11:24 pm, Feb 20: A HEARTLESS YOGI
Sadhguru begins to speak about form and geometry. “When formless dimensions of existence take to a form, the geometry of that form determines how that particular form is going to function.”
“Where there is perfection of geometry with a certain complexity,” he says, “that dimension is always looked up to as Divine.” A certain perfection of geometry also results in minimal friction or resistance and maximum efficiency.
Sadhguru then offers insight into how the Yogeshwar Linga is energetically structured. “This particular linga has 5 chakras,” he explains. “Each one of them has 16 dimensions. Mooladhara, swadhisthana, manipuraka, vishuddi and agna – no anahata. A heartless yogi.”
“The linga is created for sadhana, not for worship. Of course people are going to worship him, but essentially it’s created for sadhana.”
“There are 2 aspects, 2 dimensions or approaches,” Sadhguru continues, “Yogaratova, bhogaratova – either you can approach it in discipline or in abandon. This is a combination of discipline, ascetic on one level – another level is dripping ecstasy.”
Sadhguru explains that once the Yogeshwar Linga is fully consecrated, “different people will come and they will touch him in different ways depending upon their orientation…He will ensure that according to the prarabdha that you have, the surface deck of karma that you have, he will make sure you always approach it that way.”
Discussing one’s prarabdha karma, Sadhguru says, “If one has to cross the limits, if not all the limits, at least in a reasonable way, one has to dismantle some aspect of their prarabdha.” If this is not done, he says, it is like “you trying to eat a nut with the shell on, it does not taste good. You must break the shell and eat. Then the nut is sweet.”
Not Love, But Inclusiveness
The linga, Sadhguru explains, is designed to bring a certain intensity of involvement, “not emotional love - sheer intensity of involvement, where inclusiveness will lead to union.”
“As beautiful as it seems, the love affairs are just a small taste of inclusiveness. This spells poverty of profound experiences in life.”
Explaining why he is using the word “heartless” to describe the linga, Sadhguru says, “A heartless yogi is not brutal – full of anger, rancor. A heartless yogi is pure because he cannot have positive or negative emotion. He knows only yoga, inclusion.”
“When Shiva found his woman, he did not run around the trees, nor the lake…he simply grabbed her, put her here and made her part of himself. This doesn’t look romantic by your standards,” Sadhguru jokes, “because your standards are set by the cinema.”
“I’m deliberately using the word heartless,” he says. “People understand heartless as being brutal, without sensitivity. That’s because they never considered inclusiveness as a way to exist.”
10:40 pm, Feb 20: A Fiery Beginning
As Sadhguru enters, all of the hall lights are extinguished. In the inky black space, 36 flickering flames are again carried to various positions throughout the hall and outer seating, seeming to echo the roaring fire kept burning before the Yogeshwar Linga. The Arati process continues with the Yogeshwar chant.
Listen along to the sounds of Yogeshwar Linga consecration – “Nagendra Haraya” and “Bilvashtakam” from Sounds of Isha Trigun album.
10:02 pm, Feb 20
In the early evening, many consecration participants adopt the additional role of volunteers, taking up a few activities towards spreading the word about the upcoming Mahashivratri celebrations. Others join rehearsals to be a part of the numerous Mahashivratri night offerings.
At 9:30 pm, the participants again gather into the Adiyogi Alayam for a night-time session as Samskriti students chant Guru Paduka stotram. Guru Paduka Stotram is a very powerful chant that glorifies the “sandals of the Guru,” which are symbolically represented as “the boat to help cross the endless ocean of life.” This chant enables one to become receptive to the Guru’s Grace. The chant is available as part of the Vairagya album and can be downloaded for free. It is also available as part of the Isha Chants app.
9:30 pm, Feb 20: Making it Happen
Outside of the hall, a veritable army of volunteers and others have been sparing no effort to ensure that the program runs smoothly for the participants. Many of this group consists of Yoga Veeras – volunteers who, despite outside family and work commitments, have dedicated themselves full-time for up to 40 days towards making the Yogeshwar Linga consecration and Mahashivratri celebration happen for all. Here are just a few stories from behind the scenes:
I Am Yoga Veera
“A volunteer named Satya had been assigned to take care of people who were not feeling well or had special medical needs. I had been noticing her continuously running to get warm water, making the beds, bringing food for some of the participants who have come to attend the consecration despite their challenging health conditions, etc. I didn’t see her take rest or sit down for the session. Later I found out that she hadn’t had even eaten one proper meal yet, despite it being late in the afternoon. I immediately served her some food and insisted that she sit and eat. She seemed surprised that I was concerned about her not having time to sit for food. ‘I am Yoga Veera, Maa?’ she said. For me, serving people who are here to imbibe yoga is the biggest nourishment. Anyway, I will eat after these wonderful people have eaten.” - Ashram Volunteer
A Tiny Offering
“I don’t see the difference between being here at the Help Desk and being in the hall. I have tasted the unconditional love of Sadhguru and how he is giving his life to whole planet. What I am doing is such a tiny offering in comparison to that.” - Sangeeta, Help Desk volunteer
Seeing the Changes
“I’m standing here and I can hear the sounds from the consecration and see participants going by. I can feel and see the change that is happening to them in a matter of just 24 hours. For example, earlier when I was helping at the registration desk, one participant arrived with quite a bit of luggage. It was taking time to help him. He seemed restless and even shouted at me. I wondered how this person would be able to receive Sadhguru’s offering. Later, he came to me at the volunteering table looking totally calm and joyful, and began asking how he could volunteer for Isha." - Ashok, Volunteering Information Table volunteer
The Security Guard Shares
“For me, Adiyogi is the face of Sadhguru himself. Since I’ve come here in the last one year, my entire life has transformed. I feel so blessed that I am getting to be in this space of Sadhguru. It is such a privilege.” - Ramachandran, Isha Yoga Center Security Guard
7:00 pm, Feb 20: Intensity Despite Inconvenience
Sadhguru: Infrastructure-wise, nothing at the ashram has ever been prepared to accommodate this many people to stay for a length of time. Despite knowing that certain discomfort would be involved simply due to space constraints, still thousands upon thousands signed up to participate without any hesitation.
