Mandala Tattoo Meaning

Mandala A symbolical diagram, either imagined or depicted, and typically a circle enclosing a square with a central symbol which can be a figure.

It is a pattern of existence and a system on which meditational visualization is based. It is also an imago mundi; the enclosure of sacred space and penetration to the sacred centre; totality; the microcosm; cosmic intelligence; integration. Qualitatively the mandala represents spirit, quantitatively it is existence.

The alternating squares depict the dualistic but complementary principles of the universe, and the whole is the re-enactment of the cosmic drama and a pilgrimage of the soul; it is symbolic of the universal spirit and is the ritual, diagrammatic form of Purusha.

It is also a centre of power, a circumscribed area safe from hostile influences.

Mandala Tattoo Meaning
Mandala Tattoo Meaning
Wobba-Jack Tattoo & Art

The centre is a Sun or Sky Door, a means of access to the heavens.

The Hindu Temple is built as a mandala, symbolizing the universe at its different levels and having gates, or doors, to the four cardinal points.

The quinary grouping of images depicts the four points revolving round the centre- ‘the ego revolving round itself in Time and Space’.

These five points represent the five elements of the human personality, the five Buddhas, the five ‘families’, which correspond to the five faces of Siva:

  • the West, white, Sadyojata;
  • North, yellow, Vamedeva;
  • South, black, Aghora;
  • East, red, Tatpurusha;
  • Centre, green, the face ofisana (creative power);

also the five gnoses, of which the five Tathagatas are symbols:

  • Vairocana (Brilliant)- knowledge reflecting the archetypes as in a mirror; the Centre; the Wheel; white.
  • Akshobhya (Imperturbable)- primordial consciousness; the One; the Vajra; the East; blue.
  • Ratnasambhava (Jewel-born)- knowledge of the fundamental identity of things; the Jewel; the South; yellow.
  • Amitabha (Boundless Light)- knowledge of the One Being as this or that; the Lotus; the West; red.
  • Arnoghasiddhi (Infallible Success)- knowledge as power and action; the Sword; the North; green.

The demons (Vighna) in the mandala symbolize the menacing aspect of the psychic and passional forces that hamper man’s progress towards the light.

The mandala is based on the 8 X 8 squares, the order of the celestial world established on earth, or on 9 x 9 squares, leading to and enclosing the universe.

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