Snug in a Vault of Brick and Lime - New Sadhana Hall Inaugurated at Isha Yoga Center
11 November, 2008
It was almost two years ago that the old Kaivalya Kutir that used to serve as a space for practices and programs burnt to ashes. A new Sadhana Hall was long-awaited by the Ashram residents, guests and volunteers who had to make do with the Biksha Hall as a space for their morning sadhana most of the time ever since. Meanwhile, two vaulted brick skeletons behind the Dhyanalinga Temple left much room for speculation as to what elements were to be added to complete this unusual structure - and when this was going to happen.
Finally, and unexpectedly, a notice on the board invited everyone at the Ashram to come together for the inauguration of the new Sadhana Hall on 8 October 2008.
The empty spaces between each of the six brick arches of the structure were covered with copper-painted aluminum shields, leaving space between brick and metal for natural lighting and ventilation. The slab that divides the inner space of the vault into two floors - the Sadhana Hall on the first floor and office space in the basement - were paved with the typical black Cuddapah stone that can also be found in earlier buildings of the Center. And - to the amazement of many who entered the hall for the first time - two large eyes watch over the hall from left and right, through eye-shaped openings covered with an iris of blue glass at the top end of the side walls.
At 2:30 pm, everyone assembled for the first Guru Pooja at the new Sadhana Hall, in the presence of Sadhguru. The audio system that was set up as usual for Sadhguru's subsequent speech turned out to be dispensable, as Sadhguru proved: "[Claps] Can you hear that? This is one place in the ashram where we can speak without a microphone; so pure and unadulterated. I'm speaking in a voice much lower than what I would use for the microphone, but still it's audible."
Sadhguru continued to explain the unique nature of the building, "We've been in need of a sadhana hall for a long time, and this particular building took especially long because of the way it's constructed. As you can see, in the main structure, there is no steel, there is no concrete. It is just brick and lime which is making the building stand. It is not standing here because of the strength of the material, but because of perfection of geometry. Normally, with all buildings, there is a tussle between the gravitational forces and the building material. One day gravity will win; be sure about that. But here, there is no tussle between gravity and the building; they are in perfect harmony. Or in other words, in every building, the building material is under stress; but here, there is no stress. The building itself is in a state of relaxation; it's meditating. [Participants laugh] So it's ideal for sadhana.
It has taken almost two and a half years to complete this because we wanted to wait for two summers and two rainy seasons before we finish the building to see how it'll take the weather. It has taken three monsoons now and it's fine; that's good for a long time. And it's also good that we are inaugurating two meditation halls in a month's time. [Participants clap] Actually three: The new Kaivalya Kutir also got inaugurated in an unofficial manner, then this one, and the Mahima Hall in the United States which we're opening on 8th of November. I'm sure this structure will make an important difference in the ashram's sadhana. And it's good we can speak without a microphone." [All laugh]
The hall's unique acoustic not only allows speaking without audio equipment, it enhances any sound, as the subsequent chanting impressively showed. The "Brahmananda Swaroopa" chanted by Brahmacharis and ashram residents kept resounding in the vault-like structure long after Sadhguru had left.