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Yantra Painting
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Working with Emotions

Yantra painting is a sacred art, based on the tantric concepts of the Vedas, ancient scriptures of knowledge and wisdom of India.

Click for a larger image of this yantra class photograph
Debbie Gillingham

Tantra fosters awareness of the divine and enhances ones sadhana and spiritual practice to produce more self knowledge. When ones has self knowledge ones is able to communicate more effectively, completely and harmoniously through love, trust, skill and step into the circle of truth by honoring and understanding ones emotional make up.

A yantra is a powerful meditation tool, especially if constructed and painted in the traditional method of chanting sacred mantras while painting, that purify the mind and allow the heart to be in its fullest, clearest and highest expression.

Yantras are a symbolic representation of the various deities that govern the health and balance of each chakra. They are used for ritual worship and to overcome specific emotional patterns and limiting constrictions. Yantras are visual patterns and are expressions of primal mathematical relationships involved in the structure, creation and dissolution of the universe. They are gateways to a mythical world and have a direct and immediate effect on the emotions and the holographic vibrations that govern our existence, individual perceptions and worldview.

A deeply meditative experience yantra painting produces lasting and positive results re-aligning the psychological profile of the individual personality.

A yantra, geometric mandala, is a holistic symbol for the universal cosmology according to the ancient Hindu tradition. The mandalas are attributed to different planets and deities and used for worship, healing and meditation. They are present in millions of households and most Hindu temples, especially in southern India. Painting and constructing them is based on a tantric concept of uniting the male/female principle and thereby bringing a more harmonious and androgynous state of consciousness into being. Each part of the yantra has profound significance and although pretty to look at, it is actually not so simple to paint. The geometry has its relationship in the energetics of the chakras, the subtle energy centers that govern our evolution and in painting reveal an insightful energetic process in the painter. There are astrological and numerical yantras, architectural yantras and the yantras of the entire celestial pantheon of the Hindu mythology.

The act of drawing and painting yantras teaches the mind to concentrate and observe the emotional process while doing so. Focus and vigilant attention are needed as, if one makes a mistake, it will show toward the center of the yantra as all is done with precision and reveals the interconnectedness of everything. Psychologists have observed that painting mandalas and geometric forms engages the right hemisphere of the brain which is visual and nonverbal. Yantra painting creates inner silence and fosters self awareness as initially most people deal with some emotional blocks, impatience or miscalculate the dimensions. With diligence eventually a beautiful yantra emerges that will have a significant centering effect on the painter and may free up some emotional tension.

Mandalas represent the cosmos and, yantras in specific, since they are focused around a central point have a clearing effect on the retinal and geniculate cells thereby creating an inner harmony. Symmetrical geometric patterns seem to eventually produce a similar effect on both sides of the brains hemisphere and create a centered state when a yantra is used with the recitation of a specific mantra or beeja sound. This is a particularly useful exercise as it has been observed that westerners are more left hemisphere oriented and are deficient in right hemisphere education which has diminished our intuitive capacities, and with it the faith in higher values. In that sense yantra painting is a sacred activity.

During the painting process the attitude and the consciousness of the student become self evident to the painter as the focus, commitment and the application of the tools and flow, and later on the right mixing of the paint to represent and honor the tradition, reveal all aspects of ones life. The emotional blocks, the nature of the three Gunas ~ rajas, tatvas and sattvas ~ become apparent and often floods of anger, impatience, frustration or great sadness and hopelessness are experienced in the mind stream of the student. This is parallel to how one approaches one's life and reveals the devotion, or lack thereof, to divine guidance. One's self-judgment, the tendency to chatter or turn superficial, rather than commit to the task at hand, also become obvious. One's competitive nature and the ongoing and often subtle, or not so subtle, expressions of the ego appear. One looses the thread, the connection, the alignment. It takes great concentration, spaciousness and compassionate skill to paint a yantra and imbue it with sacred mantras to allow it to become a tool of protection and an outpouring of one's heart energy. Yantra painting cannot be mastered with the intellect or mechanical "Know How" ~ even if one is an accomplished painter.

Most of it, except for the instructional parts offered by the facilitator, is done in silence and attention to the individual, profound self-transformative experience. Generally, a yantra is composed of a square on the outside, with four projections forming a T-shaped structure and four entrance gates into the inner circle of petals, which represent the heart, and some triangulate forms inside the lotus petals. Sometimes there are two triangles overlapping forming a six pointed star.

The main focus is on the inner central point or dot. It is said in the Upanishads: "GOD, being the immovable mover, is the still point around which everything revolves". Completed yantras have an archetypal quality and every student will get to paint and complete one yantra during the weekend which will be enjoyable and meaningful in their own journey as a reference to planetary yoga and the healing within producing healing without, visualizing world peace.

Learn more about Yantra Painting Workshops

     
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
       
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