Only a few days remain before the consecration event of Adiyogi: The Abode of Yoga. Below, a volunteer from Isha Institute shares a retrospective of the journey so far, including photo glimpses of the construction and fundraising efforts, as well as expressions from additional volunteers.
Adiyogi – Journey So Far
April 16, 2013, began as a regular day at Isha Institute. As the volunteers went about our daily activities, a few noticed a small group walking around the paths on the eastern side of the campus, with Sadhguru among them. After reaching a grassy area near the Kaivalya garden, the group stood in place for some time. Those of us working inside Kaivalya office (slightly neglecting our work for a moment) curiously peeked out the curtains. “What are they doing out there?” we asked each other. “Is Sadhguru going to come inside?”
Only later we received the big news – Sadhguru had chosen a location for a new consecrated space at iii, a space which would be dedicated to Adiyogi. A rush of excitement spread through the ashram. We knew it would be a huge effort, but we were more than willing to take it on. For several years Sadhguru had been mentioning the creation of spaces for Adiyogi, but we had yet to hear any concrete plans. Now, the process would finally begin: a plan to spread Adiyogi around the world, beginning right in our backyard.
One immediate problem stood in the way…literally. There was already a building in the chosen spot! Kaivalya was first-ever Isha building on the iii campus. The first small programs were hosted inside, and the original handful of full-time volunteers also resided within until the construction of Maple, Magnolia, Dogwood and Poplar lodges. Not wanting to tear down a perfectly usable structure, nor lose the memories held in those walls, the decision was made to move the entire Kaivalya building! With joy we packed our desks and observed as our office was loaded onto trucks and eased, ever-so-slowly, into a new site at the forest edge near the volleyball court. Our gardening team also did their part in gathering and relocating the beautiful rose bushes and other lovely plants which had flourished in Kaivalya’s garden over the years.
Once the Kaivalya building had been settled in it’s new home, we were eager to break ground for new construction. One fine February day, all the residents and volunteers got a surprise text message – “meet on the old Kaivalya grounds tomorrow, bring rakes.” So, early in the morning after yoga practices, we bundled up and headed out, rakes in hand. We were then informed we would be preparing the grounds for a groundbreaking ceremony to be held at the end of February. Lots of us who were more accustomed to typing throughout the day had a blast gathering (and playing in) the scattered leaves, as well as stamping the uneven earth into a more level and comfortable area for guests to sit during the ceremony.
Though behind the scenes many plans were already underway to raise awareness for the project, during the days leading up to the groundbreaking ceremony, the project began to feel “real” for the first time. As a huge tent was erected on the site for the groundbreaking, we speculated – How much taller than this tent will the building be? What will it look like? How will it change the experience of the ashram? With much excitement and even tears of devotion, the ceremony lasted well into a chilly night with shared expressions from volunteers, music and dancing, and Sadhguru’s message for the occasion.
Although we had dreams of seeing a building immediately pop up, in reality there was a lot of preliminary work left to do, as building plans underwent many stages of refinement, the unique materials required were sourced, and necessary permits acquired. Though, aside from some initial clearing and leveling of the land, the site remained mostly still through the early spring, inside the offices buzzed with the excitement of spreading the message and raising the much-needed funds.
Throughout the initial stages, questions filled our minds – Would we be able to raise enough funding support to begin construction? Would others understand and appreciate the project? We began to get some answers in the form of positive feedback to our initial efforts – a series of dance performances coordinated by volunteers in several cities and dedicated to the Adiyogi project were very well-received by all in attendance. Through local print articles and word-of-mouth, awareness continued to spread in many communities.
The immediate eagerness of so many people to get involved and support the project was very touching, and also reassuring. And finally, the first unmistakable signs of construction began to appear as earth-moving construction vehicles arrived for clearing and preparing the grounds.
We soon learned that the Adiyogi statue, a focal point of the space, was set to be unveiled at the Isha Yoga Center in India on the upcoming Guru Purnima in July. Following this announcement, a massive volunteer effort was set into place, as volunteers in cities around the country banded together, opening up their homes to host Guru Purnima celebrations, and in many cases even making group pledges and donations as a city. Witnessing this cooperation and enthusiastic support was so touching and inspiring.
After the unveiling, the work on-site took off – the statue was on the way, ready or not! We watched in awe as huge granite stones arrived from a quarry in Atlanta and were set in place by an unimaginably oversized crane – an unexpected but more than welcome sight set against the peaceful forested backdrop.
September’s World Peace Day and Bhava Spandana events also included special gatherings which brought together supporters of the Adiyogi project from around the country. During these gatherings, the eager anticipation was clearly written on the faces of all in attendance – we were ready for Adiyogi, not only for ourselves but to offer to the world!
Throughout these many months, several groups of volunteers also arrived at iii from various cities, graciously giving their time to volunteering – even during holiday times when they could have been relaxing at home or vacationing with family, many of them chose to come to the ashram and help with the Adiyogi efforts. Many more volunteers also offered their time in the cities, hosting bake sales and even opening up their homes for creative fundraisers and events to raise awareness for the project. Still others helped in online outreach efforts. The support of so many amazing volunteers has allowed the project to happen in such a beautiful and joyful way.
Finally, after a long voyage across the seas (complete with a delay in customs), the Adiyogi statue arrived at iii! In order to keep it safe throughout the rest of the construction process, the statue has been kept covered, though we are all eager to see it unveiled again! Next, massive steel beams arrived and were lifted into place. Now we could truly see the grand scale of the building. Incredible! Walking by the site with visitors, we would excitedly explain what was coming, how the space would be used, even pointing out where all the features would be.
Piece by piece the building has come together with the statue at its heart – first the foundation stones, then the roof, then floor, now the finishing touches, painting , polishing and beautifying the grounds once again.
On September 22-24th the space will undergo a final transformation – from a construction site to a consecrated space. Though we don’t yet know what exactly the process will entail, we know that exciting changes to come, and we are eager to share the space with all – with those who are able to be a part of the consecration as well as those who will visit in the days, weeks, months and years to come.”
To learn more about the Adiyogi project, please visit Adiyogi.org