Day 4: Mahashivratri Gossip With a Few Unusual Suspects
Filled will riddles, facts and stories, this live blog brings you some Mahashivratri gossip from Isha’s “eyes on the ground.”
Scroll down for the latest update
8:30 AM, Feb 19:
Who is the Suspect?
Find me in this photograph:
I’m one of the objects in this photo. Who am I? Stay tuned for the answer in 15 minutes.
I am not in rage.
Tamed into place, I wait for him eternally.
In waiting, I see Him.
In waiting, I find Him.
Who am I?
8:45 AM, Feb 19:
I am Nandi, the bull. I sit eternally waiting, facing Shiva.
I sit before the Dhyanalinga, beside the tamarind tree. Sadhguru consecrated me in September 2009 after a nightlong meditation.
I am made of metal pieces, 6-9 inches square, joined together to make my hide. My belly they filled with sesame seeds, turmeric and vibhuti, oils and soils, and sand – altogether 20 tons of it. I radiate a field of energy. I am quite unique, say I!
9:00 AM, Feb 19:
The Magical Lily Pond
This pond just behind me, flanking the bridge on both sides is my favorite spot, and visitors love it too! The pond is filled with blooming water-lilies now, maybe a hundred of them – blue, pink, white, purple… it’s a floating field of colors!
Little boys scamper across the bridge. A girl and her friend lean over the rail and giggle as they point to thousands of tiny fish swarming in the water. A large, colorful koi fish glides out from under the lily pads to snap up the pellets of fish food as soon as someone drops them. There are frogs here too, and many insects and lizards. Hunting herons hunch over the edge of lily pads, but you wouldn’t see the bird unless it moved!
Maybe that’s why people stop on the bridge first, even before they set eyes on me!
9:30 AM, Feb 19:
A Surprise at Sunrise
Last year, at the end of Mahashivratri, while everyone was rushing off to get some sleep, I saw a resident wander up the bridge. She was blissed out from the night.
Suddenly, she stopped, stunned. Then, hands in Namaskar and wonderstruck, she leaned over the pond and began to count aloud: One! Two! Three!... A passing group of children surrounded her to see what she was counting. Soon they were counting along with her.
“Look! There, and there!” “...4, 5, 6…” … “19! 20! 21!” they shouted excitedly... they had spotted snakes in the water! Just under the bridge coiled around a floating rope, and writhing around each other, was a mass of snakes. They counted up to 25 of them! Perhaps the snakes had been enjoying their own Mahashivratri.
Let me tell you a secret: If you are walking about the ashram early in the morning, come to the pond. Between 6 and 7 AM is a good time to spot a water snake here.
Time for another riddle at 9:45 AM! Stay tuned.
9:45 AM, Feb 19:
As I flap my wings, I decide
who eats and who waits.
Who am I?
Come back at 10:30 AM to know the answer…
10:30 AM, Feb 19:
The Sentinel (Biksha Hall Door)
I am the Biksha hall front door.
I’m big, I’m strong, I’m ruthless and unfriendly. If you’re not on time, I shut with a clang! Yes, right on your face. I am the sentinel.
But don’t grudge me, that’s my job – to let people in only at precise meal times, so that the people inside can eat peacefully and in silence. If you just wait a while, I will open up again at the next scheduled meal time and welcome you inside.
Take a peek through me to know what’s on the menu for the residents today. Stay tuned.
10:45 AM, Feb 19:
A Babel of Voices (Biksha Hall)
The enchanting invocation for the second batch has started. The whole hall is reverberating with the sounds of “Sahana vavatu…”* These days, I hardly get time to rest. An incessant chatter that I don’t understand goes on outside the whole day! “Ni Hao”, “Selamat Pagi”, “Kak Dela”, “Marhabaa”, “Kya ho raha hai” – people talking in more languages than I’ve ever heard before: Mandarin, Malay, Russian, French, Arabic, and so many Indian languages with people walking up and down, or waiting for the next meal time.
Once a batch starts to eat, it is usually a silent time for me. But today it is different!
“Grrrrrrrr!” That’s the truck loaded with groceries for the kitchen. It’s been coming very frequently these days. Over 15,000 people to feed here, you see! Yoga Veeras, kitchen volunteers and the staff are in constant action making sure all meals are on time. With what untiring spirits and joy they do their activities! It is simply a marvel!
Be back for another riddle at 11:30 AM.
11:30 AM, Feb 19:
Here is another riddle for you.
Who is the next Unusual suspect? I’m one of the objects in this photo. Who am I?
I need someone to open me up. I need someone to offer me to grace.
Once there I float around Him, and add to his beauty.
Be back at 12:25 PM for the answer.
12:25 PM, Feb 19: A Symbol of Spirituality
I am the lotus flower – an offering to Dhyanalinga. You can gently place me in the Jal Parikrama where I spend the day floating in His divine presence. Every night I am taken off the sacred water and sent to various Siddha doctors who use me to make medicines.
As I bask in the Grace of Dhyanalinga, I’ll keep you in touch with the happenings in the temple area.
