The exceptional floods of this summer touched us here in Shropshire and during one night its water got to many of my belongings, in the salvage and drying out process I discovered many long unseen pictures and objects. This was only a minor devastation for me and it gave me a kind of new being with an inflow of tremendous creative energy, the like of which I haven't experienced for some years. I have a copy of the Bhuvanevari Yantra that I created in terracotta some thirty years ago. I had thought that the copy that I have in my sitting room was the last remaining in my possession but in a soggy box retrieved from the flood I discovered three more that had been imperfect rejects from one of my kiln firings in the mid 1970's and these had been packed away to be worked on some day. These are now restored and one stands on a little shrine in my bedroom.
I presume that this yantra is called Bhuvanevari ('Lord of the World') because it originated at the great Hindu Temple of Lingaraj Mandir, which is dedicated to Tribhuvaneswar. This title 'Lord of the World' is, of course, the epithet of Shiva the third member of the Hindu trimurti or trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. This temple stands in the city of Bhubaneswari (formerly Bhuvenesvara) near the east coast of India in the state of Orissa. The simplicity of this yantra appealed to me more than other yantras, even the more commonly seen and beautiful Sri Yantra. Yantras are used both in Tantric Hinduism, and in Esoteric and Tibetan Buddhism as a linear diagram in order to aid meditation, yantra's are simpler than the yet more familiar but elaborate and pictorial mandalas. They can be seen as carvings in the temples or appear as printed diagrams or a whole temple can be laid out on the plan of a yantra. When used as an aid to meditation in yogic practices, the component parts of the yantra diagram guide the believer through the five different steps leading to illumination.
One morning after my meditation was completed I sat looking at this yantra and contemplating those five stages of meditation that this symbol represents, I saw with a new clarity it's representation of these most crucial stages in the preparation for union with the spiritual triad through the vehicle of the soul. I also saw it associated with the progress of the spiritual consciousness that is hidden within the heart of each one of us as at first a small, tightly closed bud that cannot be seen by those who do not look for it with the greatest care and attention, yet it is that supra-consciousness that once contacted slowly unfolds as it grows until it fills the whole life with the spiritual fire, light and being, revealing the divine mind that is the centre of the One Life and which can now begin to radiate through the form into this material world, spreading that light far beyond the life through which it can now shine.
My understanding and vision of the geometry of Bhuvanesvari yantra, which is square in shape is of a symbol representing from its edges inwards the five stages of meditation leading to union with the absolute. I see it also as a representation of the soul's life within the four corners of our Earthly home. On each side of the yantra's square shape and protruding out from its walls is a gate, one to the north, one to the south, one to the east and one to the west, symbolising for me that all manner of men, from all the four corners of this world are welcome to enter, for these are entrances through which every conceivable kind of personality has a right to enter if it is what they desire.
The five stages of the meditation and five stages of the life of an aspirant are represented in the square of the yantra as a series of obstacles or crises to be overcome in order to be able to achieve the higher stage. The first stage to be encountered within the square is a ring of fire around a circle (the circle represents space) which is a purifying flame of consciousness that must burn away all that impurity that is a hindrance to the soul's progress. Until this is achieved the fire remains as an impenetrable barrier. In this first stage of meditation one needs to work in order to develop the process of concentration. This first test or stage in the truly spiritual life begins to unfold through the experience in Leo, this represents the initial process of freeing the mind, a process of break away from the mind of the herd through the development of individualisation and of a true self-consciousness, followed by the unfolding of the consciousness of the higher Self. This stage is completed through the giving up of the control of the personality to the higher mind, the soul and then the spiritual triad (one's spiritual counterpart).
The second barrier or crisis to be overcome or more correctly, resolved, is a ring of lotus petals representing the lesson of the true understanding of love-wisdom, this is the stage of meditation. It is also the life test for the intelligent man of recognising the breadth of the work of the soul life that is experienced in Virgo; it is the process of the nurturing of spirit, for it is the gestation period for the life of the Christ, the Bodhisattva, hidden in each one of us. Here all transitions must eventually be resolved so that our watery material world can be broken apart to reveal the new life, the hidden spiritual reality that represents the birth of the Christ or Bodhisattva consciousness within the human form. This is the beginning of the life expression of the higher mind. It is to my mind a birth like the one that made it possible for animal man to become fully human, it is the next stage of our human evolution where we gain access to the higher worlds, extending the threshold of our human consciousness into the world of the higher mind, the spiritual plane and thus becoming a true child of the universal consciousness.
