The Yantra is a geometric symbol existing in the external world as well as a subject to be internalized within human consciousness. Kali is the Hindu Goddess of time, of change. She is the power of action, of the breath and of transformation (kriya-shakti). Kali’s essence is Divine Love. Through time, breath and Divine Love all things are accomplished. If we surrender to Her essence, She creates the energy and all is possible. The Kali Yantra, then, contains within it the transformative energy of change.
When we internalize this energy and surrender to its sweet transformative power of love, we begin our inward journey toward healing and spiritual growth. According to the Tantric tradition, the 36 corners of the Yantra represent the 36 principles (tattvas) of creation, from the Most Transcendent to the most minute expression of Materiality. The bindu is the central point, the seat of the soul, the Atman; the internal link with Brahman the Absolute. The bindu is also Kali, and all the phenomenal world emanates out from Her. In the Tantric tradition, Kali as the energy (Shakti) aspect of material nature is united with the Absolute (Shiva) for the sake of creation
Five (5) inverted concentric triangles, 2 circles and 8 lotus petals enclose the bindu.
The 5 inverted concentric triangles represent the 5 kosas or sheaths of the human condition, with soul (bindu) in the middle: Annamayakosa (physical), Pranamayakosa (life force), Manomayakosa (mental/emotional), Vijnanamayakosa (wisdom) and Anandamayakosa (bliss). The 15 corners of the 5 inverted concentric triangles represent the 15 principles of experience (tattvas); the 5 organs of sense – smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing; 5 organs of action – procreation, excretion, locomotion, handling, speaking; and 5 tanmatras – odour, flavour, colour, feeling, sound. The inverted position of the triangle represents the female regenerative power.
The 2 circles symbolize the cycle of birth and death, which we must pierce through the bindu in the centre in order to reach the Absolute Reality.
The 8 lotus petals are symbols of Prakriti, the cause of the manifesting universe. The 8 lotus petals refer to the 8 principles (tattvas) of Prakriti – The 5 principles of materiality or nature (Prakriti) are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. And with the 3 principles of the inner instrument (antahkarana), the Lower Mind (manas), the Higher Mind (buddhi) and the Ego-sense (ahamkara), these 8 tattvas compose the phenomenal or relative world.
Kali as the power of action is inherent in the element air or wind, Vayu. In human body Kali exists as Prana, the breath or life-force. Kali holds the five vital airs: prana (upward air); apana (downward air); vyana (air within the body); udana (air leaving the body); and samana (air at the navel which helps to digest food). Kali emphasizes inner action, which generates the internalizing force of so’ ham, the rhythm of the breath, the sound of the breath: I am that, I am Spirit, I am Kali. Like the wind, she is mobile, subtle and transformative. Kali relates to lightning (vidyut-shakti), the electrical force that pervades the universe as the power of transformation. Like the electrical storm, She acts quickly. Kali grants a lightning-like illumination and transformation. She is located in the spiritual heart, the anahata chakra. She is the pulsating of the physical heart, the blood that gives us life; in this action She is called Rakta-Kali or the Red Kali.
Red in the Kali Yantra is the colour of the heart’s lifeblood, filling us with vitality. Black is the colour of the night; but as we approach Kali, She becomes as bright as the sun. Grey is the emerging light into the black, the midworld existing between the earthly plane and the realm of heaven. Kali as Prakriti or Shakti exists in all three realms. Bronze is the colour of the earth, the sphere of normal consciousness. Gold is the colour of the alchemist, the colour of transformation moving us into Higher Consciousness. The red and yellow flames are the transformative fires gently cooking us, making us more palatable for Spirit.