8 Days in the Space of Dhyanalinga
A few volunteers share their experience of Linga Seva, a powerful process of offering oneself for eight days at Dhyanalinga, in the Isha Yoga Center.
An Isha brahmacharini recounts her conversation with a few volunteers, who were Linga Sevakas at the Dhyanalinga during her Linga Arpanam – the two-week period a brahmachari spends taking care of the Dhyanalinga space.
There were six of them. An assorted group of two women and four men from different parts of India – Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Delhi. Seeing them so beautifully mingling with each other and taking care of devotees coming to the Dhyanalinga was an eye-opener, to say the least. Within a couple of days of them starting the Linga Seva, I could clearly see a change in their movements and how they carried themselves: their hands moved gently, they walked more gracefully, they spoke in a quiet pitch, lest their voices disturb even the leaves of the trees around Dhyanalinga. No one could miss their presence.
After their eight-day Seva was over, I met with them to hear how this simple process of Linga Seva brought such a visible change in them.
“It was so amazingly intense for me. Just bowing down to people – I never knew its power. I won’t forget one particular instance when I clearly realized what it did to me. I was standing at the entrance and a group of noisy people entered the silent space. As they came closer to me, I didn’t feel like bowing down to them somehow. But for some reason, I bowed down to them anyway and guided them into the pavilion (inner parikrama),” shared Rishikesh, a student from Pune. “I can’t explain how it happened, but what I was within myself before bowing down had totally changed. Tears almost dripped from my eyes.”
“I, too, initially was resistant to bowing down, but once I started, it left me with a very pleasant feeling within. Soon, I saw myself bowing down to all visitors irrespective of what they wore, how they looked, how they behaved – anyone. I had not known such inclusiveness within me before,” reflected Upendar from Chandigarh, an IT professional.
He continued, “Actually, another memorable moment for me was when I entered Dhyanalinga the first morning at 4:10 am – an opportunity available only to those in Linga Seva. I had been to Dhyanalinga several times even as early as 6 am (when the doors are opened), so I wasn’t expecting it to be any different. But as soon as I opened the small side door and stepped into the dome of the Dhyanalinga, I simply froze still – as if my breath had stopped. The powerful energy that the space exuded in that darkness and in total silence was unbelievably overwhelming.”
Anjali, Upendar’s wife, complemented her husband’s sharing with her own memorable experience, “When a brahmachari asked me to collect flowers to offer to Dhyanalinga, I was super-excited. I plucked each flower with so much attention and care that it left me drenched in some unforgettable feeling of ecstasy.”
For Navnath, another IT professional and also from Pune, it was an extra-special treat to be in Dhyanalinga. “My birthday happened to fall on one of the days, and I had offered a Mala to Dhyanalinga. I was totally mesmerized seeing the linga being adorned with that Mala. It was so special to be in Dhyanalinga that entire day – my best birthday ever! The Linga Seva has rendered me a devotee to Shiva,” he said with folded hands.
Meanwhile, Shyam from Hyderabad took up Linga Seva mainly to deepen his meditation and practices: “I really wanted to experience being in the Dhyanalinga space for eight days for long hours at a stretch. I wasn’t disappointed. My practices, my meditation and my way of being were enhanced in a way I can’t articulate. On the second night of Linga Seva, I had an attack of dysentery that lasted through the night along with fever and cold. The next morning, not wanting to drop out of the Seva, I somehow came to Dhyanalinga as per my regular schedule. To my amazement, the fever and diarrhea vanished by mid-day without any medicine. I didn’t even feel weak or tired though we were mostly standing throughout the day. It was nothing short of a miracle for me.”
When the conversation was getting a bit serious, Rishikesh jumped in, “Can I share something funny?” Of course, we all turned to him eagerly, smiling. “Since we got used to the silence in Dhyanalinga and we had to shush people so many times, I started to do this when I stepped outside as well. Every time I would hear someone talking loudly in the ashram, I would unconsciously put my fingers on my mouth and say ‘Shhhh!’ They would look at me strangely,” he chuckled.
Continuing with the humorous vein, Shyam added, “I found it very funny trying to make the children quiet down. Sometimes I would twist my mustache and put on a schoolteacher kind of face to intimidate them. Some would actually become silent seeing this, and some would mock me. I used to laugh within myself so hard when they made faces back at me!”
Beyond the space of Dhyanalinga, it was inspiring to hear how they changed in their interactions with others, responding to volunteers, security guards, sevadars – those people in the ashram they did not pay much attention to before. “I even smiled and spoke to a person I simply had not liked before, and who annoyed many other volunteers as well,” Rishikesh admitted shyly. Shyam found that he was not so judgmental any more, and was much more accepting of people around him.
On a final note, Anjali shared how much she didn’t want the Seva to be over. “I had been running low-grade fever for the last four months and have been diagnosed with severe vitamin deficiency. Some other volunteers who knew my health condition had warned me about the level of activity that Linga Seva involves and wondered if I would be able to cope. But I was determined and decided to devote those eight days to Sadhguru. To my amazement, I didn’t feel tired or feverish at all – in fact I was more energetic than I had ever been in the past few months. Actually, I am ready to do the Seva again. I was broken-hearted when it got over.”
Editor’s Note: From greeting and guiding visitors, helping to maintain the silence and stillness in the space, to setting up in the morning and cleaning in the nights, Linga Seva is an immersive 8-day experience with Dhyanalinga. To be in the presence of this phenomenal energy form is to be in the presence of one’s Guru. A moment of openness is all it takes for one to be transported into new dimensions of experience and perception. Find more.
On June 24, Isha Yoga Center celebrates the 18th anniversary of the consecration of Dhyanalinga. Tune in to the live audio stream as chants and songs from various traditions and cultures are offered throughout the day.