Sadhguru explained that, despite the limitations of the center, he was determined that no one should be turned away. “Anyone who wants to come, we are not going to stop them, because we don’t know who has the eyes…I want maximum number of people to see how things are taking shape.”
The spiritual traditions of India have never shied away from discomfort. “The spiritual history of this land is very strongly welded with hunger,” says Sadhguru. “You missing lunch is not hunger, that’s appetite. To not have eaten for days on end and still maintain the focus and purpose for which we stand for…Food is an immediate need, but when is not fulfilled, to continue to focus on the ultimate need of the human being is not easy.” He speaks of a time in his life when hunger was a constant companion. “I’m saying this not because I think you’ve eaten too much. But I fear you will look here and there and go away. I don’t want that to happen.”
The Surface and the Core
Sadhguru continues to speak on seeing something beyond the physical dimension. “If you don’t see dimensions which are lightless, largely spiritual forces will be just talking spirituality.” Is it necessary that someone sees something to become spiritual? He answers that “knowing the nature of the mind, unless you really taste something, spiritual process will be an entertaining process in one’s life. It will not become the mainstay.”
“Spiritual process does not occupy either your office or home. It only occupies your inner spaces. Neither husband or wife need to go away, nor do you have to quit your job. It’s not in competition with anybody. Making spiritual process the mainstay of one’s life means that you have experientially understood that the source of life cannot be a sidetrack. Source of life is the core of everything. You can’t make it the surface.”
“At least for these 3 days,” Sadhguru urges, “you must make this your mainstay, your life breath.”
4:50 pm, Feb 20: Of Fire and Light, Black and White
The afternoon session commences with an Arati process offered at 36 points throughout the hall and outside. A 5-beat rhythm starts on the drums, and as the intensity of the moment swells, a Shiva chant begins. Sadhguru takes handfuls of ash and distributes them into copper bowls which are taken throughout the hall. Participants apply this black-colored ash at a certain point between the eyebrows. Sadhguru also draws an arc of black-colored sesame seeds on the dais near the Yogeshwar Linga.
Sadhguru then begins to speak about the senses, especially sight and hearing. Along with vision and light comes color. “The nature of how we experience color is not the way it is. In many ways, just the reverse of what it is,” he explains. “A certain surface or object, what it throws out becomes its quality.”
On the colors white and black, Sadhguru says “White means the entire light is being reflected. When none of it is being reflected, we are seeing it as black.”
“If you are in situations in life where things that you don’t need are happening around you – wrong types of sounds, cacophony all over, all kinds of situations which are not needed in your life, you must wear white.”
“If you’re in a situation where what’s happening around you is something you want to imbibe, you must wear black.”
This understanding was very deep rooted in the culture, Sadhguru continued. When people went out into the world, they always wore white. Even our politicians are always wearing white, he jokes.
“Unfortunately in western societies, in all the wrong situations they wear black. They have understood that when they wear black, they look a little slimmer than what they are. It is appalling that people wear black when they go to funerals. You must be in whites always, because you don’t want to imbibe death. If you do that, death and the atmosphere of death will stay with you for a long time.”
In Western societies, Sadhguru continues, if people stopped going to office and funerals in black, 15-20% of their psychological problems would come down.
Utilizing the black shawls given to each of them, the participants again begin a mantra process, and the mystical consecration continues.
2:35 pm, Feb 20: Glimpses of Consecration of Yogeshwar Linga: mid-morning session
Follow along as the consecration unfolds at Isha Live Blog.
2:20 pm, Feb 20: Breaching the Boundaries
Sadhguru speaks on the boundaries and the nature of the physical. “When we say ‘yogi’,” he explains, “we are talking about that being who has consciously breached the boundaries of individuality.” “The only and only problem in our lives,” he continues, “is that we have become a limited sphere of life.” He says that however beautiful one’s world is, the moment he sees that it is limited, he wants to push the boundary.
