The Dhyanalinga Dome
The dome that houses Dhyanalinga is made of 250,000 bricks and weighs about 700 tons. Measuring 33 feet in height and 76 feet in diameter, it stands without a single pillar of support. The simple technology used in this marvelous piece of architecture is this – all the bricks are trying to fall down at the same time! But the way the bricks are packed together, they can never fall. Each brick is held up by its neighbors, and those bricks by their neighbors, and so on. The nature of this design ensures a lifespan of at least 5000 years for the dome.
Sadhguru: It is like all of you are trying to get through a door, but no one can because you are all stuck at the door. If one person has a little courtesy and steps back, then a burst will happen and everyone will go. But believe me, bricks don’t have courtesy.
It is a fabulous design – so delicate, at the same time so absolutely sturdy. I want you to experience this.
It is an audacious design. One who does not know how to ride a bicycle will say, “Look at these narrow tyres, it is not safe. Suppose this happens, suppose that happens.” That is not how the world works. The Creator is like this, he is audacious! Whatever is the source of creation, look at the audacity – if the next inhalation does not go into you, you are gone. But still, see how sturdy the body is! Just look at all the things human beings do. Because it is such an audacious design. It is a fabulous design – so delicate, at the same time so absolutely sturdy. I want you to experience this.
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 it, 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.
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. 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.
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.
The 250,000 bricks we used in the dome were measured and placed by volunteers. I sat down and 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.