The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) is a unique temple dedicated to interfaith understanding and the Light within all faiths. Individual altars represent and honor the different world faiths and spiritual paths. The vision, design and inspiration of Sri Swami Satchidananda, LOTUS was dedicated in 1986. It demonstrates, “Truth is One, Paths are Many.” In the peaceful countryside of Virginia, the doors of LOTUS are open to welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Welcome to the official website of LOTUS. Explore LOTUS through two virtual tours:  a Custom Virtual Tour and The Google Tour. Have an introduction to the concepts behind LOTUS and the importance of interfaith cooperation in our world today. Read about the purpose of LOTUS and discover the beauty of the shrine through the virtual tours, video galleries, and slide shows, including the annotated “At a Glance” visual overview of historic photos. Learn about the founder of LOTUS, a pioneer in the interfaith movement. Discover the unique architecture and construction of LOTUS and recall the 1986 dedication ceremonies. Explore the faith traditions through scriptural quotes, photos, and sacred objects displayed in the All Faiths Hall of LOTUS. Find out about the LOTUS Center for All Faiths, visitor information, Integral Yoga links, and interfaith organization resources.

News Alert

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Threatens LOTUS

LOTUS, the Ashram and the surrounding Yogaville community face a serious concern: A high-pressure natural gas pipeline to transport fracked gas from West Virginia to North Carolina is planned by Dominion Resources to cut across our county, Buckingham. The current plan shows that a powerful compressor station will be built within five miles of the Ashram.

Repairs Needed on LOTUS

Due to the natural wear and tear of time and weather, this sacred symbol of Universal Light is in need of urgent repair. Therefore, we invite each and all of you to join us in the privilege of becoming a part of the repair of LOTUS now and its continuous upkeep throughout the years to come.

Our goal is to cover the cost of necessary repairs estimated at $350,000 and to inspire a commitment from friends, family, and supporters to gratefully fund the ongoing yearly upkeep in the amount of $40,000, in order to maintain and preserve the LOTUS for the benefit of all for generations to come.

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Swami Satchidananda

Swami Satchidananda

“More people have died in the name of God and religion than in all the wars and natural calamities. But, the real purpose of any religion is to educate us about our spiritual unity. It is time for us to recognize that there is one truth and many approaches. The basic cause for all the world problems is the lack of understanding of our spiritual unity. The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another and to live as one global family. Our humble aim in building the LOTUS is to spread this message.”

—H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda, founder of LOTUS

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

“I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different the ends are the same.”

—H. H. the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

The Very Rev. James P Morton

The Very Rev. James P Morton

“Every human being under the sun is graciously welcome at the LOTUS.”

—The Very Rev. James P Morton, The Interfaith Center of New York

Rabbi Gelberman

Rabbi Gelberman

“Words cannot express the uplifting feelings I have experienced in visiting this shrine. The LOTUS celebrates the unity of all faiths, the many paths but one God.”

—Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, the New Synagogue; Founder and President, All Faiths Seminary International

Dr. Karan Singh

Dr. Karan Singh

“The LOTUS stands as a living monument to the interfaith ideals.”

—Dr. Karan Singh, Member of Parliament (India); International Chairman of the Temple of Understanding

Sun Bear

Sun Bear

“I appreciate the LOTUS which promotes understanding among all people and among all religions. May we all come to the path of unity that will allow us to overcome the enemy of separation that is now trying to destroy all of the earth.”

—Sun Bear, Founder and Medicine Chief of the Bear Tribe Medicine Society

Yogi Bhajan

Yogi Bhajan

“The LOTUS is a ‘Statue of Spirituality’ equal to the Statue of Liberty. It unites spirituality into the reality of the Oneness of God and Light and gives everybody unity in diversity.”

—Yogi Bhajan, Sikh Dharma Chief Religious and Administrative Authority for the Western Hemisphere

Prabhasa Dharma

Prabhasa Dharma

“The LOTUS is a visual testimony to interfaith understanding and stands as a beacon of Truth and Peace.”

—The Venerable Prabhasa Dharma, Founder of the International Zen Center; 45th generational heir of the Vietnamese Lam Te (Rinzai) Zen Lineage

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Br. David Steindl-Rast

In the Self we are all one and yet each Self is unique and irreplaceable. Each spiritual tradition knows this great Self by a different name. The world we long to see is built on nonviolence, collaboration, and sharing. This is the message of the LOTUS.

~Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB, Co-founder, A Network for Grateful Living

To virtually tour the LOTUS on this site: Use the navigation wheel in the upper left to change perspective. Zoom with the + and - buttons. You can also drag on a track pad or scroll a mouse. Click on the arrows to follow available paths. After looking around the main sanctuary, pass through the glass door by double clicking on it. Traverse the gardens and fountains, and cross LOTUS Road to ascent the stairs leading to Chidambarum. Then, return to the LOTUS by turning around with the navigation wheel, or with two fingers on a trackpad, and proceed down the hill. Be sure to turn left to visit the exhibit in the exhibit hall. You can zoom in to see the exhibit photos. Then go across the courtyard to the gift shop, before progressing back to the lower level of the LOTUS to visit the All Faiths Hall and explore the sacred objects there in. 


Visit our Facebook Page or read news from LOTUS in the latest posts from Facebook here.

Orthodox Christians are observing the 40-day Nativity Fast through December 24. Abstaining from meat, fish, dairy, olive oil, and wine, they also focus more deeply on prayer and almsgiving.

The purpose of fasting is to learn discipline and gain control over things that often control us. In so doing, we are freed to focus on the Divine.

