The South China Sea covers an area of 3.5 million square kilometers. The sea is considered a strategic area militarily and economically. According to various measurements and assessments, there are huge oil and gas deposits below the sea.
The Belt And Road Initiative (BRI) is the updated name of the One Belt One Road (OBOR). The initiative is further bifurcated into two: the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.
The former is land-based and refers to the “belt” that connects China with Central Asia, Eastern, and Western Europe. The latter is sea-based and refers to the “road” that connects China with South-East Asia, Central Asia, and Africa.
What is Tantra Yoga and how it can change your life
In Sanskrit, Tantra means “to loop, to weave, and to spread.” It can be defined as a spiritual tradition found in Hinduism and Buddhism co-developed in the middle of the 1st millennium. Tantra can also be defined as a systematic quest for spiritual excellence and salvation achieved by fostering the divine within one’s own body.
The main reason why Tantra is different from other traditions is into account all the desires of a person. In life, we can only get true and everlasting fulfillment when all of life’s threads are woven according to the plan as designed in nature. Tantra is not just about sex, as most people think. It goes beyond spiritual sexuality; it is a way of life.
Types of tantra
Some types of Hindu lineages of Tantra are Shaktism, Shaivism, and Vaishnavism. Some of those from the Buddhist lineages are Vajrayana, Tantrayana, and Mantrayana. All these types act as individual and unique expressions of Tantra and have, in some way, influenced other Eastern religious traditions such as Daoism, Shinto, and Jainism.
Some types of Hindu lineages of Tantra are Shaktism, Shaivism, and Vaishnavism. Some of those from the Buddhist lineages are Vajrayana, Tantrayana, and Mantrayana. All these types act as individual and unique expressions of Tantra and have, in some way, influenced other Eastern religious traditions such as Daoism, Shinto, and Jainism.
Shiva and Shakti are embodiments of god and goddess who represent infinite consciousness and ever permeating creative energy. Shiva the masculine, formless consciousness that is dry and white like the sperm; found on the right side of the body on the left side of the brain.
Shiva is yang and penetrative energy. On the other hand, Shakti is the feminine force found in all cosmic and macroscopic aspects of life.
She is moist and red like the womb, found on the left side of the body on the right side of the brain. Shiva is the portal receiving energy- the infinitely mysterious void from which all life emerges. The love between these two represents a sacred union of opposites where true cosmic love is actualized.
In Tantra, spiritual actualization is represented as the union of males and females with the goddess afforded a primary position as the cosmos’ creative force. This is so because historically, females are often more influential and powerful teachers.
Tantra’s idea is to find wholeness of the unification of Shiva and Shakti within us while letting go of gender identifications. This enables us to find the wholeness of being. The kind of wholeness that brings our focus, grace, compassion, humility, and joy is expressed as love.
Tantric texts and scriptures
Anyone curious to delve into Tantra’s studies should begin by reading “Tantraloka,” a classical text written by Abhinavagupta of Shaivism.
The word Tantraloka means “to throw light on Tantra.” Other texts worth a read include the “Vijnana Bhairava Tantra,” which is basically a combination of different meditations ad breath works that have been translated into a series of poems in English.
Another classical ancient text that serves as a guide for practicing esoteric techniques such as Tantra is the “Tantra Sutras.” Etymologically speaking, tan means to stretch while tra means technique. The term Sutras refers to the threads that are found in these sacred texts.
The Atharva Veda is considered to be one of the prime tantric scriptures. Tantra also means the scripture by which the light of knowledge is spread, i.e., tanyate vistaryate jnanam anamna it tantram.
Basically, there are two schools of Indian scriptures, which are the Agama and the Nigama.
The Agama scriptures feature revelations while the Nigama scriptures feature the traditions. Tantra is an Agama, and hence it’s referred to as Sruti Shakhavisesah.
In total, there are 18 Agamas, which are also known as Shiva Tantras; they’re ritualistic in nature. There are 3 main Nigamas, which include Dakshina, Vama, and Madhyama. These traditions represent the 3 powers of Shiva characterized by the 3 Gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, respectively.
The Tantric Practice
Tantra gives us a vision that enables us to take the different colorful threads, i.e., wisdom, creativity, consciousness, and spiritual techniques, and delicately weave an exquisite rainbow loom.
This loom that we use to cloak our spirits in the bliss of the sensual human experience. The loom that a person chooses to weave is based purely on their own experience.
Tantra invites us to slowly absorb the present moment as we sip and taste the many nectar notes within the human experience.
Through Tantra, we can connect more intimately with our bodies and breathe to embody our own unique essence further. In a nutshell, Tantra is the living in harmony within and without; it refers to the merging of opposites: light and dark, heaven and earth, feminine and masculine, sun and moon.
Although Tantra is expressed in different cultures and lineages, its origin is still questionable. However, the practices are believed to have been developed by people who were “Tantric cults” and did not belong in the mainstream.
Tantrism is an overarching term for “Tantric traditions” created by Europeans in the 19th century to refer to an accumulated source of practices and ideas in the Indian traditions from varied sources.
Tantrism is a systematic quest for salvation that gives its followers the freedom to combine Tantric with non-Tantric aspects.
The main elements of Buddhist and Hindu Tantrism are:
Geometric Temple Layout
The above-listed elements are not universal or compulsory. The variants depend on the lineage and text from which one is born.
When most people hear about Tantra Yoga, they think about sex. On the contrary, Tantra yoga is far beyond mere sex. It is a branch of yoga representing the dynamic and static principles of the universe: Shiva and Shakti.
Tantra yoga seeks to balance human instincts to understand the continual play between these two principles to reach enlightenment.
This form of meditation is believed to have originated from India in the 5th century AD. It’s built on the principle of wisdom, true knowledge, and awareness of oneself and all worldly concepts.
Through Tantra yoga, we can attain a wider scope of vision, opinions, and understanding. Tantra yoga opens up our minds, bodies, and souls to a whole new level of peace and serenity.
This ancient practice is a powerful combination of rituals such as:
Visualization of deities
Physical and Ritual Cleansing
All the above-listed rituals are used to build strength, clarity, and bliss to help us move through the world in our everyday life with more contentment. These rituals encourage its participants to build up kundalini energy in the top chakras, so it “spills from the top.”
Tantra yoga helps people to get in touch with their own body and energy. As a result, their sex lives are improved.
This type of yoga helps us explore the subtle energies within our bodies to enhance spiritual growth and physical well-being. Working on these energies helps us to understand the purpose of life in a new dimension.
