The word mandala has Sanskrit roots and it means ‘the universe’. It’s said that art is an expression of the mind and soul, it is the best way by which one can resolve their undisputed thoughts. This holds true for the mandala art form, it is believed to have therapeutic effects.
The idea of the mandala can be found in the chapters of Rigveda. The chants, the hymns, and the words they all sum up to form circular patterns that reflect the soul of humanity. It symbolizes existence and life trapped in the universe. The circular patterns of mandala art have been extensively used in many cultures like in the Hindu temples, the Buddhist thangka paintings, as well as gothic churches. In Hinduism, mandala art is thought of as a way by which man can build a divine connection with the spiritual world. Hence, several temples were built on the basic mandala template, where people went to meditate.
The universe has many layers – similarly, this art form depicts the different layers of the spiritual world, the outer living environment, and the various experiences that man goes through. On the receiving end, people attain enlightenment through this simple work of art. It radiates positive vibes and builds a firm connection between one’s outer and inner self.
Traditionally there are some significant mandala symbols, they are:
- Yantra: The Yantra is a chant that is related to deities. In mandala art, the Yantra takes the shape of a circle inside a square which means the personification of a deity.
- Celtic: The Celtic design is symbolical to unity, balance, and energy. It has been widely used in Britain.
- Wheel: The wheel symbolizes the circle of life and the path towards enlightenment. The wheel has also been used as a connector between nature and man.
- Lotus: The symmetry of the flower stands for balance and unity. It is also held as a symbol of purity and builds a divine connection with the spirits.
With time the world has changed and so has the thought process of its people. These changes have led to major changes in the symbols and their meaning in this art form. The mandala artwork usually involves more of colors and emphasizes on its power of meditation. Nowadays, the artwork delves more into the universal spaces and creates art that is above personal religion and culture.
Mandala artwork contributed by Deepanjali Tripathy & John Llamas.