What Sort of Architecture Should Modern India Create?
Question: We as Indians have not yet figured out what India’s modern architecture is about. We simply copy the West. What do you think India’s modern architecture should be like?
Sadhguru: We copy the West not just in architecture but in just everything! I see a whole lot of women in India have turned blonde! I have no problem whatever color your hair is. You can color it whichever way you want, but you should not be doing it in imitation of someone else. Though they left us seventy years ago, they are still living in our minds! The color of your hair is not an issue, but you should not be doing it because you think some color is superior to your color – that’s apartheid!
This compulsiveness has definitely come to architecture also. If you look back at ancient India, what aesthetics! One aspect of this is geometry. In the physical world, the most important aspect is geometric perfection. The planets are going around the sun not because they are held together by a steel cable. It is geometric perfection that keeps it going. If the geometry goes off in this solar system, that is the end of it! It will all fly into oblivion.
The entire yogic science – on the physical level – is just about aligning your individual geometry to the cosmic geometry, so that at some point there is no difference between you and the cosmos. You experience everything as yourself, simply because you have attained to a certain level of geometric perfection. It is not just in your physiological structure. In your chemical and energy structure you also get aligned with the larger geometry, so that you and that larger phenomenon feel just the same because they are properly aligned.
Architecture is about dwellings and usable structures that we build. In some way, they must find their place with the rest of the creation. I think we have lost this completely today, simply because we have a certain liberty with the material. Once steel and concrete came, we thought we can build whichever way we want because of the strength of the material.
Doing things out of sheer force is sometimes alright for utility, but if you do everything like that, your life will become ugly. It is not just about the building, your life will become ugly because you are doing things with force. Life is beautiful when we can do things with minimum force and maximum impact. If you exert maximum force with minimum impact, that is a cruel way to live.
Our architecture has taken to this mode simply because we have found material where we make absurd shapes and still make them stand. Something which has no geometrical right to stand is standing up, simply because of the strength of the material.
If we withdraw from that excitement of finding new material and move to more sensible geometry in the world, you will see people will feel much better. People will be much healthier physically and mentally – and there will be many more benefits – if they live in such buildings. Above all, you will cause minimum disturbance to everything around you.
Editor's Note: In the article, "Architecture and Spirituality," Sadhguru explores the nature of geometry and architecture, and explains the unique nature of the buildings at the Isha Yoga Center, especially the Dhyanalinga dome. Read the article.