The 3 main reasons why we practice Tantra yoga are:
To bring merge the spiritual and material worlds.
The main idea behind Tantra yoga is to weave together the different yoga practices and spiritual teachings to connect with others and the universe.
When we practice Tantra yoga, we can get in touch with who we are, achieve what we want, and deepen our relationships. The practice takes the whole body into account and focuses on 5 different bodies:
The physical body
The energetic body
The mental or emotional body
The wisdom body
The bliss body
Every one of these bodies has its own weaknesses and its own strengths; these are often buried deep down.
Through Tantra yoga, we can bring them all to the surface and, therefore, stop responding unconsciously and gain control over our desires.
What's The Point of Tantra Yoga?
Tantra enhances one’s sex life since its practices are founded on the principle of intimacy. Considering that intimacy is not entirely physical, it wouldn’t be right for the word “Tantra” to only conjure up sexuality scenes alone.
The main purpose of Tantra yoga is to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing and, at the same time, aid their spiritual and physical health (read more about Top 15 Yoga Health Benefits). Tantra yoga also shows us exactly what is blocking us from thriving; it then gives us solutions to attain spiritual and material prosperity.
Tantra yoga may be practiced individually or together with other people. In both scenarios, the relationship between the self and others is improved.
Neo-Tantra is also referred to as Navatantra or “American Tantric Yoga.” The word refers to a westernized version of Tantra that is usually associated with new religions.
This includes both New Age and modern Western interpretations of traditional Hinduism and Buddhism Tantra.
Neo-tantra is believed to have been spun from ancient and traditional principles that have been fused with western relaxation concepts and meditation techniques.
Also, not all of the Indian tantric elements are used in Neo-Tantra, particularly the reliance on a guru. As Tantra’s interest has grown in the West, its perception deviates remarkably from the Tantric traditions. It is now seen as a “cult of ecstasy” that combines sexuality and spirituality to correct Western repressive attitudes towards sex.
The creators of Neo-Tantra have come up with a wide range of pyramids that are used for meditation. These pyramids are based on sacred geometry and often feature a focal point in their design.
As Tantra and Neo-Tantra became more popular in the West, it has become identified with Western culture’s sexual methods. As a result, its essential nature as a spiritual practice is overlooked. The roles of sexuality in both Tantra and Neo-Tantra are quite different, although they are, to some extent, related.
One way in which Neo-tantra differs from Tantra yoga is that the former is more modern and less physically challenging. It’s, therefore, less risky for a person to sustain injuries.
One major similarity between these two differ is that they both encourage techniques that allow couples to work together to build a more fulfilling relationship.
Tantric Sexology for Beginners
Tantric practices not only improve one’s love life but their overall health as well. It helps one channel all their sexual energy into a focal point so that none of it escapes from the body during orgasm. Here are some tips to guide anyone who would like to try out this ancient art of sexual intimacy:
1. Design an Intimate Space
The area should create a comfortable setting where you are able to relax. Make sure that space is clean, decorated with flowers, and scented with natural oils like rose or jasmine.
The bed should have comfortable sheets with cozy pillows. In addition to all that, play some soft music in the background to set the mood.
2. Breathe Each Other's Breath
One of the easiest ways of getting in sync with your partner is by harmonizing your breath. Inhale your partner’s breath when they exhale and vice versa. By breathing each other’s breath, you are sharing all of yourself with your partner.
3. Keep Your Eyes Open
Keeping your eyes open during lovemaking is a great way of maintaining a deep connection during intimacy. Sharing glimpses during the act creates a profound experience.
4. Take It Slow
Foreplay is an essential part of Tantra yoga. It helps men to control longevity and piques women’s arousal. The more time you spend on foreplay, the longer the session will last, and the more energy will build up.
Tantra Yoga Poses
Tantra yoga poses are a good way to expand one’s capacity for intimacy and union. It doesn’t really matter whether you practice by yourself or with your partner. Tantra yoga helps us to conquer any behaviors that hold us back from the intimacy we desire.
Below is a list of 12 popular Tantra yoga poses that help individuals and partners achieve a deeper connection. Hopefully, these poses will increase your partner’s bond, and you can communicate in a nonverbal way.
You can modify the exercises depending on your level of flexibility. Alternatively, you can start with the simpler poses as you progress to the more complicated poses.
This pose helps in stretching and strengthening the core muscles, i.e., those in the lower back and abdominals.
To perform the boat ride, you sit on the floor while facing each other with your partner. Your arms should be outside your legs and reaching out for your partner’s hands. Start with bent knees and lift your legs to place the soles of your feet against the soles of your partner.
Feel free to modify the pose, depending on your flexibility and comfort level. The most important things that you should focus on are touch and eye contact. Breathe in and out slowly.
To perform this pose, bring your knees wide to the edges of the mat. It would help if you then folded forward so that your forehead rests on the mat. Extend your arms outstretched overhead but make sure that they’re still resting on the mat.
When performed with a partner, your heads should be pointed towards each other. You can connect your palms with your partner to share your essence with your partner as you inhale and exhale.
Start in a seated position with your legs crossed. If you’re practicing by yourself, ensure that your index fingers’ tips touch the tips of the thumb while the other three fingers remain extended. The palms should face upwards and be resting on your knees.
If you are practicing with a partner, sit in a back to back position with each other so that your spines align. Take deep breaths as you focus on smoothing out the length of the inhale to match the length of the exhale.
The dancer’s pose focuses on balance, eye contact, and touch. Start in a standing position as you face each other and hold hands. Your other free hand should either reach out for your ankle or shin and bring your leg up. Slowly lean your upper body towards your partner, all the while maintaining eye contact.
If the balance is an issue, you can have one of you do the pose while the other person holds them to assist with balance.
The Yab Yum pose helps couples to keep their energies aligned. The larger partner (usually the man) sits with their legs crossed on a comfortable mat while the other person sits on their thighs and crosses her legs behind the partner’s back. While in this position, ensure that your foreheads touch
And you breathe slowly and deeply in a synchronized manner. Both your backs should remain as straight as possible.
You can do the Yab Yum pose with your eyes closed or open to connect on a whole new level. It all depends on what is more comfortable for you.
Start in a standing position on the yoga mat. If you are by yourself, you can practice in front of a mirror; if you’re with a partner, you can either practice standing side by side or facing each other. Bring palms to meet at the center. Alternatively, you could place one of your hands on your heart and the one on your partner’s heart.
