Mandala: meaning and origins

- Categories : Sacred geometry

Today I decided to dust off and complete one of my first articles on the blog, 3 years ago.

So, let's go for a series of articles about Mandalas!

Mandala: definition

The term "Mandala" has its origins in Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions. It is derived from Sanskrit and literally means "circle" and "center".

The Mandala is the sacred representation of the universe and the cosmos. Through the intertwining of lines and curves, this form illustrates the themes of repetition, perpetual movement and eternal renewal. The drawing of a Mandala brings into play geometric figures (circles, squares, triangles) and, depending on the culture, sacred symbols.

The origin of the circle and its ritual and sacred use goes back to the dawn of time. The existence of the "circle" goes back to the origin of the world. Practically everything around us is circular, is Mandala....

All geometric and symbolic figures have the circle as their origin. Thus, the Mandala of energy is a magic diagram representing the power of the Whole. This power is linked to the knowledge of the constant exchanges that take place between the center and the periphery.

Nature expresses the beauty and harmony of the Creator through circles, cyclical movements and rhythms: the seeds of an apple around its center, the rings of growth in a tree trunk, the spider's web, the bird's nest, the crystals of a snowflake, the concentric waves created by a drop of water falling into a puddle, the tornadoes, the petals of a flower, the eyes, the shells, the fetus .... It is his way of celebrating life and spirit and of revealing its presence to those who want to penetrate its mysteries by accepting to go to the heart of things and of being. It is an initiatory path that requires a transformation of oneself.

Faced with this expression of the essence of life, man has always felt the need to include the circle in his creations, his rituals, his religious practices.

Mandala: symbol of life

In all cultures, the circle and the spiral have been associated with the cosmic order, the eternal movement of life. All the cycles of existence have always been represented in circles, which have always been part of the spiritual manifestations of indigenous cultures around the world.

Whether it is the Celtic cross or the Native American medicine wheel, for example, these symbols have always been associated with sacred cults, representations of the universe, the stars, etc.

It is said that the first Mandala of the origins is the Bing Bang. A center from which emanated the universe in which our history is inscribed. The center is a primordial element of all creation and of all representation of manifested life.

Everywhere the circle reminds us of the existence of a center, of a source from which the impulse of life is given. A circle or a spiral can only be defined in relation to its center, the starting point of the manifestation.

The center is no longer a simple point, it is the Great Spirit, God, who through his creative Word gives the impulse to organize space and matter in a precise order. From the center, which is the unmanifested Whole, the Word in the infinitive, the creation of the universes, the visible manifestation of God in the organization of worlds and matter, is then combined. Universal Wisdom also names the center "the divine Father" and its manifestation "the divine Mother".

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov explained this definition of God: "A sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere Only the center point exists because it is the one that enlivens the whole universe around it.

These words to ponder shed a deep light on how far the symbolism of the Mandalas can lead us, and this is precisely why the initiates of all cultures have always given great importance to the symbol of the circle and its center.

They are the form and symbol that unites all peoples and all traditions. All cultures agree that this representation contains within itself the sacred dimension of life, and from it were born most of the symbols, rituals and sacred writings of all traditions.

The circle appears very early in human history, in Egyptian mythology, among the Amerindians in their orientation model and their sacred medicine wheel, the Mayan calendar, the zodiac, in religious rituals, whirling dervishes, Tibetan mandalas, the labyrinths of cathedrals as well as the rosettes...

This symbol of the circle and therefore of the mandala is found in all religions, cultures and traditions, both Western and Eastern. The circle is the symbol of life: birth, maturity, death and resurrection or rebirth.

Mandalas: a link between the visible and the invisible

Mandalas are a link between the visible and invisible worlds, a form ofenergy that we can perceive, which belongs to the realm of concepts, but which has the power to unite us with the higher world of unity and magic.

They are a link between the everyday world full of prejudices, illusions, joys and sorrows that we think we know and the vast, infinite, universal realm of life that sustains all universes and nourishes them.

