Mandala - Origin and Meaning


Pronunciation:ˈmən-də-lə | man•da•la

Sanskrit: मण्डल; Translation: circle or discoid Meaning: A spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism.

The meaning of mandala is not restricted to a simple shape but represents a more complex meaning. The mandala stands for a cosmic diagram that signifies wholeness and can be seen as a model symbolizing the configuration of life. The mandala signifies the relation of man to the infinite world extending beyond our physical and mental plane.

Mandala is a complex diagram in circular form employed for the focusing of cosmic and psychic energies. It maybe as small as a drawing or as large as a temple enclosure. Mandalas symbolize the notion that life is never ending. Many mandalas have spiritual significance to an individual or group of individuals. The Hindus were the first people to use a mandala as a spiritual tool.

Origin of Mandala

The concept of mandala originated long before history started, in ancient India. Rigveda, the ancient Hindu text used mandala as a collection of chapters or hymns that were chanted during ceremonies which were very much in vogue during this time. The thought is that the universe originated from these hymns, the sacred sounds of the hymns which held the code or a genetic pattern of things or living beings, an essence of things around us which is the universe. The mandala is a way to realize that the whole universe is within us and a way to enlightenment and understand Reality. The mandala appears to us in all aspects of life, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and more obviously the circles of life encompassing friends, family and communities.

Although mandalas are commonly found on scrolls as water paintings, for important rituals the practice is to trace the mandala onto consecrated ground using water colors that can be erased upon the termination of the ritual.

It’s when we define mandala in energetic terms we find that mandala meaning deals with a visual aid that pulls in the human consciousness. This is why mandalas are so effective in meditation. The circular, often concentric design of mandalas tends to visually magnetize consciousness and awareness, allowing focus to draw inward - which is a wanted result in meditation.

Explanation of Mandala

All mandalas follow a precise symbolic format. Their circular shape, indicating an all-including pervasion, consists first of an outer ring representing flames. This gives the area a protective nature, and as the yogi(meditator) visualizes his entry into the mandala, his impurities are symbolically burned. A second circle consists of a ring of vajras (weapons for protection), symbolizing the indestructible quality of enlightenment. The innermost and final ring of Mandala signifies the purity of the land which the yogi now enters. Having in his visualization crossed these boarders, the yogi stands outside of a “pure palace” Vimana(vehicle for flight) which is understood to include within itself the entire external would, and its own center is seen as the axis mundi(The Cosmic Axis). Around the divinity inhabiting this central spot as “Lord of the World,” whose nature is pure and with whom it is the goal of the yogi to identify.And thus represents the relationship of samsara(Material World) to nirvana as the insubstantial display of an a-spatial, a-temporal basis. By visualizing his entire body as the mandala, the yogi sees the universe contained within himself as the microcosm, and by identifying with the central deity the yogi places himself in the ultimate state where the coincidence of nirvana and samsara is seen. In absorbing the compassion, wisdom, and skillful means of that deity, the yogi effects a transmutation of his own mundane personality which will outlast the duration of the ritual itself.

Meditation and Coloring Mandala

The design of the mandala is supposed to be visually appealing so as to absorb the mind in such a way that irritating thoughts are unable to get through and a spiritual essence surrounds the individual observing the mandala, which in turn allows the individual a higher consciousness or awareness, almost as though being hypnotized. This allows the busy mind to take a break while the creative mind is allowed to run free. Having said that, the mandala is primarily used as a form of meditation to gain knowledge from within.

Once the intention has been set, you can begin focusing on the mandala. Allow yourself to take in the lovely designs, allow your mind to wander. Just like watching a candle flame in candle therapy, if your mind starts to think about the usual mundane things, simply bring your focus and attention back to the beauty of the mandala. Let the mandala absorb all your attention, by falling into it and gazing into the colors, swim in its patterns. As you begin to fall into the mandala, you will experience a feeling of lightness and intuitive thoughts may arise. Relax, let thoughts and feelings come to you. Float with it. If you begin to feel panic, feel lost, uncomfortable or if you start thinking about those “mundane” things again, just relax and refocus your attention back to the mandala.

Everyone experiences different feelings. But if you have a relaxed demeanor whilst focused on the mandala you have obviously achieved what was intended. You should come away with clarity of the intention you or the particular mandala set before the meditation.

Mandala Workshops

Detoxify yourself from all the negativity and enroll to discover yourself in the form of art.

The workshop is for all the art enthusiasts’ from across Delhi - NCR.

So! Bring along your mandali and get to learn how to draw a mandala by an experienced artist and discover the magic circular patterns.

You will be taken through a guided session that will inspire and set you up to create your individual Mandala Art in a fun environment. All the required material will be provided, so just bring your artsy personality and we're good to go!