Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra
Icons and symbols in Hinduism have in depth meaning and power
Sri Chakra, popularly mistaken to be a symbol of Lakshmi, is actually a representation of Lalita Mahatripurasundari, an aspect of Parvati
Devi. Shri does not mean Wealth in this context. The term ‘Shri’ is used to denote the reverence to be given to this holy Yantra.
The prefix ‘Shri’ denotes that the Yantra is auspicious, beneficent, salutary, benign and conducive to prosperity.
The Shri Chakra is often referred as the Chakra Raja which means King of all Chakra which makes it a supreme instrument in the path of spiritual advancement.
What is Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra ?
The Sri Yantra (“sacred instrument”) or Sri Chakra (“sacred wheel”) is a yantra formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point, the junction point between the physical universe and its unmanifest source.
What Does it represent?
It represents the goddess in her form of Shri Lalitha Or Tripura Sundari, “the beauty of the three worlds (Heaven, Earth, Hell)”.
Which Gods are associated with it?
The worship of the Sri Chakra is central to the Shri Vidya system of Hindu worship.
Four isosceles triangles with the apices upwards, representing Shiva or the Masculine. Five isosceles triangles with the apices downward,representing Shakti or Female .
Nine Triangles association it is also called Navayoni Chakra
Thus the Sri Yantra also represents the union of Masculine and Feminine Divine.
“These nine triangles are of various sizes and intersect with one another. In the middle is the power point (bindu), visualizing the highest, the invisible, elusive centre from which the entire figure and the cosmos expand.
The triangles are enclosed by two rows of (8 and 16) petals, representing the lotus of creation and reproductive vital force. The broken lines of the outer frame denote the figure to be a sanctuary with four openings to the regions of the universe”.
the nine triangles are interlaced in such a way as to form 43 smaller triangles in a web symbolic of the entire cosmos or a womb symbolic of creation.
Together they express Advaita or non-duality.
This is surrounded by a lotus of eight petals, a lotus of sixteen petals, and an earth square resembling a temple with four doors.
The various deities residing in the nine layers of the Sri Yantra are described in the DeviKhadgamala Mantra.
The Shri Chakra is also known as the nav chakra because it can also be seen as having nine levels. “Nine” comes from “Nau or Nava” ofSanskrit.
Each level corresponds to a mudra, a yogini, and a specific form of the deity Tripura Sundari along with her mantra. These levels starting from the outside or bottom layer are:
Trailokya Mohan or Bhupar, a square of three lines with four portals
Sarva Aasa Paripurak, a sixteen-petal lotus
Sarva Sankshobahan, an eight-petal lotus
Sarva Saubhagyadayak, composed of fourteen small triangles
Sara Arthasadhak, composed of ten small triangles
Sarva Rakshakar, composed of ten small triangles
Sarva Rogahar, composed of eight small triangles
Sarva Siddhiprada, composed of 1 small triangle
Sarva Anandamay, composed of a point or bindu
The Sri Yantra in diagrammatic form, showing how its nine interlocking triangles form a total of 43 smaller triangles.
Sri Chakra installed in temples in India
Kamakshi temple, Jonnawada, Nellore installed by Adi Shankaracharya
Shree Kali Temple, Out side Sanganeri Gate, MotiDunri Road, Jaipur
Nimishamba temple, SriRangapatana, Mysore District.
Prasanna Meenakshi Temple, Shivanasamudra, Malavalli Tk, Mandya Dist,Karnataka.
