Thoughts and words cannot exist in the spiritual dimension since they are a construct of the intellect and mind. Sacred geometry arises from this fact that many philosophical truths cannot be expressed with words. The world around us is filled with geometrical designs and shapes. Hinduism is full of ancient and sacred geometric symbols – Om, swastika, the linga, vaastu purusha to name a few. They all hold the keys to unravelling the secrets of the cosmos.
Three words are commonly used in Hindu symbolism: Mandala, Chakra and Yantra.
The term mandala appears in the Rig Veda and is used generically to stand for any drawing, diagram or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos symbolically or metaphysically.
One of the chief symbolic purposes of the mandala is to represent the different layers of the universe – the spiritual realm, the lived environment, the inner experience of man – and how each of these layers can flow into and out of the next. Therefore, the mandala is perhaps the most essential tool when practitioners seek enlightenment or spiritual connection.
The Sanskrit word “chakra” essentially denotes a spinning vortex or wheel. In the “The Tantra of Sri Chakra Bhavanopanishat by Prof: S.K.Ramachandra Rao, he writes:
The etymology of the word would suggest that by which anything is done (kriyate aneana). The wheel of the cart, the wheel of the potter, the wheel like weapon that is flung against the enemy are all called ‘chakras’. In its extended meaning, chakra also signifies a kingdom and because the wheels of the King’s chariot can roll on there without hindrance. The King of the land is thus described as ‘chakravartin’. The word also signifies arrangement of the army (charka vyuha) in order to fortify its position and secure victory. Sanskrit poets are found to employ characteristically circular patterns of letter of words (chakra bhandha) to convey the meaning more forcefully (if also more tortuously) than usual. Whatever the sense in which the word is employed, it invariably means a ‘power field’, an arrangement of parts so as to accomplish the desired end. The circular form which the chakra usually brings to mind denotes both comprehension and facility. It comprehends all the parts, units and details in a compact and effective manner, so that the whole form is unitary and functional. But the form need not necessarily be circular. The idea of comprehension may be metaphorical, as in expressions like ‘rtuchakra’ (the round of the seasons) ‘nakshatra chakra’ (the collection of stars) and ‘nadi chakra’ (the arrangement of the arteries).
The most common form of mandala is the powerful, mystical, esoteric and compelling “Yantra”.
It is said that Lord Shiva created 64 yantras and gave them to mankind to help them progress materially and spiritually. Yantras are considered be the residence of its personal deity (ishta-devata) and therefore there are yantras named for specific desires and specifics Gods and Goddesses and are a representation of the energies they signify and embody. For example:
Ganesha Yantra – to clear obstacles and succeed in fresh ventures
Kali Yantra – to strengthen the feminine energy and become fearless
Lakshmi Yantra – to acquire material wealth
Dhanvantari Yantra – for healing diseases and getting good health
Navagraha Yantra – for general prosperity and to balance the chakras
Each yantra is a mantra (sacred phoneme) by means of which the individual mind calls the cosmic energy through the three bodies: causal, subtle and material. In addition, the yantras are complemented with mantras, since they combine the power of the practitioner with the of the yantra, which, in turn, vibrates with the infinite power of the universe. In meditation, both instruments are used simultaneously. A properly energized yantra contains the same energy of divinity and is the essence of the divinity. (Juan Carlos Ramchandani)
The word is derived from the root verb “Yantr” meaning to restrain or control. It can be understood as a machine or a device that controls human effort in performing a task (thereby providing assistance). A mantra uses sound energy to bring about a balance in the mind and body while a yantra uses the visual medium to bring about a state of equilibrium. Every yantra has to conform to three basic principles:
Akriti-rupa or Form
Kriya-rupa or Function
Shakti-rupa or Power
The geometric symmetry that lies within a yantra is a reflection of the unity of the individual with the universe and this pattern of repetition of seeing the microcosm in the macrocosm and vice versa is said to bring about a balance in the two hemispheres of the brain.
