Sri Yukteswar Giri, himself a pioneer of Cosmic Astrology and a great Kriya Yoga master, had a dream of building a circular meditation hall which would incorporate the 4 yugas namely: Satyuga, Tretayuga, Dwaparayuga, Kaliyuga and also the stars and planetary systems. The disciple would be able to sit within the meditation hall and easily see his/her cosmic birth sound, star sign, birth sign and astrological constellation. The Hiranyagarbha, built by Swami Shankarananda Giri made Sri Yukteswarjee’s dream to become true. The temple contains sixteen pillars, the symbol of 16 shola (kalas). Half of sixteen is eight, and the eighth womb is the last womb, the womb of the golden egg (Hiranyagarbha). Sixteen petals are contained in the centre of Shabda Brahman, the centre of sound which is the ether element (akash tatwa) and the 5th chakra (Vishuddha). Sri Yukteswarjee was aware that, if the meditation planetarium was going to be built with sixteen pillars (petals) then there would be an echo of a sound that would resound sixteen times; and this is the best for meditation. The number sixteen is very symbolic. In Sanskrit sixteen is called shodasha or shodashi. The word shodashi is normally used after the mahasamadhi of a sannyasi. It means that it is not real death.
It is mahaprayana, which means “the great departure”, when the pure prana (the life force) enters into the golden womb, hiranyagarbha, inside the cranium. Once a yogi enters into the hiranyagarbha they have the ability to transfer their soul from a body to another, with the rhythm of their own inhalation and exhalation. And this means that, before the body is destroyed, the sadhaka can leave the body with their last exhalation and enter into another human body with the first inhalation. This is the non- interrupted prana, the non interrupted Hiranyagarbha. There will be no death experience. The body may be destroyed but the sadhaka will remain always un-manifested. The symbol of hiranyagarbha is the golden womb, the ultimate and never perishable existence. Any seeker who enters into the meditation temple automatically gets a sound, both inner and outer.
Sri Yukteswarjee stated that, where there will be a square dome the energy can never be centralized into infinity. The four corners would be an obstruction for the energy due to the movement of energy which is always rounding, oval and infinite (Bisarga). In a practical sense the hall serves to remind disciples of the intimate connection between God, the universe/cosmos, time (past, present and future) and the individual. Each human, made in the image of God, is also an image of ALL His creation. The hall brings together in one place all these connections. It is a profound place for the realisation of Truth. Swami Shankarananda Giri has fulfilled Sri Yukteswar Giri's dream by building the Hiranyagarbha, the unique planetarium-temple with a circular hall. It includes life-size statues of 5 Kriya masters and has capacity for 200 people to sit and meditate in the meditation hall. The domed ceiling incorporates all 12 planetary signs engraved in astrologically correct positions. The 4 major yugas and the 27 stars are depicted. The meditation hall harmonizes deep resonances and powerful vibrations enabling deep meditation. On the outside wall of the meditation hall, there are 16 caves. This enables any disciple to meditate in a cave for as long as he or she wishes.