Kollur Mookambike Temple, Udupi dist, Karnataka installed by Adi Shankaracharya
Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal, At the roof of Ganga Mai temple (This temple is carved in shape of meru shri yantra)
Matrubhuteshwar Temple, Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai installed by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
At Kamakhya Temple, Guwhati, Assam (This mandir itself in the shape of shree yantra)
Puthenkavil Devi Temple, Cherumukha, Nooranad, Alapphuzha, Kerala
Sri Thyagarajaswamy udanurai Vadivudai amman temple Thyagaraja Temple, Tiruvottiyur, – Installed by Adi shankara
Advanced Reading on Sri Yantra and Sri Chakra
Lalita Tripurasundari, the Red Goddess
Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of manifestation. She, the pile of letters of the alphabet, gave birth to the three worlds. At dissolution, She is the abode of all tattvas, still remaining Herself –Vamakeshvaratantra
What is Shri Vidya and what relationship does it have to the goddess Lalita and to her yantra, the Shri Yantra? Vidya means knowledge, specifically female knowledge, or the goddess, and in this context relates to her aspect called Shri, Lalita or Tripurasundari whose magical diagram is called the Shri Yantra. She is a red flower, so her diagram is a flower too.
The tantrik tradition views its symbols as having a gross aspect, a subtle aspect, and a supreme aspect. In terms of Lalita, the gross form is the image of the goddess with her four arms and so forth, the subtle form is as yantra, and the supreme form is her mantra, all three being the goddess in different aspects. Behind the sometimes colourful symbolism is deep wisdom coupled with practical methods for realising oneself.
Lalita loves puja. This term is usually translated as worship. However, this is misleading, as it introduces a duality into a process intended to bring the practitioner (sadhaka or sadhvika) to a non-dual position. There can be various pujas including daily rites, those performed at the four twilights, rites done for specific objects, optional rites done on festival days, or on otherwise auspicious days such as lunar eclipses or the entrance of the sun into a sidereal constellation, rites in assemblies or groups, and rites accomplished with a partner. Subhagodaya, on this site, is a translation which gives the full puja of Tripurasundari or Lalita.
Lalita means She Who Plays. All creation, manifestation and dissolution is considered to be a play of Devi or the goddess. Mahatripurasundari is her name as transcendent beauty of the three cities, a description of the goddess as conqueror of the three cities of the demons, or as the triple city (Tripura), but really a metaphor for a human being.
What then is a yantra? The word is usually translated as a machine, but in the special sense of the tantrik tradition refers to the Devi in her linear or geometrical form. Yantras, by the way, are always used flat. They may be two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Every aspect of Devi has her own mantra and yantra. The yantra of Devi Lalita is Shri Yantra. The divinity of the yantra always occupies the centre or apex.
The different parts or petals and lines of the yantra are usually arranged in concentric circles (mandalas) and contain rays or sub-limbs of devi. The Shri Yantra has nine of these mandals, each filled with various aspects of the Devi. In Shri Yantra there are 111 aspects. The Shri Yantra is said to be a geometric form of the human body, which implies that goddess as Macrocosm is one with human being as Microcosm.
Formation of the Shri Yantra
The creation of the Shri Yantra is described in theYogini Hridaya (Heart of the Yogini Tantra), which still does not exist in an English translation, as far as we are aware. This is said to be the second part of the Vamakeshvara Tantra.
“From the fivefold Shakti comes creation and from the fourfold Fire dissolution. The sexual union of five Shaktis and four Fires causes the chakra to evolve. O Sinless One! I speak to you of the origin of the chakra.
“When she, the ultimate Shakti, of her own will (svecchaya) assumed the form of the universe, then the creation of the chakra revealed itself as a pulsating essence. From the void-like vowels with the visarga (:) emerged the bindu, quivering and fully conscious. From this pulsating stream of supreme light emanated the ocean of the cosmos, the very self of the three mothers.
“The baindava of the chakra has a triple form, dharma, adharma and atma, and matri, meya and prama. The chakra of nine yonis is the great mass of consciousness bliss and is the ninefold chakra and the nine divisions of the mantra.
“The baindava is placed on a dense flowery mass and is the Chitkala. Similarly, the ambika form of eight lines is the circle of the vowels. The nine triangles quiver forth the effulgent form of 10 lines. The Shakti, together with her surrounding nine blossomed forth the 10 trikonas. The second quivering form of 10 lines has Krodhisha as first of the 10. These four chakras, of the nature of light, create the 14-fold form, the essence of perception.” — Yogini Hridaya, I 6-16.
