The Meaning of the Sri Yantra Chakra

sri yantra mandala

The Sri Yantra, also known as the Shri Chakra or the Cosmic Yantra, is an ancient, mystical diagram that has captivated the minds of spiritual seekers for centuries. This enigmatic symbol, consisting of nine interlocking triangles, is believed to represent the universe’s energetic essence and holds a profound spiritual significance in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern traditions.

What is the Sri Yantra?

The mystical Sri Yantra is an ancient diagram (yantra) which is often used in the Shri Vidya school of Hinduism (a tantric tradition of the Shaktas).

Some people may consider it a form of mandala. The image itself consists of nine interlocking triangles which form at a central point, referred to as a bindu.

It is often thought that these nine interlocking triangles represent the cosmos and the human body.

All other yantras are derived from the Sri Yantra.

Names for the Sri Yantra, in various forms, are:

  • Sri Yantra
  • Shri Yantra
  • Shi Chakra
  • Navayoni Chakra
  • Maha Meru

The History of Shri Vidya

The Shri Vidya (the tradition which the Sri Yantra originates from) dates back to either the 10th or 11th century. It’s creation was heavily influenced by the non-dualistic traditions of Kashmir Shaivism, through the traditions of Advaita Vedantin. This tradition still has a loyal following in South India.

The Shri Vidya itself developed from the texts of the Shrikula. The Yoginihrdaya, a document dating back to the 11th century, is of particular importance.The Shri Vidya has aligned itself with the brahmanical orthopraxy.

The Geometry of the Sri Yantra

At the heart of the Sri Yantra lies a complex and intricate geometric pattern.

This sacred diagram is formed by nine interlocking triangles, with four pointing upward (representing the masculine principle or Shiva) and five pointing downward (symbolizing the feminine principle or Shakti). These triangles are encircled by two concentric rings of lotus petals, with the outer ring having 16 petals and the inner one having eight petals. Surrounding these rings is a square enclosure known as the bhupura, which represents the earth and the physical plane.

Sri Yantra Symbology

The Union of Shiva and Shakti

The interlocking triangles of the Sri Yantra symbolize the cosmic union of the masculine and feminine principles. This union represents the merging of the individual consciousness (Shiva) with the universal consciousness (Shakti). The upward and downward triangles also signify the balance of positive and negative energies.

The Nine Chakras

The nine interlocking triangles of the Sri Yantra correspond to the nine chakras, or energy centers, within the human body. These chakras are considered vital for maintaining physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

The 43 Triangles and the Creation of the Universe

The nine primary triangles in the Sri Yantra give rise to a total of 43 smaller triangles, each representing a specific aspect of the cosmos. These triangles symbolize the unfolding of the universe from its unmanifest state (Bindu, or the central point) to its manifest form.

The central point, known as the bindu, is considered the junction, where the two worlds collide. Four of the triangles, which point towards the sky, are believed to be symbols for Shiva (masculine, while the five triangles pointing downwards are thought to be symbolic of Shakti (feminine).

The Purpose of Yantras

Yantras are used for meditation and religious practice. They create a focal point upon which one may meditate, similar to watching the breath (anapanasati), or burning a fragrant incense stick.

If using a Sri Yantra in your home, the Vedics recommend you face it to the east.

Yantra is an instrument designed to curb the psychic powers by concentrating them on pattern, and in such a way that this pattern becomes reproduced by the worshiper’s visualizing powers. – Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization

Featured Image Credit: Ranjithsiji, Wikimedia

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