People admire the Sri Yantra for its geometric perfection and beauty. The ancient design has grown in popularity. Some use the striking design in artistic work. Others use the Tantric diagram for meditation and concentration.
The object has deeper, cosmological meaning in Hinduism. According to Vedic scholar Subhash Kak, the diagram is an iconic representation of the deepest intuitions of the Vedas. He says the Sri Yantra, also known as the Sri Chakra, looks at reality through the lens of beauty and experience. In today's Phidle Clothing blog, you'll learn about the cosmological and geometric significance of the Sri Yantra.
Yantra is a Sanskrit word that means "contraption" or "machine." Its use dates back to 11,000 - 10,000 BC. Indian Tantric traditions used yantras as mystical diagrams to aid in meditation and deity worship. Each tradition associates a yantra with specific deities. The Baghor stones are one of the earliest yantra examples. It was a triangular-shaped stone stained with ochre. The piece had triangles engraved on one side.
The Sri Vidya is one of most popular and comprehensive Vidyas. Its most iconic symbol is the Sri Yantra. In Hinduism, the term Vidya means "highest clarity" or "highest knowledge." Scholars also define it as the worship of gods or goddesses. Worship includes obtaining knowledge, using it for a purpose, examining learning practices, and applying corrective measures. The word "Sri" means "prosperity," "auspiciousness" and "divinity."
The Sri Vidya dates back to the 10th or 11th century and continues to thrive in Southern India. It is an ancient Hindu Tantric tradition. Its devotees worship the Goddess Lalita Tripura Sundari. Her name means "The Most Beautiful Lady of the Three Worlds." Each one represents three planes of reality. They are Bhu Loka (the physical plane), Bhuvar Loka (Antariksha or the Intermediate Space of Consciousness of the Prana), and Swar Loka (Svarga or Consciousness of the Divine Mind).
The goddess is a supreme deity. She is a power that transcends the five great forces in the universe. These include creation, maintenance, concealment, dissolution, and grace. In traditional iconography, her body is white and tinted with a red color. She has three red eyes and three lower garments. In her tantric form, she is all red. She holds several items that represent her powers.
Tripurasundari's tantric form of Sri/Lakshmi manifests through her mantra, the Sri Vidya. The symbol, the Sri Yantra, represents the universe, the goddess' body, and the embodiment of the feminine principle of energy (shakti).
The religious practices of the Sri Vidya tradition are:
Her devotees believe that consciousness is the cosmo's highest form.
The Sri Yantra represents the infinite power of the Goddess and her geometric form. Some followers place Sri Yantra pictures inside of their homes to improve luck and ward off negativity. Worshippers call the Sri Yantra the raja yantra, or "queen of yantras." The mystical diagram symbolizes the divine mother principle. It embodies the pure, universal source of creativity, power, and energy. Sri Yantra also exemplifies the unification of feminine and masculine divinity.
In sacred, Vedic geometry, the Sri Vidya's diagrammatic features have spiritual meanings. The yantra has nine intersecting triangles. They unite to form 43 smaller ones. Each triangle falls into five concentric levels that symbolize the non-duality of the cosmos (Advaita). A Bindu, or cosmic center, sits in the middle of the diagram.
Four, upward-pointing isosceles triangles represent passive male consciousness (Shiva). The five, downward-pointing ones symbolize dynamic female energy (Shakti). The Sri Yantra has triangles circumscribed into two concentric circles. Inside the shapes, there are two lotus flowers. One has 16 petals; the other has eight. Together, they represent the "lotus of creation" and the "reproductive vital force."
1. Meaning of the Three Squares - In Vedic sacred geometry, squares represent the earth. Two squares surround the icon. The outer one symbolizes disturbing emotions including anger, fear, and envy. Yogis meditate on the outer square to overcome those negative feelings. There is a T-square structure in the squares represent the gates to the four directions. These are the yantra's entryways.
2. The Symbolism of the Three Circles: The Sri Yantra's three circles represent time dimensions: the past, present, and future.
3. Meaning of the Sixteen Lotus Flower:In Hinduism, this sacred flower symbolizes purity, spiritual perfection, and auspiciousness. The lotus rises from the mud to blossom as a pure flower. It represents resurrection and divine birth. The first ring of the sixteen-petal lotus symbolizes the completion of desires, goals, and hopes. Its petals correspond to sensory organs that perceive and take action. They are the nose, skin, eyes, mouth, feet, hands, tongue, ears, arms, and reproductive organs. Five petals represent the earth, water, fire, air, and space elements. The mind is the final petal. It gathers and interprets information from the elements' interaction.
4. Meaning of the Eight-Petal Lotus:The Sri Yanka's eight-petal lotus corresponds to the human body's activities. They include speech, grasping, attraction, equanimity, repulsion, and excretion, enjoyment, and motion.
5. The Symbolism of the Interlocking Triangles: The lower, outer triangles have different meanings. Starting from the counterclockwise direction, they represent agitation, pursuit, attraction, delight, delusion, immobility, release, control, pleasure intoxication, accomplished desire, luxury, mantra, and dissolving of duality.
The next sequence starts from the bottom triangle and moves counterclockwise. Each triangle has a separate meaning as follows:
In the third circle, the ten small have specific meanings. Vedic scholars assign meaning (beginning at the lowermost triangle and continuing counterclockwise). The triangles represent omniscience, omnipotence, sovereignty, knowledge, eradication of disease, unconditional support, destruction of evil, protection, and attaining all desires.
The fourth circle of triangles (beginning in the same area and moving counterclockwise) symbolize sustaining, creation, dissolution, pleasure, pain, cold, heat, and the ability to choose an action.
The final shapes are five arrows that represent the senses. They have the following meanings.
Today's mathematicians wonder how ancient Vedic scholars created a complex object like the Sri Yantra without the use of modern-day math. The icon is difficult to reproduce without precise calculations. The geometric figure incorporates the Fibonacci series and the mathematical constants of Pi and Phi. It also uses the Golden Ratio in its design.
Ancient scholars knew mathematicians couldn't reproduce the icon without small imperfections. Today, computer programs create accurate renditions of the Sri Yantra symbol.
The Sri Yantra Research Center has three tips to select accurate iconography for your home.
All three of the largest triangles' points should touch the outer circle. Each triangle's upper point should touch the horizontal base of the lower ones.
Here is a Sri Yantra meditation that can help focus and quiet your mind.
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