What is the first and fundamental message that the Sri Yantra transmits to a practitioner? Seeing the huge amount of meaning and the different levels of interpretation, this is a great and demanding question. Indeed, the aim of these posts is not to give a definitive answer nor a definitive explanation to the topic “Yantra”, but rather to give a new view about the depth and complexity of what an interpretation of a symbol requires.
But, let’s continue with this argument. We’ve explored the central part of this sacred symbol, namely how the unmanifested begins to create the manifested in an evolution that begins from the center point of the Yantra (Bindu), the first triangle (Yoni), and continues through a creation of different planes represented by the intertwining triangles with the upwards and downwards vertices. It depicts a path from the subtle unmanifested towards the creation of a more and more “touchable”, material reality. This process is represented by the circles which surround the triangles in expansion. The process ends its circle in the solid matter which, in this symbol, is represented by the external frames that surround the whole Sri Yantra.
Ok, a good symbolic explanation, a good story that still remains abstract. How do we translate this process in terms which could be understandable (and useful) for a Western mind? In order to begin a clarification of these concepts in human terms, we need a further step: the thankless task of translating what is esoteric in a limiting mean: words and… numbers.
Indeed, Numerology (not intended as in the field of the New and Post Age, but as a Sacred Science itself) is a very good mean to make some connection with the Sri Yantra (as Pythagoras stated “all is number”), because all can be explained in numbers. Through the basis of the evidence that the cosmic cycles were reducible in numeric units, arose the belief that numbers were not only a unit of measure of what exists in the world, but concrete principles of a cosmic order that express the original qualities of the universe, thus, “Divine Symbols” (and from here begins the study of Sacred Geometry).
All that has a beginning must also have a source that lies behind the same beginning – an unmanifested source that, in the Sri Yantra is represented by the Bindu, in numbers from something that lies before the numbers begin: the Zero.
Every number has its own value and Zero is the exception; but even without having its own value, it is still able to influence the value of all the other numbers. Indeed, if we take an in-depth look, a decimal system completes a cycle (tens) and gives, at the same time, a ground from which the series of numbers will evolve to infinity.
A decimal cycle begins from one and ends at ten that will close a cycle and begin a new cycle; indeed, ten is the zero of the further cycle, and it will determine its qualities (10+1, 10+2, 10+3, 10+4, etc…).
Bindu is the visual representation of the Zero: without it, any Creation, any manifestation is impossible. Without ground, a house can’t be built. Such as the Bindu Zero comes before one, before the beginning of everything: once more, an unmanifested idea on which the final result (Ten) identifies itself, with what was before the beginning: the same push that every human being or, at least, every human devoted towards an inner path, feels- returning to the Source.
So, the Zero we consider “nothing”, without value, is the space from which originates the cylcle of manifestation and, at the same time, what allows such accomplishment, the “empty” before the “full”, what is inconceivable for the ordinary mind is that thoughts are a product of manifestation which arises after the “emptiness” that generates them.
Just for this reason, the unmanifested, the Bindu, the Zero, can’t be understood by the mind, and to make a relation with the Taoist view, “the Tao which can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao”. The only mean to understand and “speak” about this unmanifested, is a paradox, an approach that is present in many different traditions.
Just ponder about the Zen koans: through a paradoxical affirmation, mind is disoriented, and this produces a sort of laceration in the tissue of the mind. We can say that the correct use of the koans “opens a gateway” through which we can “glimpse” what lies beyond logic, what is undefined, unlimited… unmanifested.