The third barrier is represented in the Bhuvaneswari Yantra with no image to be seen in the space between the next two circles, for this is regarded as the interlude between two activities, yet it represents the space where duality is eventually understood (not just the duality of living in the lower worlds but also the realisation of the graded life expression of the higher worlds) and thereby the life of the soul and form can achieve a balance. This is the Libra experience; an interlude in which the soul organises itself and the personality patiently waits. In the meditation process this is the stage of contemplation, in life it is the stage of the probationary path, both lead to an equilibrated consciousness achieved through the balancing of the pairs of opposites or the careful weighing of values. It is here that the first real vision of that narrow razor-edged path between those pairs of opposites is seen through the balancing of the analytical faculty of the mind with the heart of love and then there are the first few flashes of intuitive perception as the heart and mind are held together in balance. 1 Now it is possible to control the impulses intellectually and to rule ones conduct wisely in order that material and spiritual law can be balanced. When this has been achieved one can participate in the divine life and co-operate with divine purpose. Venus, which is the source of intelligent mind, rules in Libra. It can do so through desire or love but because the point of balance has been reached between material personal desire and intelligent spiritual love these are brought to the fore and one can be constantly balanced against the other.
The fourth stage is represented on the yantra as a six pointed star, this is the symbol of that achieved equilibrium, but this is also seen as three triangles pointing upwards and three pointing downwards. The upward pointing triangle represent fire and upward movement towards spirit, the downward facing triangle represents water and the downward movement towards matter, they also represent the male and female, seen as the male linga and the female yoni which is so important in Hindu symbology. It can also be seen as the three bodies of the human triad - physical, emotional and mental - where the yin and yang, female and male - mirror each other and are now held in equilibrium. Through the union of the male and the female aspects of the human consciousness at this stage one may realise the full implication of what it means to be both human and divine, the offspring of the union of mother matter and father spirit. This fourth stage occurs through the experience of Scorpio in which the personality can identify fully with the consciousness of the soul and thereby actively co-operate with it to dissipate the glamour of the astral plane and thus relinquish desire for all time. It is the turning point for an individual and will be so for the remainder of humanity in the fullness of time and it is also the point in the meditation process where illumination is achieved. This is because for the aspirant in both the meditation and in the life expression soul light now pours into the consciousness clarifying and illuminating the life expression. Here the soul finally triumphs in its task of uniting spirit and matter and the human can begin the journey upon the true path of the disciple. The desire that began to be focussed for the aspirant way back in Taurus near the beginning of the path of return has finally led him through his directed purpose to the point where spiritual will can work through him. Thus he can serve the task of aiding humanity upon its journey towards universal consciousness and the realisation of Oneness so that the union of the physical and spiritual worlds will be eventually possible.
I see the fifth stage representing that union of spirit and matter through the soul and the full manifestation of the human spiritual triad, the life and consciousness of the son of father spirit and mother matter. The central triangle of the yantra represents for me this triangular relationship that a serving son of God has, the go-be-tween or servant of mankind and of God his father. Here the soul inspires the personality life and can express clearly through it, this is the final stage in the meditation that is called inspiration. At the centre of this triangle, also the image of the divine trinity is a dot, symbol of the union with supreme consciousness, the cause of all creation, it is called bindu in Sanskrit, this is the expression of what the Christians call 'God in you'. This fifth stage occurs through the work that is set for humanity to accomplish in Sagittarius, it is here that the personality is prepared for those higher initiations or transforming tests of the disciple. Now desire is satisfied, the aspirant can clearly see his goal and spirit can begin to influence universally through him in the three outer worlds.
Here the five stages of meditation are completed, to repeat the sequence it is: Concentration, meditation, contemplation, illumination and finally inspiration. These five stages can be seen
through the work required in what are known as the five strictly human signs, beginning with Leo and travelling around the Zodiac in that reverse direction to Sagittarius. Through these signs the personality develops and grows while hiding but nurturing 'the man of the heart', the Christ in each one of use. That reverse direction began, of course, way back in Aries and will not be completed until the top of the path up the spiritual mountain is finally reached in Pisces, the sign in which the Son of God is at last seen in full outer manifestation.
When this spiritual development can be achieved by the majority of humanity a new evolutionary step will have been taken for mankind and man can more fully enter into the process of spiritualising all the kingdoms in nature. It will be possible for the material world of the Earth to become an extension of the spiritual world. While the aim of spiritual man is to achieve this situation on Earth he can also aid the spiritual work elsewhere in the Universe upon both the physical and spiritual planes. Eventually he reaches such spiritual stature and aligns so closely to the central deity that he is re-absorbed back into the central consciousness of the One Life.
The keynote for the current full moon of Libra is, "I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force".
1 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p227.