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A Monumental Mahima

February 2009
A Monumental Mahima

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev talks to Khabar on the significance of the consecration of the 39,000 square feet, dome-structured meditation hall—a landmark event in the history of Indian spirituality in the Western Hemisphere


On a tranquil site in the Cumberland plateau of Tennessee, the largest meditation center in the western hemisphere was consecrated in November 2008 by prominent spiritual leader Sadhguru Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation and the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences (IIIS).

Amidst 1200 acres of lush green forests, the IIIS is being developed as a destination for spiritual growth to seekers from the West. Through its 39,000-square-foot meditation center, Mahima, which means grace, IIIS will be a resource for the science of yoga in all its dimensions, many of which have never been explored in this part of the world.

As part of its inauguration in November, Sadhguru consecrated Mahima with an infusion of energy to create receptivity in those that enter the space, so that they may become meditative and know the power and the impact of grace.

Invoking his mastery of the science of yoga, Sadhguru used a process referred to as Prana Pratishtha to enshrine Mahima. The Isha Foundation believes that Mahima will not be a place of prayer, but a space with a vortex of energy where people can transform their lives to achieve freedom and a new dimension of perception. Of all the human pursuits, striving to transform oneself into a higher possibility is considered the most sacred. It is this pursuit that fulfills the purpose of the human form and it is this pursuit that brings well-being. The basic purpose of the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences is to inspire, to stoke, and to nurture this innate search in every being, helping them realize the ultimate potential within. Through Mahima, and the programs that will be offered by the IIIS, one can experience the power of the inner science of yoga, in which one can gain control over one’s inner energies in a conscious, on-going process. Once this happens, being peaceful, joyous, and loving happens naturally out of one’s own nature.

“The word yoga, literally, means union. When you experience everything as a part of yourself, then you are in yoga.”—Sadhguru

Yogi, mystic and visionary humanitarian, Sadhguru is a spiritual master with a difference. His life and work serve as a reminder that yoga is not an esoteric discipline from an outdated past, but a contemporary science, vitally relevant to our times. Deeply insightful, devastatingly logical and unfailingly witty, Sadhguru’s talks have earned him the reputation of a speaker and opinion-maker of international renown. Khabar had an opportunity to talk to this spiritual giant to get more details on the Mahima consecration.

Sadhguru, is there any particular reason why you chose the ashram to be in Tennessee?

One thing is, the land is very beautiful, that is important for us. And another aspect is that geographically, it is very centrally located in the United States. Almost two-thirds of the U.S. population is within eight to 10 hours of driving distance. So, we wanted to locate the centre in a convenient place where people could reach easily. We have the Atlanta airport, which is a big asset. And I only wanted a large acreage of land which is beautiful and mountainous. So, it fulfilled all the requirements for us.

How do you think the Mahima and the Ashram will differ from some of the other ashrams in the United States that are built by other yogis and saints?

I have not come across anything yet, and maybe I have not looked for it, which is truly for the inner well-being. Generally, people have set up health oriented places. Most of the yoga that’s happening is towards health and the physical and psychological well-being of the human being. I am not saying that’s not needed. That is also needed. We will also provide that to some extent. But this is a space essentially dedicated for spiritual well-being and for humanity to explore the mystical dimensions of what is within oneself. As far as I know, I don’t think there is such a space around or maybe I am ignorant of that. The other main difference between Isha yoga and other forms of yoga is that there is a living master to guide it.

Can you tell us a little about the process used for consecration called Prana Pratishtha?

Essentially when we say Prana Pratishtha, what we are saying is it’s not ritualistic. It is not based on rituals and it is based more on energy work. Whether you go through the ritualistic way or otherwise, essentially you are trying to energize the space. And the most significant part of this is when you do it in the ritualistic way, it needs a continuous maintenance to keep the space that way. Because this is done in a meditative process, that process will anyway be happening because of the people doing their sadhana (spiritual work). So, it will not need any further maintenance to keep it alive. So, when we (talk about) a consecration, we are mainly trying to create a space that’s conducive. It’s like creating a womb-like space where the necessary blossoming of a human individual happens. This is done in a non-ritualistic way and by just using meditative processes, not using rituals.

Any plans on having spaces like the Mahima in other parts of the world?

Creating a space like Mahima isn’t according to my plan, it is more according to people’s requirement. It became essential to create this because there are so many people who are in different stages of spiritual development. Creating a support cell for them became essential, so we decided to create this. So, if it becomes necessary and I believe it will become necessary around the world because in many ways change is happening, and humanity is probably preparing itself for a more open consciousness than a very closed identity as in the past.   

So it becomes necessary in every part of the world to build an infrastructure for human inner well-being. See, we have built all kinds of things that we need in our society including hospitals, schools and a variety of facilities for various needs, for our physical, psychological and social needs. But there is no infrastructure for the inner well-being of a human being, the essential core of who he is.   

In ancient India, it used to be there, but that also now is mostly gone. Very little is left. So, I feel it’s extremely important. If human beings have to live well on this planet we have to build infrastructure and also human infrastructure and the regular infrastructure for the inner well-being of the human being, which has not at all been done in the western hemisphere. That’s one of the reasons why we thought we should offer this to people.

Are there any special practices or classes that will taught at the Mahima?

Yes, now that we have a space dedicated for this — you see, unless a space is dedicated for this, we cannot explore higher dimensions of meditativeness because without a kind of protective space, it will not be safe to do that. So, now that we are creating a space like this, definitely, many aspects of meditation and other things that we could not offer earlier, will be offered here in future.   

What is your long-term vision and hope for the ashram and the Mahima here in the United States?

I have no vision for the ashram. My vision is always for the humanity. The ashram is just a tool or cog in the requirement of human needs. For the first time we as a part of humanity, we as a generation of people, have this opportunity that every problem of humanity on this planet could be addressed right now. Problems like nourishment, health, and education.   

Fifty years ago even if we dreamt of it, we could not address them. But today we can address them. We have the necessary resources, technology and capability to do this. The only reason why it’s not happening is human consciousness is sinking. That is something that in this lifetime we would like to see—the leadership on the planet to do something about. We have the necessary consciousness to fulfill this possibility, and yet, we are not doing it. As I have repeatedly said, if we do not do what we cannot do, there is no problem. But we do not do what we can do, we are a disaster. So, this is one more effort to see that such a disaster doesn’t happen with our generation.

[To find out more about the Mahima consecration and Isha Yoga, visit www.ishafoundation.org. You can also view free video podcasts on the Mahima consecration and other podcasts of Sadhguru on Itunes, Youtube and other websites. Search for Isha TV on your browser.]

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