“The Yogeshwar Linga is an opportunity for people to be in touch with that kind of energy that naturally will breach their boundaries. The moment they are in touch with that energy, their imaginary boundaries will naturally be breached.”
If you saw things which do not stop light, he says - referring to non-physical aspects of life – you would be breaching the boundary. “In your experience, you have crossed the boundary of that which you think you are.”
As an effort to facilitate this expansion of perception, Sadhguru leads the participants in a powerful mudra process.
1:10 pm, Feb 20: Getting Off the Treadmill
At the start of the morning session, participants watch a video of Sadhguru as he discusses the significance of Adiyogi. Sadhguru explains that “Adiyogi is not past. He is present. And I want to make sure he is the future of this world.” He explains that everything physical is cyclical in nature referred to as samskara in the yogic tradition, and compares this circular movement to being on a treadmill. Adiyogi, he says, taught them how to get to get off the treadmill so that they are going somewhere. “His physical existence is of no consequence to us,” Sadhguru says, “because he is offering us a way to raise beyond this cyclical nature of life.”
Sadhguru arrives, and the mystical aspects of the consecration begin to unfold. After Sadhguru’s invocation, Sounds of Isha begins a chant about Adiyogi which features an intense drum rhythm. A large fire is lit before the Yogeshwar Linga, and Sadhguru begins to walk the length of the hall. Around him, tears stream down the faces of participants already overwhelmed by his presence.
The mala and copper ring are removed from the linga. Sadhguru arranges three sutras on top of the linga, the ends of which he ties into a triangle. The other ends of the sutras are wrapped around three copper vessels containing water. He continues the consecration process utilizing naturally energized materials such as rudraksh, neem leaves, turmeric, and vibhuti.
An Unprecedented Power Cut
At a particularly charged moment in the process, just as Sadhguru places a copper vessel of lit camphor atop the linga, the hall suddenly goes dark. The intense drums and rhythmic clapping continue to reverberate in the hall despite the unexpected power loss. Undeterred, Sadhguru continues the process and participants respond with redoubled exuberance.
Without amplification, Sadhguru steps to the front of the dais to lead a chant. Just at that moment, his voice fills the hall again as power floods back. Participants repeat the chant as the process continues. Behind the scenes, in the control room, an ashram volunteer shares, “In all the years that we have been working in this building, the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) has never gone out in this way!”
10:07 am, Feb 20: The Beginning
On the morning of day one, participants across the ashram campus awoke at sunrise to the sounds of the Yogeshwar chant. After morning yoga practices, they made their way to an outdoor breakfast in the gentle morning sunlight, then to the hall for the first session at 10 am.
Over 12,000 participants from 50+ countries have arrived to be a part of the consecration process. Clothed in white, they flow into the hall steadily from 9:00 to 10:00, finding their seats and chanting or meditating silently within the vibrant space.
At 9:45, Isha Samskriti take the music dias and the sounds of “Chandrashekara Ashtakam” soon fill the hall. “Gauranga” follows, a chant which praises Adiyogi, also known as Gauranga, or “White-bodied one,” referring to the ash smeared all over his body. Several of Adiyogi’s names are included in the chant, such as Shashibala, one who wears the moon on his hair, referring to his ecstatic, intoxicated state; Digambara, one who is clad in space, referring to his embodiment of the non-physical, upon which existence comes about; Sadashiva, the eternally still; and Bhujangesha, lord of snakes, referring to his immense perception . In yogic culture, the snake is known to perceive effortlessly that which most human beings have to strive for.
The Yogeshwar Linga Arrives
On the evening before the consecration is slated to begin, the Yogeshwar Linga made a grand entrance in to the Adiyogi Alayam. Within the space and spread throughout the surrounding mandapam, well over 10,000 gathered for their first sight of Sadhguru and the Linga. The Yogeshwar Chant reverberated throughout the hall, creating an ambiance of intensity along with the eager anticipation. Closer to Sadhguru’s arrival, Sounds of Isha began the Guru Paduka Stotram chant.
The first glimpse of Sadhguru was a surprise for many in the hall, as he arrived at the main entrance of the Alayam in a grand fashion driving a bullock cart and flanked by a procession of Samskriti students and brahmacharies chanting and drumming. Unfazed by the massive crowd of onlookers, the bull dutifully advanced to the front of the hall, reaching the platform on which the Linga would be kept throughout the consecration.
Using a specially-designed framework, Sadhguru directed the lifting and placing of the Yogeshwar Linga into position on the dias. He then placed a copper ring around the Linga and covered the surface with vibhuti, black cloth, and finally a garland.
Addressing the onlookers, Sadhguru spoke about the best way to go through the next 3 days of consecration and make oneself receptive to the powerful situation. “You are not here just to witness a consecration,” he reminded them. “You are participating in a consecration. In some way you have a role in making it happen.”