Nama and Rupa, Name and Form

Shaping Prana

When you make a plan for some action you want to take – have a party, put on a dance, have friends over for dinner, build a house, start a business, teach a class, you build an energy form out of prana. Once you commit to the desire, your life-force begins to incarnate the desire, make it happen. This is what having a body is all about. The prana-form you are building begins to shimmer and attract others. It is a kind of a “house” you have built on subtle levels and you invite others to join you there.

When we make a plan, we build a kind of inner architecture, a beautiful flow of energy that can be visualized. In yoga, such a construction is called a yantra. Yantra, an orderly, almost geometric diagram vibrating in the dimensions of prana and mindstuff.

Prana is not just magnetism and the life-force. Prana borders on substance, and it can be felt and heard and seen. When we hear prana vibrating, that is shabd yoga, when we see the prana vibrating we are in the realm of yantra and mandala, and when we feel the prana, that is even better.

Mantra refers to the sound aspect of a vibration. Mantra refers to the words you use and the almost-musical vibration of your desire as you shape it into action.
Yantra refers to the visual representation of vibration.

Concentric triangles within a circle – one of the many form of yantra.

When you chant OM, you may have felt a wonderful peacefulness. If you have ever chanted in a group, you may have felt the whole room be filled with something shimmering. Traditionally, the visual representation of OM is called Sri Yantra.

Above: Sri Yantra in a bare-bones simple form

Now in your mind’s eye, let there be color:

Sri Yantra by Mike Horvath

Or something like this:

Imago Dei Visionary Art

Now add dimension – let the yantra exist in three dimensions, not just a flat image on a screen.

Sphere Grid by Michael Horvath

Add color:

Add whatever colors appeal to you –

Then add another dimension – motion; let the yantra vibrate and undulate. Now you’ve got something going on.

From Lightsource

In a well-built energy form, energy flows in, around, out, and back. You spend energy creating the yantra-mandala, and then you get energy back in various forms. There is a beautiful geometry to this.

Excitement is Vibration

Your excitement to get something going – the party, class, business, book, family – is your mantra. Mantras are usually thought of as Sanskrit words, but the words are just pointers to an underlying vibration. Let yourself feel the current of electricity and excitement embodied in your desires, and you will feel a kind of kundalini shakti giving you energy to support your plan.

This excitement itself is a kind of mantra, a sacred vibration.

Examples of yantra, or geometric diagram to use as a focus of meditation. Actually, any diagram – the Christian cross, a triangle, a circle with a dot in the middle – could be used. But John's business plan, as it was vibrating in and around him, looked a bit like the Sri Yantra.

Vibration Calls for Attention

When a dynamic person closes her eyes, whether it is to fall asleep at night, to take a nap, to meditate, or when lying in Shavasana after doing a set of yoga asanas, she sees and feels the movie of his creative life, juggling time and resources, balancing, visualizing, sensing what is needed. The vibration of it all calls attention. The areas that are too excited, that she is anxious about, need to be soothed by the application of attention. The areas that she has been neglecting call for attention. All this attending is a dynamic and rapid process, and is not what people usually associate as meditation. But why not? It's all vibration, orderly vibration.

Your mind mind and the universe are one and the same, and you are a local representation of the intelligence of the universe.

This is a copper plate engraving of a yantra, from the collection of Ajit Mookerjee.

If you visualize it vibrating, you get the sense of what a mantra is.

Here is a color version of Sri Yantra:

Sri Yantra

So yantra and mantra are different ways of sensing the same thing, energy vibrating in a coherent pattern. Yantra is what we call it when we see the energy. Mantra is what we call it when we are listening to the sound of the energy vibrating.

Still with me?

The Correlation of Sound and Pattern

YouTube video of the effect of resonance on grains of something:

Turn the volume down on this one:

Some people have done research on this, and they called it Cymatics. Hans Jenny and his associates set about to phonograph sound vibrations. They would chant OM near a plate of water and photograph the way the water wiggled. Or take a super-light powder, such as fungus spores, put them on a metal plate, then play a violin note. They used all kinds of sources of vibration, and all kinds of material objects to vibrate, and all sorts of ways of photographing them. The book, Cymatics, is beautiful and worth the $40.

Above is one of the photographs from the book,

You can duplicate this sort of pattern at home by taking a plate or bowl of water and putting it on the speakers of your home stereo, and playing your favorite music. If you want dramatic lighting, turn off all the lights except for one spotlight or colored flashlight. You'll see concentric circles, waves standing up vertically, motions, intersections of waves.

Now consider what human creativity is – when an artist or inspired businessperson sets out to create something – a yoga studio, a TV series, a wonderful whole-food restaurant, a clothing line, or some other project to make the world a better place.

Before that plan existed on paper and in a set of agreements with banks and leases and contracts, it was vibrating in the awareness of the entrepreneur. And to a clairvoyant, it looks a lot like a yantra, vibrating. It's art. Life is beautiful. There is a geometric beauty to a business plan, because it is a description of the way energy will flow: people will get hungry at lunch and come into my restaurant and gratefully pay for a bowl of delicious soup and a salad. I will use that money to pay for the materials, the raw ingredients, the cooks, the utilities, the rent, interest on the loans, and myself. Everyone gains from this flow of energy. It's an ecology.

Yantras in 3 Dimensions

Let's go just a bit further. Yantras don't actually exist in only two dimensions, as if they were on a piece of paper. Let us think of them as vibrating in three dimensions.

sri yantra
A sculpture by Stan Tenen

Then go a step further, and see and feel the yantra vibrating, and realize it is just a structure of life, a conception you have created that is in its own way as beautiful as a flower or a seed.

Why shouldn't your party, seminar, circle of friends, family, or business plan be as beautiful as a sunflower, or an acorn? And what makes you think that the excitement and ambition you are manifesting is any different, or any less authentic, that the urge to flower or grow as manifested in plants?

Let Excitement Feed You

So far so good. And a naive person would just be nurtured by the energy coming off their own business plan. A Christian would feel "inspired by God" to succeed in business and pray for success and blessing of everyone involved. A business woman influenced by New Age thinking would visualize success.

And if a woman meditates and just allows her excitement about her life to percolate and shimmer in her body and mind the whole time, then she will feel nourished and soothed and informed by the vibration.

But there is a problem with some definitions of yoga, because yoga is sometimes defined as stoppage.