The Devi is Born!
An Isha Meditator Shares on the Linga Bhairavi Consecration:
It had been an exciting three days leading up to Linga Bhairavi's full consecration, rich in atmosphere and significance...
Around 5 p.m. on Thursday, 28 January 2010, about 5000 Isha meditators sat shaded from the hot sun by bamboo and palm leaf canopies around the temple complex, waiting for the consecration to begin. The rays of sunlight coming through the canopy were given form by the dense clouds of incense wafted by volunteers around the compound. A sea of white clothes and red Bhairavi scarves embodied the sense of unique occasion. The electric atmosphere began to grow and crackle.
Then, Sadhguru arrived. He immediately began a comprehensive walkabout through the audience, which pleased me hugely. Sadhguru looked especially solid and real, dressed in a beautiful white robe with red trim. The usual volleys of screams, devotional tears, and cries echoed around the compound, while the mass of people seemed to be tuning in to deep joy in the wonder of his warm, smiling presence.
On this first day, as Sadhguru began the final stages of the consecration process, he came across as playful, anecdotal and relaxed, discoursing while making shapes from solidified mercury. By the second day, the atmosphere had shifted; intense but enjoyable; serious but spacious; focused yet festive. The majority of us watched events inside the temple on large screens from video feed, and there were times when my attention strayed and I was baffled and even bored. At these times, I reminded myself of what Sadhguru had said at the last darshan before the event - this process was too big and unfathomable for the mind to comprehend, so he advised us just to "soak it in."
This proved sound advice as I watched things unfold that felt more like a scene set in ancient Egypt or Atlantis. Sadhguru joked that people were concerned that the Isha "brand" of logic, science, and rationality was threatened by the creation of the Linga Bhairavi, but he laughed this off, saying he wasn't really interested in having a brand. I had also seen a talk by him shortly before, where he was exhorting us not to "fall off" when he unmasked himself. So I clung on during the moments of confusion.
The second day progressed and we approached the birth of the Devi. Her liquid mercury "spine" inserted, there was only a short wait until Sadhguru revealed her form - eyes first - to gasps and cries from the crowd. I joined the howling, as her eyes terrified me at first sight - the Divine Feminine as fierce warrior! Soon after though, her expression seemed softer, full of the wide-eyed bafflement of a newborn baby, and I felt a wave of loving compassion toward this freshly birthed Goddess. The atmosphere as Sadhguru walked home after the birth was almost indescribable; his eyes were filled with mercurial tears as he walked past. It was a beautiful and humbling sight.
The night culminated around 3 a.m. as the huge sixteen ton slab of granite for the final roof section sealed the space above the Goddess, to a wild reception by the crowd.
Sadhguru had repeatedly reminded us not to be "kanjoos " but to be "juice," and our collective heartbeat pounded along throughout to the tireless sacred funk of Sounds of Isha, whose stunning vocals, drums and percussion helped sustain the energy levels and effort required of the occasion. I wanted to participate one hundred per cent, and felt a responsibility not to become a drain or part of a collective burden on Sadhguru, who had frankly stated that he would have preferred the event to be a small, private affair, but had chosen to offer it up to as many people as possible - the word "privilege" doesn't even begin to describe it!!!
Finally, on Saturday, the auspicious full moon day called Thaipusam, things began earlier. I was full of aches and pains, empathizing more readily with my partner and ex-wife's experience of birth. I was constantly astonished by Sadhguru's energy levels - he is beyond description; to have a mere fraction of his drive, focus, and abilities would be a lifetime's achievement!
The last "official" event of the consecration was the procession around the temple with a "mobile" Devi idol, and this I found more than a little confusing. One of my jobs is as a film and TV extra, and again I felt as if I were on a film set; men in loincloths juggling fire around a gigantic bull statue, as brightly clad women chanted to hypnotic rhythms.
"Okay, so he's worshipping the Divine Feminine in the shape of an ellipsoid with eyes. Is this really any different to thinking of the Earth as our Mother or the female energies as 'Goddess?'" Whatever works - and, as I have learned ever more experientially over the last two years since Inner Engineering, I simply accepted what was before me and watched my poor mind try to grasp the ungraspable, finally surrendering, and letting my mind be gently blown like an over-taxed circuit.
Swiftly, I recalled what Sadhguru had said about living ecstatically and devotionally, and felt a sudden contrast with the dry sterility of much of westernized living - even most of our festivals lack lustre. Who could argue that this is preferable to a life richly, vividly, color-fully lived!??? Bottom line was a deep trust in Sadhguru and things that flow from him. The scepticism just reminds me to keep alert.
Sadhguru also talked at length about bringing back the possibility of the sacred to people's daily lives, with simple daily spiritual practices anyone could get hold of. My heart soared at this, imagining a world transformed as people embraced their true magnificence instead of their mundanity, instead of tip-toeing quietly (though often speedily nowadays) to their graves, never having fully lived.
My mind cannot grasp all that it has soaked in over those three days, so I've left it to my heart to write this piece, trying to capture just a whisper and a glimpse of the extraordinary kaleidoscope of the Goddess' birth! May the energy of the Devi bring joy and devotion to all our hearts...
Happy Birth, Devi, to You!
- Robert Edward Hider, Isha meditator from the UK