This is why they have been considered since the highest antiquity as endowed with formidable magical powers. They embody in themselves the essence of all magical powers; they are magic. They can balance all life by bringing out the hidden wisdom in everything. There is no traditional people who have not known and practiced the magical science of Mandalas

What differentiated and still differentiates a man who follows the path of the traditions from a modern man, is the notion of being connected to the Whole and thus being subject to the same laws as those of the Universe, contrary to the modern man who only evolves in the context of the laws of the world of man, to the detriment of those of Nature

Also, in traditional cultures, the human being considered his own inner center as the source of his own manifestations, hence thecapital importance of observing and understanding Nature in order to understand himself and respect all life.

The meaning of Mandalas according to people and cultures

The circle explains the world and its contents, but more than that, it expresses the experience of the sacred.

Its layout on the ground invites the Gods to join the participants.

Ritual dances or invocations evolve at the periphery, provoking celestial energies to attract them into the inner space that materializes their dwelling. We find in all the ancient civilizations the trace of the Mandala. Each people, tribe or community used the circle to describe the uncreated universe of the cosmos, with a cross inside, illustrating the myth of creation.

People have discovered this science, this art, in an instinctive way simply because the vibratory Mandala is an integral part of life and is one of the most powerful means to channel it, to increase it, to ennoble it.

Seeing the magical wall paintings in prehistoric caves or contemplating the runes of the Nordic traditions, the yi-king of the Chinese, the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Hindu yantras, the Tibetan Mandalas, the aboriginal drawings of Australia and Africa the totems of the Amerindians, the talismans and pentacles of the Western magical tradition or the rosettes of the churches, we dive into the roots of geometry, writing, music, painting, sculpture and art, science and religion in all its forms.

Everything called "culture" was born out of magic and the desire to protect oneself andincrease luck in and around oneself.

The first temples of mankind were elaborated from a sacred geometry.

There is geometry in nature and a simple flower, a tree, a snowflake reveals it to us. This geometry naturally has a close relationship with the flow of energy. The yogic tradition calls " chakras " the wheels of energy that run through the human body to nourish the soul and the higher consciousness.

Such chakras exist not only in the bodies of humans, but also in those of animals, plants and minerals. A large part of Chinese medicine is based on the knowledge of the circulation of this vital energy in man and in nature.

In this chapter, we invite you to travel through the symbolism of the "Mandala" through different cultures.

Mandalas in Buddhism

They are works of art of great complexity. The meditator projects himself into the Mandala with which he merges. Every detail of the Mandala has a meaning and it is necessary to undertake long studies with qualified masters to know the meanings.

This intellectual approach is necessary but direct meditative experience takes precedence over intellectual knowledge. Mandalas are painted but also made with colored sand during elaborate rituals. These Mandalas are then destroyed to symbolize the impermanence or relative transience of compound phenomena. This also helps to combat attachment. This is the same reason why the artists of these sacred works never sign them.

Most Tibetan Mandalas are round and represent a palace or temple, a square fortress with four doors, each one linked to a cardinal point, an element and a color. Whether in Buddhism or Hinduism, each Mandala is dedicated to a major deity who resides in its central point.

The Mandala sphere begins with three successive circles. The first represents a circle of flames that will consume the demons and imperfections of the meditator; the second represents vajras signifying the indestructible nature of a diamond being that the adept becomes by practicing the ritual; the third is a circle of lotus petals bringing deep purification of the soul.

The Mandala meditation itself consists of a very vivid and detailed visualization of a deity represented at the center and its associated secondary deities, called its assembly, with the prescribed postures, gestures and symbolic objects. The practitioner usually follows a liturgy, repeats the mantras and performs the mudrās (gestures), all of which allow him or her to embody the heart and enlightened qualities of the yidam, i.e., a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or the master who initiated him or her, as well as to integrate the perspective of emptiness.

The goal of this practice is to see in everything the pure earth of the Buddha and in the deity or guru, the manifestation of one's own innate wisdom.