Accepting pain as help for purification is called ‘tapas’ in Sanskrit (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2:1), taking on austerities as penance, or accepting insult and suffering as a means of transformation. In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17, Sri Krishna describes the austerities of body, speech and mind. From the Abrahamic faiths through Zoroastrianism, fasting is honored as part of a spiritual journey.

“The direct meaning of tapas is ‘to burn’…impurities are purged out. In order to make our minds clean and steady we must accept suffering, pain and poverty. It is even more beneficial if, at the same time that we accept pain, we bring happiness to others.”
~Sri Swami Satchidananda, Commentary on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
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LOTUS Center for All Faiths members attended Hindu-Catholic Dialogue at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Maryland on November 11. The keynote speakers were Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican Ambassador to the United States and Swamini Svatmavidyanandaji, Spiritual Director of Arsha Vijnana Gurukulam. Om Shanti ...

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Light Of Truth Universal Shrine - LOTUS shared Paramhansa Yogananda's photo. ...

buff.ly/2ApQUmT The boy’s father was a harsh man. Constantly criticizing and belittling others, he was feared by everyone who knew him—but not by his son, who had a wisdom beyond his years. One day when the boy was twelve years old, he came into the room where his father was sitting and picked up a beautiful shell bowl from a table. Lifting the shell over his head, he threw it to the ground and shattered it into pieces. “What have you done?” his father screamed. Calmly the boy looked at him, and replied, “Can you put it back together and make it whole again?” “Of course not,” said the man as he approached the boy angrily, about to mete out punishment. “Then why do you do this to other people’s minds?” the son asked. The father’s rage changed to stunned silence, as he realized, perhaps for the first time, the impact of his actions on others. Swami Satchidananda at Ananda Village’s Meditation Retreat, during a visit in 1973. This boy grew up to become Swami Satchidananda, a disciple of the great Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, and a beloved guru to many thousands of people around the world. He founded the worldwide Integral Yoga Institutes, and in 1979 established Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia, where he built the first LOTUS (Light Of Truth Universal Shrine). Recently Jyotish and I took part in a well-received Ananda program in the south Indian city of Coimbatore. The following day Satchidananda’s cousin and disciple, K. Ramasamy, drove us to a nearby town where he has established a second LOTUS. This beautiful temple is “dedicated to the Light of all faiths and to world peace,” and is exactly two-thirds the size of the original LOTUS in Virginia. LOTUS India world peace and unity universal truths Nayaswami Jyotish with Mr. Ramasamy (top). LOTUS near Coimbatore (bottom). As we toured the beautiful grounds and buildings with shrines dedicated to all religions, we were struck by the fact that the same consciousness is reflected in LOTUS and in the new temple being built at Ananda Village. People of universal sympathies are bringing the same awareness of global unity. Mr. Ramasamy told us another story from the life of his guru-cousin. In the early years of Satchidananda’s spiritual work in the West, many unkempt hippies began to follow him. Eventually he was able to uplift their consciousness, and many of them went on to make significant contributions in the arts and sciences, and in medicine. At a certain point, a very wealthy woman began attending his satsangs. She told him, “I’d like to join your work and can donate a great deal of money, but [referring to the gaggle of hippies hanging around] I can’t stand all these pigs.” Satchidananda smiled kindly and replied, “Perhaps this is not your place, because if they are pigs, then I am the mother pig caring for all of them.” Unable to overcome her prejudices, the woman ended up leaving. I’ll close with a quote from this great teacher: “The real purpose of any religion is to educate us about our spiritual unity. It is time for us to recognize that there is one truth and many approaches. The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another, and to live as one global family.” The broken shell could not be put back together, but the human soul needs but a touch of light, love, and understanding to, once again, be made whole in the realization of its oneness with God. Towards world unity, Nayaswami Devi

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The Bhagavad Gita is a philosophical dialogue between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna. As the battle draws close, Arjuna is overcome with self-doubt about the righteousness of the war against his own kin. Krishna takes charge and explains the necessity and inevitability of the war to the distraught Arjuna.

Their conversation is a key part of the Mahabharata, and considered a holy scripture of Hinduism. Despite taking place in a war zone, the conversation represents Bhakti, love, and the courage, faith and responsibility it requires. In it, Yoga is presented as a solution to Arjuna: discernment, non-attachment, purity, connection, awareness, and sacrifice.

"We are peace and joy personified. We are purity personified. Unfortunately we seem to be ignoring that. We’re ignorant of our own true nature. So we run after things to make us happy and to find peace. Behind all our efforts, our basic motive is to find happiness and thus to find peace. All our actions are for that good. They need not be religious. We’re all working toward that happiness. Even all these wars, fights and competition are ways people look for happiness. Even when people steal things, they think they’re going to be happy by stealing. So the ultimate motive behind all our actions is to find that joy and peace. That’s what Krishna means when he says, “Whatever people do, ultimately their interest is in me.” When he says “me,” it means that peace."
~ Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers
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November 2 is All Souls Day in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican faiths. Prayers are offered for souls that cling to attachment to the world and remain in Purgatory. The scriptural basis for this belief is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out... Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin."

Most Protestant faiths do not recognize this holiday. When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, the seven books which refer to prayers for the dead were omitted. He introduced the belief that people are simply saved, or not, and argued that there is no need to pray for the dead to get them into heaven. This began the Reformation 500 years ago.

"The soul knows itself to be unlimited and immortal. It is that immortality which we should realize. The worst fear is the fear of death of the body. When your old clothes wear out, you throw them away and put on new ones. We all have old-model bodies. We will get new ones, don’t worry."
~ Sri Swami Satchidananda, Beyond Words
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