In our Autumn 2020 issue, our resident Tantra expert Dawn Cartwright wrote a beautiful reflection on the blessings of the sacred Sri Yantra. Read it below, and enjoy.
Truth and Love
Gifts of the Sri Yantra
by Dawn Cartwright
Many years ago, my love affair with Tantra took me to the mystical forests of South India. There I visited Devipuram, a Sri Vidya Tantra Ashram in Andra Pradesh. Nothing could have prepared me for what I would experience there and how my perception of truth – and love – would change.
Mountains nestled themselves around Devipuram like sleeping gods and goddesses. Sky clad deities revealed secret mudras coded in the language of love. The air was electric, as if the centre of the cosmos was there, hidden in plain sight.
Soon after I arrived, I met Guruji Sri Amritananda Natha, a revolutionary Sri Vidya Guru, the visionary who created Devipuram. Guruji introduced me to Sri Vidya, a path of self-awareness filled with with geometry, mathematics, science and physics, mantras, yantras – and flower adorned deities showered with devotion from sunrise to sunset. There I discovered truth and love as the pulse between lover and beloved. A mystical marriage that births the cosmos. And I fell in love too, with Sri Vidya, instantly.
During my time at Devipuram, I took the first steps to learn the complexities of the Sri Yantra, the king of all yantras, the centre of the Sri Vidya path. The Sri Yantra is the geometric form of the cosmos and the human body. The macrocosm and the microcosm. Composed of nine enclosures, it is the blueprint for all of life.
The Sri Yantra, Love & Truth
“The centre of every experience is yourself.”
Sri Amirtananda Natha
At the center of the Sri Yantra, there is a single dot, the Bindu, a Sanskrit word for truth. Reality exists here in its purest form. The Bindu is truth itself, existence before it explodes into being.
The Bindu is everything that exists – before it is experienced.
Surrounding the Bindu is the first triangle. The mystical quality of three. The knower, the known and the knowing. Awareness is the first step toward becoming. The lover, the beloved and the loving. I learned to see and recognise truth in every experience.
Around the Bindu and the inner triangle, there are seven more enclosures, garlands and garlands of triangles. The eight-triangle enclosure is the sound of creation. The vibration that makes up everything that exists. I learned that life, truth, love is a vibration that pervades everything.
Then, moving out from the centre of the Sri Yantra, two enclosures, made up of ten triangles each. These enclosures taught me about the elements that give form to truth. I learned to experience love through my senses, rather than my mind. I experienced truth through sound, touch, sight, taste and smell.
Returning to the basics in this way taught me that truth is touchable. It’s see-able. This helped me to realise my thoughts, while they may be interesting to me, are thoughts. Truth is something different, it is a sound I can hear, a scent I can smell – before I name it, or define it. A direct link to reality. The definition of love.
Surrounding all of this, there are fourteen triangles. This is the place, in the Sri Yantra, in the blueprint of life, where we become human beings. From absolute truth to awareness, to vibration, to the elements and the senses, to form. Truth appearing in many forms, still truth. All of this before thought. Pure observation without evaluation.
I realised how often I was interacting with my thoughts about a person, rather than the person themselves. I learned to separate my senses from my thoughts. A constant invitation to embrace what is real, to be open, inquisitive, curious and connected to what is actually here.
Then, garlands of lotuses, first eight-petaled, then sixteen. Lessons for living in the world, interacting with others. I learned about movement and flow. I learned that life is always moving, never static. Just when I think I know someone or something … something more, something new, is revealed.
Truth, I realised, is infinite and it is alive. Truth is love revealing itself every instant. There is always more to experience. I discovered I’d often freeze an experience or an opinion, make it a fact in my own mind and, in that process, lose my connection to truth, to what is real.
The garlands of lotuses taught me that the cosmos and everyone around me is constantly expanding. It’s up to me to stay here, in the moment, connected to what’s real right now.
The last enclosure, the Bhupura, is the enclosure that surrounds and protects the Sri Yantra.
Truth fully expressed. The lover loving the beloved forever. The Bhupura is the world and the cosmos and you and me revealing more of who we are, expanding, then dissolving back to the Bindu and beginning over and over and over again.
To me, this is the willingness to stay: stay in relationship with myself and with you, with my life, with the world. It’s the love that is experienced when I commit to truth, a commitment that is all about being here, alert and aware and expanding and flowing every instant.
Dawn Cartwright is a Neo Tantra visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in authentic lovemaking and Neo Tantra fusion.