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Sacred Circles The Magic Of Mandalas
In feng shui, the CIRCLE signifies the essence of heaven Chi, a
shape that is powerful and mysterious, creating a synergy with the
vibrating energy of earth and mankind to attract good fortune. Hence
the round coin is so auspicious and at a deeper level also revered.
The circle naturally resonates with mankind’s sense of sacredness
and wholeness. This is because it is a perfectly balanced shape. It is
whole, complete and perfect in every sense.
But the circle becomes more potent when taken to deeper pictorial
levels. In this issue, we investigate the visual brilliance of circles
as depicted in the magical Mandalas of the Hindus and the Tibetan
are stunning pictorial representations of the Universe. They are
believed to awaken the inner spirituality that lies latent in all of
mankind. Gazing at a Mandala image is said to awaken the inner eye,
thereby causing the best of ourselves to manifest, take seed and
It activates the creativity within us and so causes us to “see”
everything with wider, brighter eyes. This allows all things that
surround us to take on more positive and colorful hues. Mandalas
thus said to be excellent aids to powerful meditative techniques. It is
no wonder then that they feature so prominently in many of the sacred
rituals and beliefs of the Hindus and Buddhists.
This needs to be mentioned because the inspiration that motivates
this investigation of Mandalas is its promise as a meditative tool. It
is said that working with and viewing Mandala images enables one to
become centered, facilitating the raising of one’s inner consciousness.
This is said to greatly expand one’s sense awareness.
The potency of Mandala meditation can really only be learnt
directly, and through verbal transmissions given by qualified yogic
masters. Yogic masters are usually regarded as holy men who reside in
humble circumstances in mountain caves and remote places. Some say that
one needs to have the karma to be able to meet such special beings.
In recent years, however, with increasing attention being placed on
the esoteric philosophies and practices of the East, especially by
adventurous Westerners, a great deal of hitherto secret knowledge about
Mandalas has now become available.
Today, Mandalas have become universal symbols and can be found all
over the world. Many of the world’s influential museums have special
rooms devoted to Mandala images.
As an art form and as aid to meditative practices, they are
particularly prevalent in Indian and Tibetan cultures. If you travel
around the Indian sub-continent, you will find Mandalas everywhere
represented in the sacred art of the temples and their architecture,
and also in art, design, crafts and all kinds of creative expression.
Mandalas are very prevalent in India. If you visit remote regions
you can see villagers drawing chalk mandalas in front of their gates in
the early hours of the morning, while Mandalas of a more permanent
nature can be found in temple and palace architecture. Mandalas signify
unity and thus play a big part in Indian spiritual tradition.
But the Indian Mandalas look different from the Mandalas of the
Tibetan spiritual traditions. Tibetan Mandalas are closely associated
with the Buddha Dharma, the Buddhist spiritual tradition of this land
of snows. With the huge popularity of the Dalai Lama in the West,
interest in Buddhism has been growing by leaps and bounds, and it is
interesting that this should have happened exactly as predicted by an
old Tibetan prophecy, which has been attributed to the 8th century
Lotus Buddha known and loved by the Tibetan Buddhists as Guru
Padmasambhava. The prophecy says:
“ When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheel, the Tibetan
people will be scattered like ants across the world and the Dharma will
come to the land of the Red Man.”
The iron bird is assumed to be the aeroplane, and horses on wheels
are cars. It is noteworthy that the popularization of these methods of
transportation coincided with many Tibetan Lamas traveling and settling
down in the West to escape from the Chinese, bringing with them
precious secrets of their philosophy and related practices, and
teaching these to the world.
This development exists in the wider context of a sudden increase
in interest in mystical and related subjects starting in the ‘60’s and
70’s, and gaining increasing momentum in the 80’s and 90’s and into the
new millennium. The world seems to be opening up to new knowledge that
engages the inner senses and the more subtle dimensions of existence.
Coincidentally, matters pertaining to Mind, Body and Spirit, once
only of peripheral interest to people, have now become mainstream and
enjoys increasing popularity and interest. Feng shui, for example, has
also become mainstream and popular.
Flower Mandalas In Nature
Mandalas can be found in nature all round us and especially in perfectly-formed flowers and in the crowns of plants and trees.
Look at rose blooms, petunias and other circular blooms. If you
meditate on some of these perfectly-formed flowers, you might be able
to transcend the flower itself and see the invisible sacred circles
within the flower. It is the same with some of the images of sacred
Mandalas - when you gaze intently into these visuals, the circles that
whirl round and round in different colors in the image seem to take us
on a journey into the inner essence of the soul. Try taking a
step-by-step approach, focusing successively on each petal, or each
ring, before finally reaching the center.
Indian spiritual traditions also have geometrical drawn circles known
as Vedic Yantras and these are images that look very similar to
Mandalas, except they also include geometric straight lines, squares,
crosses or triangles. The finished images are believed to be graphic
representations of Mantras and they closely resemble Mandala images.
Vedic Yantras are usually worn on the body (or carried in handbags) and
thus are drawn, engraved or painted on a variety of substances. Those
made of gold or silver are believed to be powerful protective amulets.
Vedic Yantras are designed to remove afflictions that cause bad
luck and illness, and are usually recommended by Vaastu and Vedic
experts after reading one’s life chart. According to them, these
Yantras represent powerful cosmic energies that have the ability to
ward off unlucky vibrations.
Special Vedic Yantras can also be designed to obtain a specific
desired result. e.g. for a couple to get a child, for those having cash
flow problems to have a positive balance in the bank, and so forth.
Vedic Yantras are usually inscribed with mystical inscriptions of
beneficial planets to suit individual wearers. Circles, triangles and
squares are widely incorporated into these protective Yantras.