To my friends I may be an entrepreneur, teacher and artist but to my cafe members I am the ‘Mandala Queen’, a tag I have come to love and adore. As we begin our new journey of posts and blogs I would like to share my insight into this art form that has captivated my heart and soul, my entire being, over the past year.
A mandala, which is Sanskrit for circle, is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Mandalas are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and are used as instruments of meditation and symbols of prayer most notably in China, Japan and Tibet. Loosely based on the folk arts of India, Mandala is an ancient art that is seen in Mughal architecture as well. More recently, mandalas have also been found in dream catchers, a popular item in the West, as a means to protect the individual sleeping.
Mandala as an art form has many dimensions and benefits. Creating a Mandala transports you to a different world. The immersive experience of making a mandala has immense benefits. Besides helping younger kids in building concentration or re-focusing adult concentration, it has an incredibly calming effect and is a great stress buster. In addition, it unleashes people’s hidden creativity and in the end, the outcome is a beautiful piece of art to adorn one’s walls.
Working on a mandala from making the template to adding colours to it or filling it with patterns is a time-intensive but satisfying process. It is in fact the time and effort involved that is almost meditation-like resulting in the calming effect that it produces.
Types of Mandalas
There are various types of mandalas found in different cultures and used for a multitude of purposes, both artistically and spiritually.
1. Teaching Mandalas
Teaching mandalas are symbolic, and each shape, line, or colour represents a different aspect of a philosophical or religious system. The student creates his or her own mandala based on principles of design and construction, projecting a visual symbolization of everything they have learned. Teaching mandalas serve as colourful, mental maps for their creators.
2. Healing Mandalas
Healing mandalas are more intuitive in design, and they are made for the purpose of meditation. Healing mandalas are intended to deliver wisdom, evoke feelings of calm, and channel focus and concentration.
Symbolism in Mandalas
The center is a dot, which is a symbol that is free of dimensions. It is interpreted as the starting point, the beginning of contemplation, and devotion to the divine. From there, the dot is surrounded by lines and geometrical patterns that symbolize the universe, encompassed by the outer circle which represents the cyclical nature of life.
How Mandalas Are Used:
Mandalas are used for a variety of religious traditions, meditation, and modern contexts. The traditional mandala, takes weeks to complete and is full of positivity and brings inner peace.
It is my desire to see many take up this art form and achieve inner peace and calm and a philosophical approach to life. By creating mandalas, I have found balance in my life and it has given me strength during the pandemic. Some do yoga, some meditate while others resort to many different methods of self-relaxation. For me it is the mandala and I hope that it will bring you, my dear reader, the same resilience, peace and tranquillity.
Jyoti Agarwal, Bangalore
Artist, Teacher & ofcourse Mandala Queen!!