Yantra - A Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity by Madhu Khanna
Thames and Hudson
Madhu Khanna is a noted Indian people historian of religion and noted and tantra science based in Delhi, India. Her first degree was from Oxford and she has several other academic accolades and awards. She has written several books, 'Yantra' being the most popular, and has contributed to three national projects, as well as several research projects for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
Mahu Khanna - Google Scholar
Arms of a Cross mark doorway into the square setting out stable foundations on the earth. Each door also is a doorway out into the regions of the cosmos. Through these you enter the model gradually moving into the central bindu via the 9 layers, or chakra. Each of these 9 levels have a distinct shape, name and are associated with a number of aspects of the Great, or Supreme, Mother.
In essence, you enter the constructs of the physical world and our bodies, bound within it, to ultimately experience the union of Shiva and Shakti in the Point of unity at the centre, the highest peak of the mountain.
Every yantra has a mantra(s), tones in ancient Sanskrit that activate and invoke the power of the geometric model. During Sri Yantra puja about an hour of these are chanted by the swami. The presiding deity of the Sri Yantra is Maha Tripura Sundari, the Great Mother. Each layer radiating out from the bindu has mudras, or deities, residing within them. This is describe in the Sri Devi Khadgamala Stotram, a hymn to the Divine Mother, which 'bestows a garland of swords upon those who recite it, symbol of the energy that enables us to transcend attachment and rise on the spiritual level'. This Sanskrit stotra is a progressional worship of the many Goddess forms within the Sri Yantra and is considered as the highest form of worship to the Devi (Godess).
This is a simplified description of a multi-step, sacred ceremony that is many centuries old, with layers of rich symbolism. Doing a full worship is extremely difficult to do properly and few can do it!
The Sri Yantra puja is said to remove all negative things from your life.
Experiencing the Sri Yantra Puja
This summer Jaswinder Chali kindly invited me to join her and participate in a Sri Yantra Puja held in the Adhya Shakti Mataji Temple in Uxbridge, UK, a great honour. It was the first time Acharya Umesh Tiwariji (Instagram: Acharya Shri Umesh Tiwari) had visited the UK. He is a noted master trainer in the Sri Yantra Sadhana from Shrishri Vidhyadham.
You can experience the mantras of the Sri Yantra Puja by Acharya Umesh Tiwariji in the youtube video below.
Tune into the healing music of Bengaluru-based 'Blushing Satellite', an Indian band whose music is based on the transformative healing of sound. Sound vibrations contain the geometric code structuring reality and the fabric of our being. Everything manifest from pure consciousness crystallises into existence through vibration. It is not surprising sound vibrations affect us to the core of our being.
This band maintains music is a form of therapy through cymatics (see my previous posts on this topic). Vocalist Ramanan Chandramouli says, "We create music and perform to tune the listener's attention inward, to slow down the thought process and bring the agitated mind to calm and restful state. This is where all healing happens." As John Stuart Reid states, "It is worth remembering that Pythagorus of Somas...also believed that music could be used as medicine and contributes greatly to health, if used in an appropriate manner...by using music in the place of medicine."
Music therapy is already used widely as a clinical discipline but John Stuart Reid is conducting research to validate the hypothesis that individual frequencies within sound can support healing in the body. He is currently investigating whether music can lengthen the life of human blood cells.
Archetypal symbolism using a variety of geometric shapes is ancient, stretching back to the dawn of man's earliest artworks as seen in petroglyphs around the world. Our ancestors’ simple drawings on rocks and artefacts gave tangible form to the harmonious patterns of life and the intangible order uniting the Universe. They give 'form to the formless' and are abstract expressions of the science manifesting reality.
Ueshiba Morihei (founder of aikido):
Down the generations all cultures have used simple shapes such as these and they, like Zen artists, had the same profound understanding that the simple patterns shaping the Universe were themselves sacred and empowered. Other examples, used extensively in my books, are yantras and mandalas. Tantra Yoga is the path of union with the Absolute through geometric visualization in Tantric Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Central to Tantrism are elaborate and precise geometric patterns, known as mandalas or yantras, some of which are thousands of years old. In this tradition the triangle, circle and square were significant Vedic forms which symbolised spirituality, evolution and the Earth respectively. Additionally in both Indian and Japanese esoteric teachings, such as Mikkyo, these shapes represent earth (square), water (circle) and fire (triangle).
Simple shapes embodying intricate complexity, the circle, square and triangle structure and bind the 3 profound concepts of time (evolution: Mind, serenity and perfection:water), space (Earth:Body:earth) and being (spirituality:solidity and applied control:fire). The empty circle, the vessel for all geometry shapes, when totally empty is the essence of enlightenment.
Here is my version of these timeless concepts:
For fun I am sharing a small selection of photographs taken on a fantastic trip to India Nov 2013, organised by Jazaro-Nur. In every image there is an example of sacred geometry, which is a vital feature of the Indian culture and everyday life that goes back many centuries.