Recent studies have shown that merely looking at certain geometric patterns can alter brain waves and open gateways to higher states of consciousness. The reason why this can happen is because the geometric patterns bring about an alignment of the left and right aspects of the brain. The left hemisphere of the brain is involved in verbal, analytical and logic related activities while the right side performs more intuitive, creative and holistic thinking tasks. Visualising or meditating upon a yantra has been shown to bring about greater balance in the left brain-right brain activity.
One of the most powerful, auspicious and important Yantras in the Tantra tradition is the Sri Chakra Yantra. Tantric texts state that worship of any deity can be undertaken in the Sri Chakra as it is the foundation of all Yantras. Adi Shankaracharya was a great believer in the power of the Sri Chakra and he had it installed in all the temples he visited.
The Vedas suggest that while Shiva created 64 yantras and their corresponding mantras for the welfare of humanity, he gave the knowledge of the Sri Chakra Yantra to his wife along with its highly secret Shodasi mantra.
The deity that Sri Chakra Yantra represents is Lalitha Tripurasundari but it is not called the Lalitha Chakra or Tripurasundari Chakra to denote its auspiciousness and over riding power and authority.
In the tantric tradition, all symbols have three aspects:
The Gross aspect depicting an image of the body, face, weapons, etc., of the diety
The Subtle form which is shown in a yantra
The Causal form which is depicted by the mantra
The Vamakeshvara Tantra describes her thus:
“The Dear One, Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of manifestation. She, the pile of letters of the alphabet, gave birth to the three worlds. At dissolution, She is the abode of all tattvas, still remaining Herself.”
Lalitha means “the playful one” reflecting the Vedic philosophy which sees all of creation as a mere game or play of the Divine Consciousness.
Tripurasundari means “beauty of the three worlds” where the three worlds can signify:
Three locations: Heaven, Hell and Earth
The three states of being: Sleeping, dreaming and waking
The three gunas: Tamas, Rajas and Sattva
The triad of human experience: intellect, feelings and physical
The goddess is seen as residing in her physical and visible form in the bindu at the centre of the yantra while permeating the entire Universe at the same time.
“The Sri Chakra Yantra to give it the correct name, is regarded as the Supreme Yantra. Any other Yantra is but a part or fraction of the Sri Yantra; it both includes and transcends all Yantras ever made, and no existing Yantra can not be found in the Sri Yantra. The benefits of all Yantras are, therefore, to be found individually and collectively in the Sri Yantra. It is also considered to be the greatest achievement in the abstract, symbolic representation of the Divine. The Sri Yantra is traditionally held to have been divinely revealed rather than invented, a concept that is easily understood when one realizes the immense complexity of the Yantra.”
Rohit Arya, Symbolism of the Sri Yantra
The Sri Yantra appears deceptively simple in its construction but is one of the most geometrical patterns in recorded history. Many accomplished mathematicians have wondered how Hindu sages were able to draw such complicated geometric patterns without any aids even as they struggle to achieve the same with all resources at hand. The Sri Yantra is precisely constructed to match the proportions of the Golden Ratio.
The Golden Ratio is often called the blueprint of all creations. We see it all around us in nature (Genome, DNA, flowers, seashells) art (Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel), architecture (Egyptian Pyramids, Parthenon), branding (Pepsi and Nike logos). Even our faces and bodies follow this Golden Ratio and our perception of beauty is actually defined by this ratio. A person is seen as attractive because his/her proportions are closer to the Golden ratio. Our brain is hard wired to prefer objects and images that are close to this ratio.
The Sri Chakra also contains several similarities with the Flower of Life which is seen as a blueprint for creation of sound, matter and consciousness. This pattern is seen repeated through nature. In the image below, we can see how a human embryo also replicates the pattern of the Flower of Life.
The study of visible sound is called Cymatics, and it reveals some fascinating truths about our universe that go unseen by the naked eye. Sounds actually have a distinct geometry, much like crystals and flowers and nautilus shells.
When picked up by a special apparatus, such as the sand-covered plate called a tonoscope these vibrations reveal incredible geometric shapes that are as unique and beautiful as a flurry of snowflakes.