The anatomy of the subtle or etheric body is called the "Inner Mandala", allowing the mastery of the breaths, the channels (nadis) and the famous centers of consciousness, or energy wheels called chakras.

Mandalas in Hinduism

The Mandala is not only a structure, it is the place of invocation of the divinity. It is therefore the tool of many daily rituals in its yantra form.

Yantra means "support". They are mystical diagrams with geometric shapes where squares and triangles are often intermingled.

One of the meanings of the word is this: geometric figure drawn materially or mentally to tame the mind and master the cosmic forces.

The Shri Yantra is one of the most famous. It is a meditation diagram made up of nine triangles nested around a central point. The 4 triangles pointing upwards illustrate Shiva with his rising energy. The 5 triangles pointing down reflect Shakti (power, energy in action) with her energy descending. In Hindu philosophy, every god has a female counterpart, a goddess who represents Shakti, the dynamic expression of all that the god contains in her impassivity.

It is a pair of opposites (similar to the Taoist concept of yin-yang united in the center point, or the concept of the Divine Father and Divine Mother of the Essene Tradition, for example).

The nine triangles are intertwined and form 43 small triangles in a network that symbolizes the entire cosmos or a matrix of creation. Together they express non-duality. When we go outside, we see that the triangles are surrounded by a lotus flower of eight petals, then another one of sixteen petals, and a square symbolizing the Earth and looking like a square temple with four doors.

As a meditation aid, it should lead the practitioner to an acute sense of detachment from all contingencies and the veil of mâyâ (world of illusions).

I invite you to read my article dedicated to the Sri Yantra.

Mandalas in Native American Culture

The medicine wheel is a sacred circle that encompasses everything in the world. Native Americans used the symbolism of the circle in all aspects of their daily lives.

The life of the Amerindian was from morning to night inscribed in a living Mandala. The organization of the habitat space was related to the great archetypes of the wheel; their councils sitting in a circle where every place had the same value and where each one expressed his voice as the other; the dances around the fire mimicking the wheel of life or the beating of round drums representing their heart and that of the mother; the purification ceremonies in the round structure of the sweat lodges, etc.

The circle was and still is for them the most powerful symbol of their philosophy.

The wheel is based on the number four: the four directions, the four elements, the four seasons. But more than that, it is not only considered in a two-dimensional representation but thought in its relation to the directions of the top and bottom, the Father and the Mother. Some very complex wheels contain within them the entire representation of the Cosmogony.

In their tradition, the Dineh (Navajo) Amerindians create paintings of sand and natural pigments also called Mandalas.

These paintings originated in traditional healing ceremonies in which themedicine man creates a sand painting on the floor of a hogan (traditional circular house) and then places the patient in the center of it. The intention of these paintings is to allow the patient to be invested with the powers of the mythical beings present in the painting and to heal them.

To help the healing process, the sand from the paint is rubbed onto certain parts of the patient's body. When the ceremony is over, the destruction of the paint also destroys the disease.

Mandalas and Christianity

A rosette is a symmetrical figure, formed of curves inscribed in a circle from a point or central button, having more or less the shape of a rose or a stylized star.

Widely used in thearchitecture of churches, but also mosques, steles in ancient Egypt, synagogues, for example, its symbolism is traditionally carrying the mystery of life, death, love and eternity.

The rose window is a solar symbol which emits very powerful cosmic vibrations in the cathedrals. There too we find in these magnificent works a center whose pattern will define the whole rose window and its meaning.

To go further, I invite you to read my article on sacred geometry in cathedrals.

Mandalas today

Today we are fortunate and privileged to offer you highly vibratory Mandalas.

Our Mandalas are part of a thousand year old tradition which originates from all the traditions of the peoples and they have the vocation to unite all the peoples and all the traditions. They are based on ancestral knowledge, but have been conceived in the present, so as to be adapted to our modern times and its difficulties.

Nowhere else will you find so many models of vibratory Mandalas and especially such energetic symbols.

We arrive at the end of this article. I hope you liked it

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