12:40 PM, Feb 19: The World Goes By
The South Mandapam of Dhyanalinga, where I sit, is bustling with activity! Our offerings counter is buzzing too. Young girls and boys, couples, old men and women, children, everyone is coming over on their way into the Dhyanalinga. Some are walking around looking a little lost – here for the first time probably – and looking at us curiously, wondering what each offering means, and which to pick up. Others are more experienced – ready with the small change, sure of which offering they want to present to Dhyanalinga. I’m sitting in the urali watching all this, waiting for my turn to float in the waters around my dear Dhyanalinga! With all the people, I should get picked up soon. I will be back again.
1:10pm, Feb 19:
My Heart Beats with the Drum Beats - Sharing from Hoda Ma
I hear the drum beat playing somewhere in the ashram in preparation for Yogeshwar Linga Consecration, Adi Yogi Consecration & Mahashivaratri and my heartbeat’s rhythm goes wild with anticipation of what is to come, while Sadhguru’s words carries me to its endless possibilities.
“O’ how fortunate are we
To carry the fire of the Adiyogi”
1:30pm, Feb 19:
A gentle suspect!
You will graze the happenings here with my gentle gaze.
Play with me, feed me, don’t be afraid!
Who am I?
Come back for the answer at 1:45 PM.
1:45 PM, Feb 19:
Mooooooo… I am Nandini, a cow at Maatu Manai.
I have the most beautiful view of the Velliangiri mountains. I live here with nearly 50 other cows. Grazing in the sun are the bulls. They look big and dangerous, but you’ll soon see they are so gentle. Yes, you heard me right – they are very gentle!
I’ll tell you a little story about them that will truly warm your hearts. I’ll be back soon.
2:00 PM, Feb 19:
A Sea of People
So many different human odors I smell today! There seems to be a large crowd at the Welcome Point (you know, I can smell odors up to 6 miles away). I can see hundreds of people lugging trolleys and carrying their bags to their stay areas, looking towards us smiling with intrigue.
I love this attention I’m getting although the noisy geese are trying to compete with me! They are such a nuisance. “Munch munch” I can’t get enough of these bananas! It’s like a banana fest for us today! Swami has kept a card just outside Kaivalya Kutir, filled with bananas which says - “Feed the cows”.
Something grand is going to happen here, I can feel it in the very air!
2:40 PM, Feb 19:
I’m one of the objects in this photo. Guess who I am?
No need to hide in my shell
when I live eternally
in the Grace of Dhyanalinga
Come back for the answer at 3:20 PM.
Slow but Steady
I am the Tortoise, guarding the sacred waters of the Chandrakund below.
I’m lucky to be here, right in the heart of Grace! It’s a privilege to see so many people visiting these sacred spaces, doing their sadhana and women taking dips in the energized water. Best of all is getting to listen to Sadhguru during the darshans at 6:20 PM. I’ve even picked up some Tamil too.
How this space has grown over the years! Sometimes when I see the Dhyanalinga dome standing in front of me, I go back to the Mahashivratri in 2006, when Sadhguru consecrated the Chandrakund. He reminisced about how the ashram began and when it all started. How a handful of Isha volunteers came together with such love and commitment to construct the Dhyanalinga dome. At the time, they had no idea they were creating an architectural masterpiece that would last for generations to come.
And in the dome resides Dhyanalinga, the largest mercury-based live linga in the world – the fruit of three lifetimes of intense effort. I sit here in humility today as I watch hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world walk around this space, soaking in the essence of spirituality.
I feel a bit overwhelmed talking about it. So we will chat later.
4:00 PM, Feb 19:
Solve the riddle and meet this Inconspicuous suspect
As I stand alone upright and tall, I hear the crash of the waterfall. Lean on me if you need it at all.
Who am I?
4:13 PM, Feb 19:
A Healthy Little Competition
I am a pillar at the Suryakund. An army of us stand strong and sturdy, holding up the roof of the Suryakund. So here goes my bit…
Just a second, I’m getting a call from the Tortoise at Chandrakund.
Namaskaram, how are things at the Suryakund?
Namaskaram, it’s been really busy here. Starting with early morning dips by the Yoga Veera men, we have had more and more people coming in through the day. Being at the entrance of the ashram, we are the first of the wonders here. The glorious Sun Sculpture, the row of golden lingas on the copper plated roof… we are the most captivating of them all.
(trying to be reasonable): Well, the Chandrakund stands at the very centre of the Dhyanalinga complex. In fact, it has a most exquisite, colorful mural on its ceiling depicting the Maha Kumbha Mela. It follows the traditional Kerala style of painting, dating back to the 15th century, using only natural colors and vegetable dyes.
Yes, yes, that’s a beautiful mural, but WE are surrounded on three sides by walls made of 200 massive, 50-ton granite blocks. It’s an extraordinary piece of architecture!
I admit the Suryakund is spectacular, but could I remind you, the Chandrakund too is framed by 30 gigantic granite stones, each weighing 100 tons.
Very well, but we have three rasalingas. Your little Chandrakund has only one!