As you take deep breaths, extend your arms overhead and bow forward. Keep your heart open as you gaze forward and release your head into a forward fold.
To practice this pose, lie on your back and have your partner do the same next to you. Alternatively, you can both sit facing each other with your legs crossed. Then place the palm of your hand over each other’s heart and feel the heartbeats. While in this position, assume slow and harmonized breathing.
Modified Side Plank Pose
Start with your wrists aligned under shoulders, hands spread wide, and hips stacked over knees.
For this pose, lightly touch the crown of the head with one another. Then extend your right shins to your back, toes curled under as you root right hand into the mat, and open your chests towards one another.
Before you get started on the Pelvic Tilt pose, gently place one of your hands over your tailbone area. Inhale and then lift your tailbone towards the ceiling, while at it, tuck your pelvis towards the ground.
While you inhale and lift your tailbone, open up your chest region towards the ceiling and draw your shoulder blades together. During exhale, tuck the chest region and draw your shoulders together in front of your chest.
The seated twist pose improves your partner’s connection and warms up your spine, and enhances flexibility.
Now hold each other’s opposite hands. To achieve this position, bend sideways facing opposite directions. Hold the position for a while and change positions.
This restorative pose with your partner in Child’s pose with their arms extending out and relaxed. Sit on their hips while facing away from them. Lean back and allow your spine to follow the curve of his. Then raise your legs in the air and hold the position. Switch positions with your partner and repeat.
Downward Facing Dog
To practice the downward-facing dog, bend backward in such a way that you have your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
Then spread your palms wide and turn your toes. As you exhale, extend your feet up so that your tailbone faces the ceiling.
The downward-facing dog pose is quite relaxing and stimulates blood flow to the brain. While practicing, have your partner support you. After a while, switch positions with your partner.
How to Ensure You Get a Great Experience While Practicing The Poses
Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind when practicing the poses listed above:
Communicate beforehand; tell each other what you’re both comfortable with. Be open and share your feelings with your partner.
Establish a strong non-verbal connection with your partner
Always be supportive and patient with each other.
Explore and try out new things together
If you’re struggling with flexibility and balance, it is okay to modify the poses a little bit
Always choose quality over quantity. Spend whatever little time you have together well.
Don’t have any expectations or perceived notions.
A consistent mental presence is mandatory.
Lastly, never jump to conclusions or assume anything
Benefits of Practicing Tantra Yoga and Sex
Tantric sex has a rejuvenating effect that gets rid of stress and depression. It alters body chemistry and empowers the endocrine glands to secrete more HGH, DHEA, serotonin, and testosterone.
In addition to that, it also improves blood circulation, detoxifies the body through breath, and strengthens the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous system.
Tantric meditation is a type of meditation that awakens an individual’s consciousness enabling them to achieve purity of the body and soul.
These meditations are dynamic and high-energy powered; their main goal is to release Shakti energy to flow up the spine to the crown chakra. Freeing the dormant energy (known as Kundalini) through Tantric meditation awakens the entire body and consciousness.
Tantric meditation techniques are intended to raise energy and invite the energy centers along the spine to open, bringing tangible benefits. Tantric meditation can take different forms to take you further on your personal and spiritual development journey.
Let us have a look at the two Tantric meditation techniques:
1. The Third Eye Meditation
The third eye meditation allows the free circulation of energy along the spine by increasing heaven’s awareness without losing the earth’s connection. It enables the Crown Chakra and the Third Eye Chakra to open up so that sanctified power may get into the body.
Third Eye Meditation Steps
Sit comfortably and lengthen your spine as you inhale
Picture your head as though it’s being pulled towards the sky in a straight line
Picture your head as though it’s being pulled towards the sky in a straight line
While keeping the spine upright, exhale and push your tailbone downwards
Maintain a regular breathing pattern and keep your chin parallel to the floor
Position your tongue at the roof of your mouth and picture a bright ball sitting at the middle of your forehead, representing your third eye
While breathing in through your nose, spin the ball to the top of your head all the way through the spine up to the tailbone. All along, recite the word “hung” in your mind.
Again, breathe out and let the ball come up your spine, over your head to the middle of your forehead. All along, recite the word “Sau” in your mind.
2. The Light Meditation
This meditation technique focuses on light and relies heavily on one’s imagination. The light meditation technique borrows many of its aspects from Nyasa, which is an ancient tantric custom. The technique allows you to either touch a certain body part or feels it using mental imagery.
Sit in an upright position and focus fully on your breathing motions and bodily sensations.
Visualize your left foot forged from a warm, golden light. Move towards the light and perceive its feeling with the brightness getting all over your body from the sole to the toes.
Feel both your left ankle and your right ankle
As you walk, make sure that your steps are synchronized with your breathing.
Imagine that the light has filled the left calf up to the bone. After, switch to the right calf.
Let the light rise and perfectly brighten up your midriff. At this point, whisper that “My gut is made of light.”
Feel the light rise up from your lower spine as it brightens up your heart, lungs, and rib cage. Whisper that, “my chest is full of golden light.”
Allow the light to creep into your arms all the way to the fingertips.
Feel the golden light illuminate your face and allow it to get into your mouth and ears to light up your brain
Chant, “I am light.”
Tantric Buddhism is also known as Vajrayana (diamond vehicle). It is considered to be one of the three main vehicles (yanas) of Buddhism alongside Mahayana (great vehicle) and Hinayana (small vehicle). It mainly focuses on mystical practices and concepts as a path to enlightenment.
According to Tantric Buddhism, deities are not spirits to be worshipped but are representatives of the yogi’s inner form. For this reason, Tantric Buddhism is also referred to as Deity yoga. The yogi uses rituals, meditations, mandalas, and other practices to realize himself as a deity through which enlightenment is manifested.
Buddhist Tantra is believed to have been expounded by the historical Buddha by teaching how to transform pleasures into transcendent realization. It’s also speculated that Mahayana teachers in India developed tantra.
Some of the symbols used in Tantric Buddhism are quite confusing to people who see them for the first time. Here are some of the major symbols:
1. The Vajra
This symbol features a combination of a weapon and a scepter. It represents the quality of indestructibility. The Vajra is held in the right hand during rituals.
2. The Bell
This symbolizes insight, emptiness, and the female aspect. It represents the sound of the Dharma and is used to offer sound in rituals. The Bell is held in the left hand during rituals.
