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.” The word “Sri” means “prosperity,” “auspiciousness” and “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:
- Triangle One: The giver of all accomplishment
- Triangle Two: The giver of wealth
- Triangle Three: The energy of all activities that please everyone
- Triangle Four: The bringer of blessings
- Triangle Five: The granter of desires
- Triangle Six: The removal of suffering.
- Triangle Seven: The appeaser of death
- Triangle Eight: The overcomer of obstacles
- Triangle Nine: The bring of beauty
- Triangle Ten: The giver of all good fortune
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.
- Triangle One: A bow represents the mind
- Triangle Two: A noose represents attachment
- Triangle Three: A stick represents aversion
- Triangle Four: The central triangle is the giver of all perfection
- Triangle Five: At the center, a Bindu representing pure consciousness and the original state of being.
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.