Located only an hour and a half outside of Richmond , the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, or LOTUS, is a unique addition to the religious landscape of Virginia . The shrine is located in Yogaville, a community dedicated to the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda. The uniqueness of the shrine stems from both its design and purpose: it is built in the shape of its namesake, the lotus flower, and serves as a shrine for all the world’s religions, known, and unknown.
The shrine had been conceived by Sri Swami Satchidananda as a place where the world’s religions could exist side by side without animosity. Work on the Light of Truth Universal Shrine extended over a period of several years, with the religious ceremonies for the building of the lake surrounding the shrine beginning in 1980. Construction on the shrine itself began two years later, and it was completed four years later. On July 20, 1986 the Light of Truth Universal Shrine was dedicated in a ceremony that at its height was attended by approximately three thousand people.
For 21 years the shrine has served its purpose, housing alters dedicated to ten major religions, as well as two other alters, one dedicated to other known religions and the other dedicated to those still unknown. The outside of the shrine contains fountains and gardens, many with spiritual symbolism. The interior of the shrine consists of two floors; the bottom floor houses cases that display artifacts of the religions represented by the alters, which are located on the top floor of the shrine.
Every aspect of the shrine seems to have been designed with religious significance in mind. Everything appears to have a meaning, from the location, to the road to the shrine, to its very measurements. The measurements of the shrine center on the number one-hundred and eight which is considered to be sacred. The number one represents the individual, the number zero represents God, and the number eight represents infinity. For example, the exterior of the shrine is one-hundred and eight feet wide, while the interior of the shrine is fifty-four feet, one half of one hundred and eight.
The shrine is open year round, with the hours differing slightly in November through March from the schedule that is observed in April through October. Noon meditation is held daily if the weather permits. Due to its narrow road, Light of Truth Universal Shrine is sometimes closed in due to inclement weather. Visitors are requested to wear attire that is appropriate for a place of worship.
Light of Truth Universal Shrine
1 LOTUS Plaza
Buckingham, VA 23921
Profile prepared by Aubin Richards