MANY years ago, when I first said, “Let’s build a temple,” people around me were incredulous. They said, “A temple? Because of you we stopped going to temples! And now you want to build one?” They couldn’t believe a die-hard sceptic like me could propose this.
What people often forget is that the Indian temple was not intended as a place of prayer. It may be turning into a place of petition now. But traditionally, this was a culture that told you to simply sit and imbibe the energy of a temple for a while. This ensured that you passed through the world and all its transactions smoothly. It lubricated your passage so you were able to glide through life situations without getting trapped, and eventually enabled you to transcend them altogether.
Temples were simply energy centres. If you were on a spiritual path with your own practice, you had your own self-charging method and did not need to visit them. (Nowhere else in the world does such wisdom exist.) But, otherwise, the temple was a public charging place. There was a time when every street in South India had as many as five temples. These were never in competition with each other because the underlying premise was that no human being deserved to live in a space that wasn’t consecrated.
What do we mean by consecration? Consecration is the science of transforming a grosser element into a finer one. Everywhere around us, one form of existence is constantly mutating into another. When mud turns into food, we call it agriculture. When food turns into body, we call it digestion. When body turns into mud, we call it cremation—or burial. Similarly, when a material substance turns into the highest and subtlest possible reverberation, we call it consecration. There is a whole sophisticated system of Indian alchemy, capable of transforming even a stone into the divine.
This science of energising forms was the basis of the creation of ancient Indian temples. These temples weren’t like the buildings of today—heaps of cement and concrete. They were live spaces that served as powerful fields of transformation. Many gave their lives to build these temples because these were seen in ancient times as having tremendous possibilities, empowering human beings to blossom to their fullest potential.
The methods of consecration were varied. Some were ritualistic processes, which involved the use of mantras or sounds; others were energy processes. The mantra process was based on the understanding that the entire universe is an amalgam of vibrations, and some key sounds or vibrations can help unlock a whole new dimension of life. This type of consecration needs periodic maintenance, but the one based on the direct use of energy does not need any. One of the unique features of the Dhyanalinga, the yogic temple I consecrated in 1999 with my own life energies, is the fact that it requires no maintenance whatsoever.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding of this sophisticated science, a large number of temples have died out entirely. This is simply because subsequent generations have forgotten how to maintain these energy forms. As the Bhakti movement swept through the country in medieval times, emotion became the focus of the human relationship with the divine. More recently, we have reaped the benefits—the comforts and conveniences—of modern science, but have forgotten the subjective aspects of an older science capable of bringing profound inner well-being, balance and fulfilment to our lives.
If everyone’s home, office and street reverberated with the intense and refined energy of these consecrated spaces, the results would be tremendous. When you live in a place saturated with grace, your evolution need not stick to the Darwinian scale. You can simply leapfrog ahead to your ultimate liberation. It is my dream that this possibility is opened up to the world, so every human being is offered the opportunity to live in a consecrated environment.
Sadhguru, a yogi, is a visionary, humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader(www.ishafoundation.org)