Other Tantric Buddhism Symbols
The mala/rosary which is used for concentration
The skull-cup which symbolizes disengagement from the world
Swords which represent knowledge and intelligence
The curved knife which symbolizes the impermanence
The ritual dagger which symbolizes the transformation of negative powers on the path to enlightenment
Hammers/mallets which represent the crushing strength
The bow and arrow represent single-pointed concentration. The arrow on its own is a symbol of longevity and prosperity.
The lasso which represents a constraint of negative forces
Learn everything you need to know about mandala meaning
Mandala, often pronounced as “mah-ndah-lah,” is a powerful spiritual symbol used in ceremonial rituals, worship, sacred art, and meditation. Mandalas are used by both Hindus and Buddhists to represent the universe. The name is derived from two different words, “la” and “manda”, which mean container and essence.
The most basic form comprises a square with four gates in the shape of a T and a circle with a central point. However, a mandala may embody other geometrical shapes such as triangles and polygons to form a labyrinth disc that has a symbolic meaning.
Symbolism of Mandala
Mandalas are rich in symbolism in Hinduism and Buddhism; they evoke a deep aspect in both religions’ teachings. As the monks create the mandala, they impart the Buddha’s teachings. To unlock the hidden meaning of mandala symbols, one needs a much deeper understanding.
On the mandala structure, there is a square temple that is surrounded by several concentric circles. The outer circle resembles a ring of fire and symbolizes the way humans are transformed before they can enter the interior.
The second outermost circle is made out of diamond and symbolizes indestructibility. After that, the next circle is of the eight graveyards.
This circle represents all the aspects of human consciousness through which humans are bound to the cycle of rebirth. The inner circle is made using lotus leaves, which are a symbol of religious rebirth.
At the center, there is a dot over which there’s an image of the chief deity. This is symbolism to show that the chief deity is the center of the universe and has no dimensions.
The square temple contains the essence of the Buddha. Within the structure is a palace that is for the resident deities. The temple has four gates, which are a representation of the following ideologies:
The four directions, i.e., north, south, east, and west
The four boundless thoughts, i.e., sympathy, compassion, loving-kindness, and equanimity.
Another symbol that is used in the mandala is a bell, which represents feminine energy.
The sacred meaning of mandala
It represents a sacred area that serves as a collection point for Hindu gods and a receptor for universal forces. Several gods occupy a specific position in the figure, making the structure of the mandala highly elaborate.
These images are formed from deep within our unconscious mind. Therefore, it can represent a dream in the psychoanalysis and search for self-unity and completeness.
When one mentally enters a mandala’s center, the person is symbolically given a tour through the cosmos to reality’s essence. The mandala symbolizes the totality of existence, both the inner and the outer.
The whole process of constructing a mandala is considered to be a very sacred and meditative ritual. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete.
When monks construct a mandala, it helps them to participate in the Buddha’s teachings. However, before monks can participate in the construction of mandalas, they must go through a lengthy period of artistic and philosophical study. This takes approximately 3 years.
A mandala is an essential image in Tibetan Buddhism; it’s made with careful placement of colored sand known as dua-tson-kyil-khor in Tibetan.
A mandala may also be constructed using bronze or 3-D stone figures, as seen in China and Japan. Some are also created using computer graphics, but they are often not considered sacred since non-Buddhists create them.
Generally, a mandala is constructed outward from the center where there is a dot. With the placement of this dot at the center, the mandala is consecrated to a particular deity. The deity is often depicted in an image over the center dot.
For purely geometric mandalas, the lines are drawn through the center to the four corners. This results in triangular geometric patterns. These lines are then used to construct a square palace with four gates and four quadrants assigned to the four monks.
While constructing the mandala, the monks work outwards to a series of concentric circles. They work in tandem, moving around the mandala. Since they move outwardly together to ensure that balance is maintained, they have to wait upon each other until each section is entirely completed.
While some mandalas are painted after they’ve been constructed, some are deliberately destroyed afterward.
Mandala drawing - How to draw your own mandala?
Drawing a mandala is a valuable stress-relieving pass time. It helps one to get in touch with their inner self and find their innermost desires through the journey of self-discovery.
The mandala that you draw could symbolize something that you want to achieve in life. It also has the potential to change how we see ourselves and our purpose to live.
In addition to it being deeply meditative, drawing a mandala unleashes our inner artist. Other benefits of drawing your own mandala include emotional stability, mental clarity, calm, and an increased sense of well being, understanding, and wholeness.
Before you can get started drawing your own mandala, you need to understand how they’re generally drawn. A mandala usually has one focal point at its center.
It is from this point that different shapes and designs emerge. All these are dependent on what’s going on in the drawer’s mind and can be anything that makes sense to them at that particular moment in time.
Here are the materials you need for you to draw your own mandala:
A piece of paper or manila
A pencil and an eraser
A pen or permanent marker to trace over the pencil lines
A ruler for drawing lines
A compass and protractor for drawing the circles. If you don’t have a compass, you could use round jar lids to make the circles.
Lastly, it would be best if you had coloring pencils.
After you have gathered your materials, it’s now time to get started. Alternatively, instead of using a piece of paper, you could use a piece of fabric and decorate t with embroidery to make a beautiful mandala design.
Follow these steps to draw your own mandala:
Find an adequate working surface in an undisturbed area that has a minimal disturbance. The peace ensures that your creative juices keep flowing undisturbed.
Get comfortable and make sure that you are relaxed.
Create a purpose for your drawing. Do you want to express your feelings? Do you want to get in touch with your unconscious mind? Or do you want to draw the mandala for meditative purposes?
Start by drawing a perfect square on the black canvas using a pencil and ruler. After taking precise measurements, put a dot in the exact center of the square.
To help you achieve symmetry, split the image that you have just drawn into two. This will make it so much easier for you to create balance by drawing on one side that you drew on the other side.
Draw circles around the central dot using the compass to make them perfect and neat.
Make other dots that are an equal distance away from the center. These new dots should enclose the original central dot so that they make a perfect circle when they’re joined. Draw other circles around these new dots
Within the figure are blank sections that you can fill with whatever pattern on the symbol that you like. Just draw whatever design that comes to mind.
After you’re done with the drawing, and you really like the outcome, you can now color your mandala as you see fit.
Drawing mandala easily
Another way to draw mandalas is through software called OmniGeometry (we are an affiliate). You can make as many mandalas as you like and for any purpose. You can make coloring pages; you can choose to draw a tattoo and basically any geometric formation you choose, not just mandalas. You are, of course, welcome to learn more about the software capabilities at the attached link.
