Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Sri Yantra as Symbol

Originally posted on August 24, 2013

A drawing can be a complex symbol. The kabbalistic “Etz Khayyim” or “Tree of Life” is one “map” of higher consciousness that I enjoy contemplating, and the “Sri Yantra” is another. This latter diagram is among my favorite metaphysical “maps.” Of course, the idea of a 2-dimensional map requires some work to suggest the third dimension (thickness or height), or a “fourth” dimension of how it evolves over time. The problem is that reality is multi-dimensional, including many mental or aesthetic or non-spatial dimensions of activity and possibility. (Sure, this makes it difficult if not impossible to chart simply, but is hubristic entitlement to think that the cosmos owes us a mode that can make it simple enough to plot on a chart. Of course it’s complex! Haven’t you noticed? Life is impossibly, vastly, complex beyond any possibility of our understanding!)

What is shown in the Sri Yantra are interlacing triangles, and to me this means that different kinds of variables inter-penetrate, and like sex, that process in turn generates innumerable variations.
     So, for example,  imagine that as you manifest as a product of the forces that generate your material existence, your species, your culture, your family, your physical body, coming up from below…the earth—


You are impacted from above with the forces of manifestation, life, mind, individuality:


… and the two sets of relatively material and relatively spiritual forces come together in a complex pattern!


Now imagine within this temple a pile up of forms, one inside the other, perhaps slightly raised. Each creates interesting platforms:


Remember, this is foolin’ with symbols, a fantasy. I don’t literally believe any of this. It’s like a mathematics exercise. Now you may be able to gather that three figures up might be a cross section from the top, looking at these figures from the side. How else might we celebrate the interpenetration of spirit and matter?


As a symbol, a triangle gives more of an illusion of dimensionality, solidity, existence—compared to a mere line. Also, triangles are interesting because they combine dualities and resolving syntheses. The philosopher Hegel in the early 19th century talked about dialectic. What’s up here is the appeal to what our minds can handle—that’s my point. And triangles have a delicious complexity that is yet not too complex. They can be equilateral or slightly flattened this way or that. Indeed, in reality, almost all triangular shapes have a slight to moderate degree of asymmetry, and that is a moral lesson, a lesson about imperfection, which is also an expression of vital individuality.

I make the point repeatedly in my art that life is nowhere geometrically perfect.  It is human mind that superimposes our perception of patterns—and note that human mind is yet far from the acme of mental development. Even seemingly symmetrical crystals have tiny irregularities, which both express and also symbolize the activity of chaos, spontaneity, in the cosmos. It’s time we recognize that this prevalence of spontaneity is also part of the perfection at a god-level.  

That’s enough for today, don’t you think?

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