after a hundred years. Can you imagine their plight? We are building the infrastructure to last three to five thousand years because this is one thing that people will enjoy for a long time. If you look at any of the Mesopotamian or Egyptian excavations, the first type of remains you see is pottery, because if you burn clay, its lifespan is almost forever. Bricks are also just a lump of pottery – their lifespan is forever.
Another aspect of the dome is that it is not held together with tension, like in most modern buildings. In most buildings there is a continuous struggle between the roof and the force of gravity; gravity wants the building down, the roof wants it up – and gravity will win one day. But the dome is held together only with brick, mud, and a little bit of lime and herbal additives. The simple technology is just that all the bricks are trying to come down at the same time, so they cannot come down. It is like when ten people try to go through a door, they cannot; they will be stuck unless one of them has the courtesy to step back. And believe me – bricks don’t have courtesy.
Each brick was soaked in water for 24 hours to ensure they were fully burnt. Unburnt bricks will just melt away if they are kept in water. Those that do not melt in 24 hours are properly burnt, and their life span is forever. We measured each brick to the millimeter because if they are different sizes, they will fall. The dome was placed brick by brick in rings. The important thing is, once you start a brick layer you must complete it the same day. If you do not, it will fall down overnight. Once it is complete, it cannot fall down.
The Isha Yoga Center is a seismologically sensitive area, so we built the dome on a sand foundation. We just dug twenty feet deep and filled it with sand, so it acts like a cushion. It just absorbs any reverberation.
Then, just to be a little audacious, we put a nine-foot hole in the dome to allow the hot air out. Generally, people believe it is structurally impossible to leave a hole in a dome. People said “A dome has to be closed, otherwise it will fall.” I said, “Don’t worry. That’s not how it's standing.” The dome is in perfect harmony with the forces of the planet. It is relaxed – you can even say it is meditating, because there is no tension in the building. That is why I tell people, “When the buildings itself are meditating, you should be an easy case!”
The hundred and eighty thousand bricks we used in the dome were measured and placed by volunteers. I sat down and I explained to them, “See, this is what it means, I’m placing it in your hands. If somebody is a little lax by even two millimeters less than what it should be, the whole thing may collapse.” Men, women, and children sat down and measured day and night. I wanted this building to happen like that, out of people’s love, not out of something else.
Editor's Note: It is Sadhguru’s vision that the Dhyanalinga be made available to all, not just now, but for generations to come. This week, Isha launches its online campaign to help raise funds for completion of the Dhyanalinga complex. This is an opportunity for all of us wishing to make the spiritual process available to all, to join in making it happen by giving what we can. To learn more about the expansion plans for the Dhyanalinga and to get involved, please visit: www.giveisha.com/temple