Coloring the mandala
It’s so much fun coloring a mandala. After you’ve drawn it, you might consider coloring it for a great finish.
The different colors used all have different meanings. Below are some meanings of the colors used. These should put you in a better position to choose the colors that resonate with your intentions.
Yellow stands for joy, laughter, and happiness.
Orange is for creativity, transformation, and self-awareness.
Red represents strength, high energy, and passion.
Pink is for gentleness, love, and femininity.
Purple is for spirituality and mystery.
Violet is for intuition and insight.
Blue is for inner peace, meditation, and healing.
Green is for physical healing, psychic ability, connection, and the love of nature.
White is for purity, consciousness, and truth.
Black is for power, deep thinking, and shadow work.
Here are some instructions to help you create a colorful manifestation mandala:
The first one is quite obvious; you need to have some coloring pencils ready.
Next, you need to have a settled mind to focus on the colors. If it helps, play some relaxing music to set the mood.
Choose the colors that you feel are helpful for your purpose following the above-listed meanings.
Let the coloring flow; allow it to connect you with yourself and to inspire you. The colors should be allowed to come to you effortlessly. Do not force anything.
If you feel inspired to use different colors on your mandala, flow with it. The colors that you use infuse your mandala with even greater meaning and symbolism.
As you continue to color your mandala, focus only on how you feel as you ultimately achieve your goal. If you feel distracted in any way, take a few minutes to relax by taking deep breaths. Continue coloring only when the energy connection comes back.
After you’re done coloring the mandala, look at it to feel its energy. Examine it keenly to see if there are any elements that you might have missed while creating it. It’s a good sign to affirm that you were in the right intuition, if there are any.
Put the final image somewhere you will be able to see it daily. For example, you could have it as a wall hanging or as your screen saver for your phone/ laptop. This way, it’ll work its powerful magic on your life every day.
The mandala color deeper meaning
Colors have a special way of impacting the way we see things and the way we think. They hold different functions in the Buddhist spiritual art; this is especially so when used in mandalas.
The Buddhism color theory states that color is a concept of enlightenment usually represented by pure light. There are six main colors in the religious texts, five of which (all of them apart from black) represent the Buddha’s five personifications. All five colors are present in nature.
White: rest, peace, and contemplation
Yellow: Nourishment and restraint
Blue: Healing, wisdom, and life
Black: Anger and death
The five Buddha families and their colors
The five main colors that are used in mandalas correspond with the 5 Buddhas and their families. The concept of the “Five Buddha Families” is a great way of developing our minds to a higher consciousness level.
Each of the families embodies one of the five aspects of enlightenment: the neurotic states of our minds in anger, jealousy, ignorance, pride, and arrogance.
The 5 Buddha Families and their colors are as follows:
This is the head of the Buddha family. Vairochana is a white Buddha and sometimes blue.
This is the head of the Vajra family. Askshobhya is the blue Buddha and sometimes white.
This is the head of the Ratna or the jewel family. Ratnasambhaba is a yellow Buddha.
This is the head of the Padma or the lotus family. Amitabha is a red Buddha.
This is the head of the karma or action family. Amoghasiddhi is a green Buddha.
What are the uses of a mandala?
From the mandala meaning, we can tell that they carry their own special kind of vibration energy. They can, therefore, be used to enhance one’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
Their design virtually absorbs the mind and engulfs our thoughts with a special spiritual essence that takes the observer to a higher consciousness level. In some way, the mandala induces hypnosis. The mandala has quite several uses. In this section, we’ll have a look at two of its main uses:
Mandalas are primarily used as a symbol for concentration and meditation. They help us find a way for ourselves to be more aware of who we are and our purpose in life. Meditation enables us to cultivate and find peace within our hearts.
While focusing on the mandala, allow your mind to wander. It almost feels as though you have fallen into the colors and started swimming in the patterns. During this time, you experience some lightness.
If you have a relaxed demeanor whilst still focusing on the mandala, it means that you achieved what you intended.
Psychologists and counselors also use the mandala as a creative tool during therapies. The mandala technique allows the patients to create a mandala out of literally anything, e.g., sand and clay.Mandalas are a great healing source and offer patients different levels of awareness to get more in touch with their feelings.
The therapist may either let you draw the mandala and color it or color one that has already been drawn for you. Coloring the mandala had numerous health benefits for both kids and adults. Some of them include:
Overall stress reduction due to less cortisol production (cortisol is a stress hormone)
Better and longer concentration span
Improved fine motor movements of the hands
A reduced pulse rate
Lower heart rate and blood pressure
More production and release of feel-good hormones
Tips for a mandala for therapy
Besides its pattern, the meaning of a mandala is majorly dependent on its color. As seen previously, coloring a mandala brings a bunch of health benefits. We give you tips to experiment and have fun while coloring a mandala for therapeutic purposes.
After you have already chosen your pattern, decide what coloring medium you’re going to use.
Do the coloring in layers. Start by filling in a shape with a light shade, then go back over it again as many time as you would like until it achieves the shade you like
Alternatively, you can use two differently-colored pencils and blend them to achieve the desired color.
Always apply little pressure on the coloring pencil to avoid breaking the tip.
If you color outside the lines, use a white colored pencil to cover it up. These pencils will also help you fill in the valleys left behind while you were coloring.
Another great tip would be to use a colorless blender. This blender does not have any pigment; it functions to go over the already colored parts to remove any excess color or even the colors.
Always keep in mind that there is no right or wrong color for the therapy. The color combinations that you choose are entirely up to you.
Facts about mandala
Mandalas symbolize the universe. This means that a mandala can be drawn in any form of art as long as it’s in a circle; one does not need to have a degree to draw a mandala. The underlying idea is to try and discover yourself while you draw. Here are some impressive facts about mandalas to help you understand them better:
Mandalas are common among two religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. They have also been seen in different philosophies.
Mandalas are of great importance in several traditions and spiritual rituals. Today, they’re used for therapeutic and healing purposes. Mandalas have been used to bring calm and to hypnotize during meditation. The idea is to be able to find internal peace through drawing.
3. Shapes and forms
While most mandalas are depicted with squares, they are solely founded on circles. Basically, circles are drawn from the focal point to relieve stress and any internal disturbance. The square has four gates, which form a T shape.
4. The empires
Some of the empires recognized as mandalas are Majapahit, Srivijava, Khmer, Champs, Bagan, and Ayutthaya.