At the very heart of the bindu or centre of the Shri Yantra is that which caused it to emanate. This is Kamakala, consisting of the three bindus or potentials. One is red, one is white, and one is mixed. The red bindu is ova, the white bindu semen, and the mixed bindu the union of Shiva-Shakti, the individual as potential Shri Cakra.
Father and Mother are represented in Shri Vidya by two limbs or aspects of Lalita known as Varahi and Kurukulla. The semen of Varahi, the father-form, gives four alchemical dhatus to the child. The ova of Kurukulla, the mother-form, gives five dhatns to the child. Consciousness enters via orgasm. The three bindus, collectively known as Kamakala (digit of sexual desire), are the root potential of sun, moon and fire. It is like sun and moon coming together in an eclipse, or the seed from which the plant human being grows.
Varahi’s four alchemical dhatus are known as the four fires. Kurukulla’s alchemical dhatus are known as the five saktis. The combination of these five saktis (downward pointing triangles) and four fires (upward pointing triangles), forms the complex figure in the centre of Shri Cakra.
Varahi’s four fires are the 12 (3 x 4) sun Kalas, 12 sidereal constellations. Kurukulla’s five triangles are the 15 (5 x 3) Kalas of the moon, 15 lunar days. The complete individual grows within nine months to be born as a Shri Yantra or plant. The flowering of this plant is shown by the 24 petals of the yantra. The above all gives rise to the familiar shape of the Shri Yantra. The yantra is usually arranged in one of two forms. In the Bhuprastara, it is two dimensional and laid flat, usually facing the east, but sometimes the north, depending on the practice. The Meruprastara has the yantra in a pyramidal form. Unless the yantra be decorated with the appropriate bija and other mantras, it is worthless. It is also dead unless it is installed with life and the individual doing the puja is initiated into one of the lines (parampara).
The Nine Mandalas of the Shri Yantra
The Earth Square or Bhupura
This mandala represents the enclosing walls or fence of the zonule of a practitioner. The three linesof the bhupura of Shri Yantra each has a set of subsidiary aspects or sub-limbs of the goddess. On theouter line are the eight world protectors (lokapalas), the guardian spirits of the directions and intermediate directions.
On the middle line are eight Siddhi Saktis identified with the senses. On the inner line are eight Shaktis ruling Desire, Anger, Envy, Delusion, Greed, Jealousy, Virtue and Vice. They are the eight Matrikas. These saktis are collectively known as the Obvious Ones (Prakata Yoginis). A form of the triple Devi known as Tripura rules all these shaktis in this individual mandala of the yantra known as ‘The Chakra Ruling the Three Worlds’. She has four arms, is the colour of crystal, is adorned with pearls and holds a book, a pot, and a beautiful lotus. her Vidya is Am Am Sauh.
Outer line: Indra (E) wears yellow, rides an elephant; Agni (SE) wears red, rides a ram; Yam (S) wears black, carries a staff; Nirriti (SW) wears dark green; Varuna wears blue, and his vehicle is a makar; Vayu (NE) wears pale clothes; Soma (N) wears pure white; Ishana (NE) is a form of Mahadeva Shiva.
Middle Line: The Siddhi Shaktis are smeared with vermilion, wear red garlands, carry noose and goad, and are as bright and beautiful as red lotuses.
Inner Line: Brahmi wears yellow, has four arms, is beautiful. One hand dispels fear, one grants boons, the others hold a jewelled jar and makes the gesture of purification. Mahesvari wears white, has three eyes, holds trident, skull, axe, and vessel containing sour curds. Kaumari wears yellow, holds shakti-dart, Javelin, and makes the gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons. Varahi is dark in colour, holds conch, discus, dispels fear, grants boons. She wears many ornaments and gems. She has the head of a pig, holding plough, mace, sword and shield. Indrani is black, carrying a bright blue lotus. Camunda is black, holds trident and damaru (hourglass drum), holds axe, and milk in a bowl. Mahalaksmi wears yellow, holds serpent, shield, bell and milk in a skull shaped cup.
