Late last night just before winding down to sleep, I thought I’d take on the challenge in drawing a Sri Chakra (and god knows why, as I’m totally artistically challenged, not even in doodling!), but ended up doing just that. Constructed the outline using Inkscape, then color-filled, and texturized using Gimp. Color combination is not as good as I wanted it to be, but hey it’s my first version and came out better than I expected, just thought I’d put it out here to share.
The most part of the effort is in getting the Sri Chakra pattern itself right – in getting all those triangle to intersect correctly with minimal skew. Many complex techniques have been published to try to recreate a perfect Sri Chakra (links at end of this post). Amazing how the ancients in the past had possessed the technique to make perfect Sri Chakras. It seems some of the South Indian temples are designed with some of the elements of the Sri Chakra pattern as the base.
The Sri Yantra
The Sri Chakra is also known as the Sri Yantra, as it is considered the “Mother of all Yantras”. It represents the holographic nature of the Universe. That is, the microcosm/quantum nature of the universe reflecting the macrocosm/cosmological of the universe. Yantras like this are popularly used as a meditational aid.
The Sri Chakra consists of 4 upright triangles (Shiva or the masculine principle) and 5 inverted triangles (Shakti or the feminine principle). The intersections of which make up the Sri Chakra, and represent the Cosmic Dance (the shiva tandavam), the interplay of energies that makes up the visible universe as it is.
The innermost point (the bindu) in the inner most triangle, represents the Source (Pure Awareness), from which all things arose and will eventually collapse/dissolve into. The cosmic vibration (pranava, in the form of the seed syllable ‘Om’) arose from the bindu. This vibration differentiated into more vibrations (bija – seed syllables), which interacted to give rise to various forms of energy (the intersecting lines forming the triangles), and finally the various levels of differentiation of matter – shapes and forms (the petals), and the four gates (the four sides) representing the outer or material world.
So beneath or underlying the “visible” outer world, is the dance of forces that make matter and energy. And beneath that, is Pure Awareness. While the Bindu represents the Source (Shiva, or Pure Awareness), the Sri Chakra as a whole represents the Matrix (Maya, or illusion; the quantum veil of the visible universe pulled over our eyes, that obscures the Source). One can approach the Sri Chakra from outside to inside or the reverse. That is, from grosser/material manifestation of the outer world, to the subtler manifestation of the inner world, and eventually into the bindu (the unmanifest state), the Source…. or the reverse.
The Sri Chakra is associated with the Sri Lalita Sahasranama (a thousand-line mantra dedicated to Shakti in the form of the goddess Lalita and all her many other divine manifestations). An excellent book is Sri Lalita Sahasranama from Mata Amritanandamayi Center (commentary by T. V. Narayana Menon, translated into English by Dr. M. N. Namboodiri).
Another powerful mantra used with the Sri Chakra is the Sri Shodashaksari mantra, but it is said to be a very inaccessible (or highly guarded) mantra — revealed to only a very few (either by a guru or by God). It is a short sixteen syllable mantra, but is said to be very powerful and not to be toyed with, as it is not as forgiving as the Sri Lalita Sahasranama.
It is important not to get obsessed by any particular mantra, yantra, etc. as being “superior” to all others. Just like it would be lame to debate which name/form of God, faith, or yoga is more superior (else your no more different than fundamentalist religions who claim their way as the “true/superior” way).
For those more inclined, and who want to dedicate themselves to the approach towards God (or Self-Realization) through the Sri Chakra, there is specific tantra path known as the Sri Vidya. Google it for more info.
When I was first into the Sri Chakra, while browsing the web I came across this picture of a huge Sri Chakra image drawn out in the desert floor. I excitedly called up a friend of mine (who had just joined a new company), and surprisingly he said his new boss, Bill Witherspoon was the man behind it. Coincidence?
Images/video of Oregon Sri Yantra are here: images and video. Note: I don’t share the views in those links. The Oregon Sri Yantra was drawn by Bill Witherspoon and his colleagues. They didn’t appear there supernaturally nor by aliens. The closest thing to anything “supernatural” about the Sri Yantra, would be the meditative insight by yogis, and the inherent energy-vibrational properties of it.
Also, it seems in an experiment consisting of a room with paintings — where some of the paintings had a Sri Chakra image hidden behind it, people gravitated towards the ones with the Sri Chakra though they were totally unaware of it. It is interesting, but I don’t take it too seriously unless it is conducted with more rigor. A good test would be to use identical paintings next to each other, but with one of them having a Sri Chakra image hidden behind it, and see if people gravitate towards that. And if they do, switch the images a few times and again ask them to make the choice again. Even better experiment would be to put a huge Sri Chakra on a wall (the remaining three walls should plain) and see if blind-folded people gravitate towards the wall with the Sri Chakra. See also Sri Yantra Research.
How to Draw
A number of people have asked me how to draw the Sri Chakra, including step-by-step procedure. The thing is I don’t have any. I just drew it on the fly, trying to align the triangles and intersections. So there is no particular method that I can reproduce, but all is not lost :) — as I did find two articles on how to draw it: srishti-krama, sambara-krama. Hope that helps. Also, for those who’ve asked about the tools used, they are: InkScape and Gimp. Thanks for your interest, and happy drawing.