5. The five deities and mandala
The “Five Deity Mandala” was created in the 17th century. It was first seen in a Tibetan painting. In the middle, there is the Rakta Yamari, also referred to as the enemy of death. At the corners, there are the other four deities: the Yellow, Green, White, and the Red Yamaris.
6. Different forms
The mandala comes in a wide array of forms. One of them is the “Stupa” that is spotted across the world in monasteries. The other form is “sandpainting,” which is a traditional depiction of the mandala. The sandpainting has Mt. Meru at its center, and around it is the different continents.
Mandalas allow you to engage in a journey of self-discovery. This is especially important for anyone who may feel lost and would like to engage in an artistic activity.
There really aren’t any restrictions surrounding how a mandala may be represented. You may draw it on a piece of paper, on the sand, on fabric, on murals, or on any other place that you find appropriate.
Also, a mandala is used to represent wisdom in the universe. Analyzing it keenly makes you realize a hidden message within from different souls present in the mandala.
While it’s possible to create mandalas from anything, and sometimes without a purpose, there usually should be an intention behind it. It would be best if you didn’t create such art without a purpose.
People mostly draw mandalas to express their feelings. The intention is to use the abstract form of art to bring about insight for its viewers.
10. Leisure and fun
Mandalas engage its drawers and viewers in a spiritual and self-discovering experience. Moreover, they are also drawn for utter fun and leisure. This means that you can draw a simple figure that will help you relax, which does not require much thought.
Types of mandalas
Mandalas come in different types, forms, and varieties. The two basic types of mandalas are the:
Garbha-dhatu which translates to “womb world” in Sanskrit. In Japanese, it’s known as taizo-kai and means “in which the movement is from the one to the many.”
Vajra-that, which translates to the “diamond world” in Sanskrit. In Japanese, it’s known as Kongo-kai and means “from the many into one.”
Other mandalas types:
1. Architectural mandala
Most of the buildings in Tibet and the Himalayas use mandalas to inspire the designs. The architecture of large stupa structures such as the Jonang Monastery Stupa and the Gyantse Stupa are examples of the architectural mandala.
Architectural mandalas are also evident in the design of some mosques and cathedrals. Basically, their structures feature a central pole around which other conical shapes are built. In some buildings, the pole may represent the axis of the world.
2. Aztec mandala
This mandala represents the written form of communication that was previously used by the Aztecs. The Aztec mandala or calendar has a complex design with an equally complex meaning.
The most popular Aztec mandala is the massive Aztec stone calendar that was dedicated to the sun god. It measures 12 ft long and 3 ft thick. The Aztec mandala features common cultural symbols; each represents a god that rules that time.
According to their culture, the weather was very vital since it regulated the days and their crops. Some of the symbols representing the weather were:
The Wind was one of the creations of the gods and is a symbol of cleverness. He is also referred to as the god Ehacatl. Trees were created when Ehacatle fell in love with a mortal.
The light was also another creation of god and symbolized the warriors. There was also Tezcatlipoca, who was the god of twilight and, at the same time, the god of the North.
The rain was not only beneficial to the rain forest but also brought healing.
The Storm was also a creation goddess called Chalcihuilicue. She ruled the storms, the streams, the rivers, the seas, and baptism. Chalcihuilicue translates to “she of the Jade skirt.”
Earthquake symbolized practical in an area that had active volcanoes. Since they take time to erupt, they’re compared to great scholars.
Here are other symbols on the Aztec mandala and what they represent:
Flowers which represent dancing
Flint, which represents movement, was used to create fires, weapons, and other tools
Knives were common tools in the culture and symbolized self-sufficiency in a romantic way
Reeds that they harvested from the marshes represented something knowledgeable
Grass represented something useful. The Aztecs used grass to weave their mats
Skulls represented change
Jaguars symbolized a great hunter who kills with a single blow
Deer symbolized nomadic movement and cooperation in a group
Rabbits meant clever and playful
Lizards meant dynamic and active
The Ocelot represented solitude, secrets, and intelligence
Crocodiles represent a sea monster with an insatiable appetite that emerges to create the cosmos. The Aztec community referred to the crocodile as Cipactli. To them, the crocodile also offered protection.
3. Bodhi mandala
The term “Bodhimandala” is used in Buddhism to mean “circle of awakening” and refers to the area where a bodhisattva attains full enlightenment to become a Buddha. The concept of the Bodhi mandala adapts a virtual reality aspect.
The fact that Bodhi mandalas are virtual means that they can only be constructed in cyberspace. They are constructed block by block by anyone as long as they have an internet connection. In some instances, grains are used instead of blocks.
The virtual Bodhi mandala comprises 8,400 blocks, and whoever likes it can adopt the blocks as long as they’re available. Adopting a block is the same as purchasing a “space.”
4. Body mandala
Unlike other mandalas, the body mandala is so different; it’s full of percussion and rhythmic dynamism. Basically, the body mandala is a recreation and idealization of the human body. The parts are imagined to be parts of the mandala in which Buddhas and other deities abide.
The body mandala theory depicts the human body and its senses, organs, veins, and nervous system as a pure entity. Painted depictions of the human body as mandalas can be found in the Hindu, Buddhist, Bon, and Taoist religions.
In Tantric Buddism, the body mandala was used as a spiritual teacher to teach in the major Anuttarayoga systems of practice such as Guhyasamaja, Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara, and Hevajra Tantras.
The body mandala comprises of the mother tantra and the father tantra. In the latter, the body mandala shows the gross body, i.e., the limbs, arms and legs, the elements, and the aggregates. These body parts are generated as parts of the building and the different Buddha-figures.
In the mother tantra, the body parts are generated as the subtle energy system’s different channels transformed into the deities and the palace. The mother tantra mainly emphasizes the deities.
5. Butterfly mandala
The butterfly mandala’s design is centered on the insect’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to when it becomes a butterfly. The butterfly mandala is symbolic of one’s ability to move gracefully from one past into a new state.
The butterfly symbolism is also centered on transcendence and personal growth. Our life is so much similar to that of a butterfly. We spend the early years of our lives in the “caterpillar” stage but slowly and gracefully, we transform into a new situation.
Butterflies symbolize the embodiment of the divine feminine that opens our energies to the way of life. They are filled with so much grace and tenderness.
The butterfly mandala encourages us to meditate and to let go of any fears that we might have. This is a healthy way of letting go of emotional pain; it takes time, but it’s very effective in forgetting the past injustices.