One rasalinga at the Chandrakund is quite enough to help thousands of women come out energized and more receptive to the energies of Dhyanalinga. But, why compete when both structures are glorious in their own way? Isn’t it fabulous, dear Pillar, to be at the positions we are, watching men and women experience such a tremendous sense of wellbeing after going into the sacred waters?
Yes, dear Tortoise, I may have been arrogant over the size of the Suryakund that I stand guard at, but I do realize that both the Theerthakunds, with their sacred waters, have been crafted for the same purpose – to melt away karmic blocks and allow each person to experience Dhyanalinga.
Is the 80-year-old man you were telling me about three days ago still coming?
Yes, he’s been coming every day. It seems like he’s getting younger by five years each time he comes here. The first day, his son held him as he climbed down the steps to take a dip. But now he excitedly climbs down on his own! He looks at the water with such gratitude and eagerness… as though it’s an elixir of life for him!
4:25 PM, Feb 19:
Abode of Gentle Creatures!
Nandini: Here is my little story: Yesterday, a brahmacharini, while holding her bicycle, was talking to a volunteer on a narrow path opposite Pepper Vine. At some point, Maa turned her head to the right and was quite taken aback.
There was this giant face of a massive bull right next to her. The bullock cart had come up behind her, the cart driver had humbly pulled up to let her finish the conversation. The bull had gently tilted to the right as if to make sure his horns didn’t poke her. With folded hands and tears in her eyes, she bowed down to the bull and the cart driver.
Such are the bulls of Maatu Mane!
5:28 PM, Feb 19:
The First Face of Adiyogi in the Ashram
Nandini: See that glorious, blissful face? That is the 21-ft tall face of Adiyogi that was designed by Sadhguru. He’s been here since Mahashivratri of 2015.
He’s getting a lot of attention these days. People are taking selfies with Him. Every day, for the last 40 days, Yoga Veeras have been welcoming the rising sun by doing their Yoga Veera sadhana here, in his presence. I have been watching hundreds of Yoga Veeras in tears of ecstasy, joy and meditativeness. A whole new generation of Adiyogi devotees being formed right here!
With this Adiyogi creating such a stir, I wonder what ripples the 112-ft Adiyogi is going to create!
An Embrace with Open Arms
Nandini: It has become unbelievably busy around here. Thousands of participants, here for the consecration, are rushing towards the Dhyanalinga to make the best use of their time. A throng of people have gathered around the offerings stall. Despite the rush, a devoted volunteer is gently adorning the Linga Jyoti with ghee and a temple flower. As people walk into the yantra (the area around the Sarva Dharma Stambha is designed in the form of a yantra by Sadhguru!) their steps slow down, their chatter quietens, and their hands fold up in preparation to imbibe the grace of Dhyanalinga.
Closed from three sides, this yantra is like an open-armed embrace of whoever enters. With the crescent of Islam, the aum of Hinduism, the cross of Christianity and a number of other symbols from Jainism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism, the Sarva Dharma Stambha is a symbol that welcomes people of all faiths and religions.
Young Turks Meander into Dhyanalinga!
Nandini: Nadha Aradhana* is just now got over. Here, I am, in the midst of all this movement of thousands of people going in and out of Dhyanalinga. It’s interesting to see how people are when they go in, and how they are when they come out. See, now there is a group of young, restless boys entering the Dhyanalinga. With gelled, spiky hair and colorful shirts, they look as though they have lost their way and wandered into this place. “Silence, Silence…” informs the security guard as she puts her fingers on her lips and asks them to go around the pillar. Wobbling around, almost stuck together on their shoulders, they enter the front door.
Talk to you when they come out... (they don’t seem the kind who would stay inside any longer than 15 mins!)
The First Taste of Meditation!
Nandini: Here they are – one by one I see each one coming out. They seem to have found their lost individuality as they are walking out separately, with calm on their faces. They even stopped to pay attention to the details on the wall panels and the Sarva Dharma Stambha. I also sensed a certain boyish pride in them – it was probably the first time they had sat silently anywhere for 15 whole minutes!
7:32 PM, Feb 19:
Mooooo! Keeping My Promise
Nandini: Every time he comes into the ashram or leaves it, Sadhguru’s helicopter lands very close to us… and somehow, it never bothers us. In fact, the whirring of the chopper is a very happy sound for the residents of the ashram. When they hear the helicopter approaching, many leave whatever they are doing and rush to have a glimpse of Sadhguru.
So, the other day, it seems the helicopter pilot exclaimed to Sadhguru that he had never seen cows and bulls so unconcerned by the noise and dust raised by a landing helicopter. At this, Sadhguru apparently laughed and remarked that either we were deaf or we must have become meditative, just as the people of Tamil Nadu! I assure you, we are not deaf.
Be back for the glimpses of Sadhguru bringing the Yogeshwar Linga to the Adiyogi Alayam. As for me, it’s time to sleep!
Tune in tomorrow for live updates of the Consecration of the Yogeshwar Linga.
10:15 PM, Feb 19: Glimpses of Sadhguru bringing the Yogeshwar Linga to the Adiyogi Alayam