Eleven Shrines at the Isha Yoga Center: Sadhguru Explains
Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. In different places in the ashram, shrines have been put up. What is the purpose of these shrines, and why are the lingas covered in vibhuti?
Sadhguru: We have not put up too many – only eleven. This is a technological aspect. It is like you subscribe to some telecom company. They have a base station somewhere, but there are towers everywhere to enhance the transmission. The shrines have a similar purpose.
We placed the Dhyanalinga, Linga Bhairavi, the shrines, and everything else according to the geography of the yoga center. Fortunately, we have a huge natural wall of a mountain behind us, which is a cascade of Grace by itself. And we put our life into making the Dhyanalinga. It is transmitting heavily, but some may only experience it as a “big black peanut,” as one American lady put it a few years ago. There are others who are going into nameless ecstasies sitting there.
Life delivers to you depending upon the extent to which you are receptive and sensitive. We all may live in the same world, but every human being does not experience life the same way. For one person everything is fantastic – for another person everything is horrible. And there are of course people who are in between, periodically swinging from one end to the other. Today it is fantastic – tomorrow it is horrible. Day after tomorrow again it is fantastic. This is not only so in the world – in the yoga center too. Because people have transmission problems, we have established these lingas to further enhance the transmission.
To the second part of the question – “Why is it covered with vibhuti, the idea is we want you to take something of the reverberation. This sacred ash is made of certain substances. It is in contact with the rasa linga, and you can take it in eleven different places. So if you are one of those who never go to the Dhyanalinga or the sadhana hall, to see that even you don’t miss it, we have put up these shrines.
These eleven shrines certainly enhance the whole situation phenomenally. Especially on cooler days or in the early morning, you can observe that. You must visit all the eleven shrines early morning somewhere between 03:40 to 6:00 – you will see they are glowing in their own way.
They are located strategically in certain places that are geographically significant for the ashram terrain. Another aspect of it is to provide you many opportunities to bow down. Don’t just do it eleven times a day – you must do it a million times a day. Every time a cloud moves, the breeze moves, another human being comes, a dog comes, a cow – anything, a tree moves, your breath moves in and out – bow down. Bow down to every dimension of life, because all of it is superior to your intelligence.
The way this breath is happening, how simple air goes in, gives what it has to give to nurture this life, goes out, gets into a tree, gives what it has to give to the tree – this transaction is going on for millions of years. We are still breathing the same air that the Adiyogi breathed 15,000 years ago! Obviously, he has left a signature on the air that you breathe. Many beings have. Of course, there have been many lousy ones too. But it is the same air, maintaining itself pretty well, for a million years.
If we do not mess it up too much, for another billion years it can go on – the same air. No new air is needed. No new water is needed. The same things can go on forever – it’s a fantastic design. Right now, we are beginning to think about doing things in a sustainable way – none of the things we do is sustainable. Nothing that we have created is sustainable – at the most, it lasts a little longer than it used to earlier. So, one thing is to learn to bow down, to be reverential, not towards a particular thing – simply to be reverential.
Devotion and reverence are not about something or someone else – they are about you. They are to change the quality of who you are, to bring that sweetness of emotion into you every moment of your life. If you maintain this one thing, the rest becomes very simple.
If you do not look up to anything, you do not look down on anything, you simply look at everything the same way, you will experience a profound involvement with life. There is no need to look up to anything or to look down on anything. But it takes a certain amount of awareness and discipline, a certain amount of evolution within yourself to look at everything the same way, without distinction. Until you get there within yourself, at least look up to everything. This will transform you.
The eleven shrines are also in that direction. Wherever you go, there is an opportunity for you to bring back this sense of devotion within you. Not towards anything. The Dhyanalinga does not need your devotion. He does not care whether you are devout or not. Whatever the hell you are, he just transmits. If you are receptive – fine. If you are not receptive, it will go only skin deep. If you are receptive, it will go all the way.
Being devout is about you, not about something else. The Creator does not need your devotion. But if you have no devotion in you, you are a lost case. It is not about doing something for someone. It is about transforming yourself. The eleven shrines are there to enhance this sense of devotion.