Generally, the butterfly mandala symbolizes our ability to pursue change and growth in the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of our lives.
Moreover, these pieces impart a source of beauty, grace, and tenderness. Natural gemstones are added to the jewelry to enhance their healing and transition effects further.
The color options for butterflies on mandala art and jewelry are unlimited. The process of coloring a mandala is quite therapeutic and has been shown to help a person move on from their past.
Butterfly mandala tattoos have become commonplace, with most people combining tattoos with other images to give their symbolism a deeper meaning. For example, they use the butterfly mandala and a lotus or a feather to represent a free and limitless spirit.
Jewelry and art that are made using butterfly mandalas express a person’s readiness to embrace change. They remind us to stay strong throughout the process so that our efforts may bear fruits.
6. Celtic mandala
Over the past couple of years, Celtic mandalas have gained popularity as more and more people seek to create a connection with their ancestors.
The desire to learn about the ancient way of life and the overall meaning has greatly influenced their increase in popularity.
There are different types of Celtic mandalas, all of which contain a central point with the symbols contained on the inside of the outermost circle. To create a more attractive design, all you need to do is repeat the patterns around the circle. Some of the most common types of Celtic mandalas are:
Celtic Knots. These represent the spirit’s timeless nature and teach us more about the birth and rebirth in the physical and the spiritual realm. The Celtic knot not only sharpens our understanding of our ancestors but also enhances our ability to see how our actions affect those who are around us.
Celtic Spiral. This symbolizes spiritual awareness and understanding. It also enhances positive energy and our desire to share it with other people.
Triquetra. This is a symbol with three corners, and it’s used to represent the holy trinity. It is used to bring us closer to God. Modern believers equate the Triquetra with the unity between the mind, body, and spirit.
Celtic mandalas can be found on decorative posters, key holders, tapestry, glasswork, and dome clothes’ designs.
7. Christian mandala
Mandalas are mostly associated with Buddhism and other religions in Asia. The Christian mandala is a sacred image that they use to connect to the spiritual realm.
Alternatively, in Christian architecture, a circular shape is cut out of the building’s top to let light and air. The opening opens up to the sky and symbolizes a direct connection between the earthly and the spiritual realm.
Some famous Christian mandala designs feature rosaries, crowns, halo, the communion wafers, the apse part of a church, and some baptismal font designs.
A common feature among all these symbols is that they have a circular shape. This round shape, just like in other mandalas, represents the universe.
8. Circle mandala
The circle is the heart of all mandalas. Circle mandala designs have a wide variety of meanings; adding new circles inside a mandala gives it a whole new meaning.
The purpose of having a circle within the mandala is so that the viewers are drawn inside and feel as though they’re inside the mandala. This phenomenon is common in all circles. That is why mandalas are built using this concept.
Circle mandalas are very helpful to help people concentrate and focus more when they’re meditating. The circle mandala symbolizes the oneness and wholeness of the divinity incarnate in man. The circles may also be perceived to represent completion or a new beginning. Circle mandala art is available in a wide variety of color combinations and unlimited patterns.
This flexibility gives a drawer so much freedom to express themselves by creating any design they like. Coloring a circle mandala has great therapeutic effects. You can color using pencils, crayons, pastels, or even charcoal.
Circle mandala patterns can be seen embedded in art, sculptures, jewelry, paintings, and tattoos. The patterns can either be complex or simple, and the colors can either be bold or muted. All these depend on a person’s preferences.
9. Ceiling mandala
Ceiling mandalas are usually seen on the ceilings of holy structures such as temples. Besides them being colorful and decorative, they’re also believed to offer blessings and protections.
Ceiling mandalas are an amazing way of adding pops of color to your ceiling in the living room or the bedroom. These accessories come in many styles and are perfect for transforming a room.
10. Cosmological & Geographical Mandala
The Cosmological and Geographical mandala is symbolic of the four continents alongside Mt. Sumeru, the universe, various types of cosmology, sacred realms, and pure lands like Tushita, Sukhavati, Shambhala, or Medicine Buddha Pureland. The mandala features a cosmic diagram illustrating the Indo-Himalayan imagery.
In the middle of the mandala is the mythological mountain, Mt. Sumeru. The mountain is represented by a pyramid that is upside-down with a lotus at the top. The lotus symbolizes purity. At the base of the mountain are a representation of the sun and the moon. A three-legged bird and the moon represent the sun by a rabbit.
11. Deity mandala
The deity mandala originates from the Indian Tantric literature, and its main purpose is for meditation. The deity mandala is used within the Tantric theory of Deity Yoga.
In the middle of the deity mandala is a principal figure that is surrounded by other figures. The term Deity is commonly used in Buddhism to refer to meditational deities and protectors.
There are 3 mandalas under the deity mandala. These are:
There are three main types of deity appearances based on their mood. These are described as follows in the Indian Sanskrit literature:
Peaceful – Devi
Semi-peaceful – Rishi
Deity mandalas are available in the form of amulets that offer wear protection. These are either worn on the leg or neck. The amulets can also be hung inside a car or on the door of a house.
12. Element Mandala
The mandalas of the elements are earth mandala, water mandala, fire mandala, wind mandala, and space mandala. These element mandalas are but just representations. The earth mandala is represented with a yellow square, the water with a white circle, the fire with a red half-circle, and the air with a blue triangle.
These five-element mandalas and their energies live within us. They’re connected to our chakras and correspond with colors, emotions, thinking styles, body types, character, and illnesses.
The mandala of elements is used to explain the relationship between diseases and their treatments. In the old Indian Ayurvedic, for example, the element mandala was the basis upon which their medicine was formed.
On the mandala, the elements are visualized to be underneath the world system and the palace. The visualization comes right after voidness meditation. This kind of meditation is done to understand what happens when we die than become reborn.
The mind gets to a clear state where it connects to higher levels of the elements. The representation of the element mandala underneath represents the purity of the highest level. During the visualization, the elements come from under the palace as clear light.
13. Figure mandala
As we saw earlier, figure mandala is a part of the deity mandala. The mandala positions the images of the real iconographic figures properly around the mandala and does so correctly.
There are two categories found under the figure mandala, which we’ll look at as we proceed. They are the:
14. Geometric mandala
Geometric mandalas are used for meditation to have a clearer view of life and creation in general. The mandalas are considered to be a gateway between the earthly realm and the divine realm.
