Also referred to as the Sri Chakra, the Sri Yantra (Shree Yantra) symbol is known as the “mother of all yantras”. This is because all yantras are derived from the Sri Yantra. This yantra is thought to be a representative of Mount Meru, a mountain that is considered to be right in the center of the universe, and the Sri Yantra is considered to be where spiritual pilgrimage takes place. It represents our bodies at a microcosmic level (through the chakras), and the cosmos on a macrocosmic level.
The Sri Yantra: Meaning and Symbolism – What is the Sri Yantra?
The Sri Yantra is a symbol that is comprised of nine interlocking triangles with two circles of lotus petals enclosing them. The entire design is surrounded by a gated frame that is referred to as the “earth citadel”. The triangles are centered around the central point of the Sri Yantra, known as the bindu.
These triangles are drawn by superimposing five downward triangles (the female, or Shakti), and four upward triangles (the male, or Shiva). These nine triangles create three smaller triangles, each of which being the house of a particular deity.
This sacred pattern is what the sages of the Siddha Yoga and their disciples use to discover the secrets of our universe, and have done so for a thousand or more years according to the belief. In fact, the Advait Vedanta sages propose that the Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra is the key to understanding the principles of creation and destruction, and everything in between.
It is difficult to just try and explain the Sri Yantra, as one has to truly experience it to fully understand its power. Most people who study this pattern are involved with Siddha yogis, the Sri Vidya School of Tantra, or followers of the Supreme Goddess, Aadi Shakti, in her form of Shri Lalita (also known as Tripura Sundari).
Studying the Sri Yantra helps followers to visualize existence in its totality, and those who are adept with the Sri Yantra use its symbols to understand their own place within the universe. The ultimate goal of studying the Sri Yantra is to rediscover one’s roots, and that means more than just their ancestry.
The Triangles of Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra
The nine triangles of the Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra are interlaced to form a total of 43 smaller triangles, each one being a step along the path to connecting with the universe, and to the Goddess.
Each triangle is represented by a deity, which are described in the Devi Khadgamala mantra. It is also known as the nav chakra, because the nine levels correspond to a mudra, a yogini, and the deity, using the following levels:
- Bhupar – A square consisting of three lines with four portals
- Sarva Aasa Paripurak – A 16-petal lotus flower
- Sarva Sankshobahan – An 8-petal lotus flower
- Sarva Saubhagyadayak – A pattern of 14 small triangles
- Sarva Arthasadhak – A pattern of 10 small triangles
- Sarva Rakshakar – A pattern of 10 small triangles
- Sarva Rogahar – A pattern of eight small triangles
- Sarva Sisshiprada – One small triangle
- Sarva Anandamay – One point, or bindu
How Old is the Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra Symbol?
There is evidence of the Sri Yantra dating back to the seventh century C.E., found in an Indonesian inscription. But, it is thought that it goes back even further, to its origin country, India, and that it was used long before this Indonesian inscription was created.
The Sri Yantra is considered a timeline of man’s spiritual journey, from basic existence to total enlightenment, and this journey is taken in steps until one reaches the center, taking man beyond his limitations. Each step of this journey relates to a circuit of the Sri Yantra, with the ultimate goal being the bindu.
The Mathematical Mystery of the Sri Yantra
Even today, mathematicians are unable to understand the mathematical complexity of the Sri Yantra. They cannot figure out how the ancients were able to create such a pattern without having the benefits of modern mathematics.
The Sri Yantra symbol is based on Pi (Phi, the golden ratio, or Fibonacci series), and it is a pattern that has been known to sages for more than a thousand years, yet still confuses mathematicians. It can be made by a computer easily, but for a person to create something of this magnitude, it would take decades to figure it out. This is why mathematicians are baffled as to why the ancients were able to figure it out, and often explain it as being very good at using their imaginations.
The Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra as the Representation of the Universe and the Body
It is interesting to note that not only does the Sri Yantra represent the universe as a whole, it also represents the human body.
Each part of the Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra relates to a chakra in the body, and it also the universe. It helps us to understand how we are connected to the universe, and helps us to ultimately unite with the universe through that understanding.
For a yogi, the steps of the Sri Yantra are a spiritual journey, or pilgrimage. With each step, the yogi moves from the base to the center until they reach the ultimate goal of becoming one with the universe, merging with the supreme consciousness.
Religious Practices Regarding Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra
Many believe that the Sri Yantra represents the power of the Goddess, and that it is actually the Goddess herself, in geometric form. This is another reason why it is believed to hold so much power for those who follow the goddess. They are not only meditating to connect with the universe, but also with the Goddess. It is used in three forms: a two-dimensional form, as well as two three-dimensional forms.
Near Bangalore, there is the Sringeri Temple, which is known to have what is considered to be the ideal and perfect Sri Yantra, as close to perfection as it can get. This is the site of the very first center of religious studies, which was instituted by Adi Shankaracharya. This is a three-dimensional Sri Yantra/Sri Chakra/Shree Yantra.
Other people meditate to a two-dimensional poster, known as a Meru, which is thought to remove negative vibes and influence good luck. Still others meditate further to commune directly with the Goddess and with the universe.
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