The holy syllable Aum when sounded through a tonoscope (an instrument used to create patterns corresponding to different sounds) a geometric pattern very similar to that of Sri Yantra is created. Dr Hans Jenny (a pioneer in the field of cymatics) first established the correlation between sounds and their vibrational patterns. Our ancient sages had the knowledge to reverse engineer the sacred sound of Aum to a geometrical form! Just as the number 108 is believed to be the numeric representation of Aum, the Sri Yantra is its the visual representation.
A study conducted in Moscow University used an EEG machine to observe the brainwaves of test subjects who were asked to stare into a Sri Yantra. Within a few minutes of mild concentration on the geometric pattern, it was found that there was a change in the brain activities of the subject as the brain waves slowed down considerably and reached an Alpha level, a state of mind associated with heightened intuition, greater creativity and deeper relaxation. (Source: Biology Faculty of Moscow University, October 1987)
Itagi Ravi Kumar and Jang Jungyun conducted an experiment using the Sri Yantra to see if it had any effects on the germination of green gram. Two types of Sri Yantra made of copper were used. One was a two dimensional bhuprasthana yantra and the other was a mahameru yantra. It was discovered that samples treated with both the yantras showed a marked increase in percentage of germination, radical length and fresh and oven dry weight of germinated seeds when compared to the control sample seeds. The two dimensional bhuprasthana yantra showed a more positive effect than the three dimensional meru yantra. (Source: International Journal of Geology, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (Vol 5, Issue 2 April 2017)
R.K.Sennaya Swamy Muthukrishnan, an Indian Egyptologist travelled to the Pyramids of Giza to prove that the base triangles of the great pyramids are equal in angular measurements to those found in the Sri Chakra Yantra. In his book “The Egyptian Code: The Secret Code used by Pharoahs that can turn small businesses into empires” he writes that far from being the tombs of Pharoahs, the pyramids served as a recuperation and resting place for important persons among the Egyptian elite. The bio-energy found inside a pyramid helps cure ailments and restore vitality and good health. Recent deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics lends credence to Muthukrishnan’s theories. (Source: The Hindustan Times Oct, 28 1997 – Pyramidal Facts)
An award-winning American artist called Bill Witherspoon has written extensively about his experiment with a diagram of the Sri Chakra Yantra on a dry lake in Oregon. He states that after the sacred drawing was dissolved by natural causes, there were many changes recorded in the area with an increase noted in soil fertility, plant nutrients and yield. (Source: John Hopkins University – Project MUSE digital library)
The well known American physicist Dr. Patrick Flanagan calls the
Sri Yantra “the king of power diagrams”, and describes its energetic effect as
seventy times greater than that of a pyramid construction.
(Source: Research paper by Marcus Schmieke featuring Dr. Flanagan’s findings)
The Sri Yantra can be seen in three forms – plane, pyramidical and spherical. In its plane two dimensional form, it is also called the Bhuprasthana and is typically presented as engravings on copper, silver or gold. In its three dimensional form, it is called a Maha Meru, the mythological cosmic mountain said to be at the center of the universe. The Meru in plan is the same as in the plane Sri Chakra but the triangles surrounding the innermost triangle are piled one on top of another in different palnes to arrive at a whole which is shaped like a pyramid. The bindu is at the top most part of the structure. In yet another complex three dimensional form, the Sri Yantra is presented in a spherical shape called the Kurma (as it resembles a tortoise’s shell) thereby becoming phenomenally more complex in structure and construction.
Worship can be of two kinds – external worship (baahya pooja) in which the worshipper sees himself as disparate from the object of his devotion or internal worship (antah pooja) in which the worshipper identifies completely with the object of his devotion. The Sri Chakra Yantra is a device which is used in both forms of worship as a guide to ultimately fulfilling the desires of the worshipper.
Meditation on any of the forms are acceptable and there is no need to go out and buy an expensive Maha Meru or Kurma Sri Yantra. An accurate drawing on paper will work just as well as the most intricately carved Maha Meru. However, if you intend to become a serious practitioner, I would advise you to buy a two dimensional Bhuprasthana Sri Yantra engraved on copper after due research and checking if it indeed it is an accurate representation of the sacred geometry.
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