The nature of this outermost mandala is fire of fire. The gem is topaz. The time is 24 minutes (360 breaths). The Mudra is the All Agitating.
The saktis in this circle are known as the Hidden Ones.
The whole mandala of 16 petals is called ‘Fulfiller of Desire’. The presiding form of the Lalita is Tripureshi. Her vidya is Aim Klim Sauh. She is described as ornamented with all gems, carrying abook and a rosary. The 16 yoginis in this mandala are associated with the attainment of desires by the cultivation or strengthening of power over mind, ego, sound, touch, sight, taste, smell, intellect, steadiness, memory, name, growth, etheric body, revivification, and physical body. They are described as the Nitya Kalas. Each holds a noose, a goad, pot full of nectar, and makes the sign of giving. They are very red.
The gem of the mandala is sapphire. The dhatu of physical alchemy is chyle, the first product of the disintegration of food by the biological fires. The time is three hours (2700 breaths). The Mudra is the Wettening Mudra. The nature of the mandala is sun of fire.
The saktis in this mandala are called the Very Secret Yoginis. The whole circle of eight petals is called the ‘All Exciting Cakra’. Presiding here is Tripura Sundari. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Sauh. She is described as swaying because of her love intoxicated state, with her eyes full of bliss.
She smiles with passion. She shows the mudras dispelling fears and granting boons.
The eight saktis in each of the eight petals of the mandala are described as saktis of Speech, Holding, Walking, Excreting, Pleasure, Abandoning, Concentration and Detachment. They are described as sapphire blue, holding noose, goad, dispelling fear, and holding blue lotus. Their names (Ananga Madana etc) all convey terms of loving sexuality.
The gem is cat’s eye. The dhatu is Flesh. The time is day and night (21600 breaths). The mandala’s nature is moon of fire.
This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Bestowing All Good Fortune’. The Yoginis are called ‘Concealed by Tradition’. The presiding form of the devi is Tripura Vasini. Her vidya is Haim Hklim Hsauh.
She is very red and very beautiful. Fourteen shaktis of the triangles are associated with the chief nadis or currents of bioenergy. They are described as being proud, wanton, young, colour of cochineal, ornamented with gems, holding noose, goad, mirror, winecup full of nectar. They are the Akarshanis or Attractors.
The gem is coral. The dhatu is blood. The time is weekday. The Mudra is called All Subjugating. The nature of the mandala is fire of sun.
Outer 10 Triangles
This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Bestowing All Objects to the Sadhaka’. The saktis are called the Kula Kaulas. The presiding aspect of Red Devi is Tripura Shri.
Here, the goddess is as effulgent as 1000 rising Suns, adorned with celestial ornaments, with large rising breasts, holding book and rosary, dispelling fears and granting boons.
The 10 shaktis in the triangles are described as having thrilled faces, holding noose and goad and adorned with various crystal and heavenly gems.
These are the Yoginis of the 10 vital breaths. The gem is pearl. The dhatu is Ova/Semen. The time is Lunar Day (tithi).
The Mudra is called the All Intoxicating with Love. The nature is sun of sun.
Inner 10 Triangles
The mandala is called ‘The Cakra Protecting All’. The Yoginis are called Without Origin. The presiding aspect of Lalita is Tripura Malini. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Blem.
She holds noose and goad, dispels fear, and holds a skull. She is of vermilion brightness.
Her shaktis are the colour of 1000 rising suns, adorned with pearls and gems, holding noose, chisel, and showing the gestures of knowledge, and giving boons. They are the saktis of the 10 Vital Fires. The gem is emerald. The dhatu is Marrow. The time is Lunar Fortnight. The Mudra is the Great Goad. The nature is moon of sun.