When using the geometric mandala as a meditation tool, it’s recommended that you start with much simpler designs as you progress. Otherwise, starting with complex designs will only leave you frustrated. The geometric mandalas are filled with layers and patterns that have deep meanings. However, the circle remains to be the most basic shape in geometric mandalas.
Other shapes include the semi-circle, triangle, and square. These shapes may also be seen as representatives of the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air.
The geometric mandala has been useful in construction when building structures, especially those considered sacred. Besides the temples, churches, and mosques, the geometric mandala also inspired Egypt’s pyramids.
The design of geometric mandalas features:
A center from which the rest of the patterns radiate from
A torus refers to a combination of two circles that are rotated around the focal point
Triangles that fill up the inside. These infuse the mandala with the ancient wisdom of the Egyptians
The flower of life design. This design is formed when the circles which are of a similar size overlap.
Platonic solids. Polygons may also be used in the place of the platonic solids. Their purpose is generally to fill up the geometric mandala.
Lines. These break up the circles to simplify the design.
15. Healing mandala
The healing mandala design promotes deep reflection, relieves stress, and helps us to heal emotionally. Its design is often quite simple as it is intended to cultivate focus and peace that brings a sense of healing. If the designs were very complex, they wouldn’t invoke a feeling of calm.
For years, the mandala has been in use by therapists and counselors as a therapeutic tool. They usually indulge the patient in a coloring exercise to help them to relax. The whole point of this form of artistic expression is to encourage self-expression as you keep your mind clear from distractions.
An example of the healing mandala is the yin-yang symbol that has been proven to be very helpful when it comes to achieving balance in mind.
16. Heart mandala
The heart mandala has a heart at its center. The heart generally symbolizes attraction and love. It is also a symbol of femininity and sensuality, unity, and cohesion. The heart mandala symbol may represent the love between family members, partners, and friends.
The heart symbol has a strong connection to the triangle. For this reason, it is also said to be related to the element of water, which is represented as an inverted triangle. The relationship between the two signifies psychic perception.
The colors that are used to clarify the meaning of heart mandalas further are:
Green and pink signify a connection to the heart chakra
Red signifies a connection to the root/power chakra
Blue or blue-green signifies a connection to the water element. It enhances psychic perceptions as one meditates.
17. Henna mandala
To the general public, henna is a temporary method of tattoo application. However, Henna mandalas are a part of the ancient tradition of Mehndi in Africa, India, and the Middle East.
The art of the henna mandala has been around for a period of over 5000 years. In ancient times, henna was applied to the arms and legs to cool the body. The creation of henna mandalas started after their staining capabilities were discovered.
Even today, henna mandalas are still an important part of the traditions. The mehndi is still applicable in today’s ceremonies and celebrations. This practice is, in its own way, a tool of expression.
Once you have henna to work with, creating patterns can be so inspiring; there is no right or wrong way of creating a henna mandala.
18. Jung mandala
This mandala is named after the most well-known psychiatrist in history. To him, mandalas were provided for endless purposes in the treatment scenario.
His works in various forms of art therapy have paved the way for modern treatment with mandalas.
Jung used mandalas to develop psychoanalysis that relies on free expression. The expression in the form of art is a really effective way of breaking one’s defense mechanism during therapy.
These mandalas help patients connect with whatever internal process they may be struggling to get perspective on.
Today, Jung is known as the “father of the modern mandala.” After him, mandalas have been put in extensive use in modern creative art therapy.
19. Kalachakra Mandala
The Kalachakra mandala is found among the Kalachakra system, one of the last and most complex tantric systems brought from Tibet to India.
Kalachakra mandala is the sand mandala that is constructed using colored sand. The mandala is of an intricate nature; it represents a 3-D palace with 5 floors, which has symbols with very detailed meaning. Here’s what you’ll find on each of the floors:
The ground floor is the Body Mandala and has four entrances facing all directions. This floor measures 200 by 200 arm spans.
The other floor is 100 arm spans high and features a platform that measures 100 by 100 arm spans. This is the Speech Mandala, and it looks very similar to the Body Mandala.
The middle floor is the Mind Mandala sitting on a platform that is 50 arm spans above the Speech Mandala. It measures 50 by 50 arm spans. This floor looks similar to both the Speech and the Body Mandalas.
The Mind Mandala has two more levels: the Exalted Wisdom Mandala and the Great Bliss Mandala. While the former is raised 25 arm spans above the Mind Mandala and measures 25 by 25 arm spans, the latter is only raised slightly above the Exalted Wisdom Mandala.
A gigantic green lotus sits on the Great Bliss Mandala; it’s here that the Deity Kalachakra resides with his consort Vishvamata. Eight Shaktis surround them. From the top of the Great Bliss Mandala, there is a roof, which is 200 arm spans high.
20. Imagined mandala
The imagined mandala is only considered applicable for use by only great teachers and their best students. One needs a high level of understanding to use such. The mandalas are mentioned in some ritual texts.
21. Initiation Card Mandala
Initiation Card Mandalas are also referred to as tsakali. They refer to small paintings that are constructed for use in Buddhist rituals and Bon initiations. A regular initiation card mandala is about the size of a regular floor tile.
The initiation card mandalas are used as the central shrine object and are made when many initiations are given. Such times are the Vajravali and the Mitra Gyatsa collections of initiations.
22. Initiation Mandala
These mandalas are slightly larger than the Initiation Card Mandalas. They are placed on a table with other ritual objects and offerings.
The offerings are placed on the 4 edges of the table. The initiation of the mandala is the focal point for the tantric initiation ritual.
23. Inverted Figure Mandala
The inverted figure mandala refers to a mandala in which all the secondary figures are standing, half-inverted, or upright to the primary figure in the mandala.
The other figures in the composition outside the mandala circle proper are not considered part of the mandala. This means that they cannot be referred to as inverted.
24. Letter Mandala
Letter mandalas are usually constructed using letters in place of the actual deities. They are a much simpler version of deity mandalas.
25. Mandala Plate with Deities
This mandala plate is glued to a wooden surface that has a thickness of about 1 inch. The mandala plate with deities has a rugged design. They’re mostly used in shrines or for rituals and initiations that are held every month. The most common mandala plates are:
The mandala plate is used as an offering mandala during a ritual where an offering is made to the universe. During the ritual, the plate is filled with rice placed on the shrine and shrine mandalas.
26. Mural Painting Mandala
The Mural Painting mandalas are painted pieces of art used for decorative purposes on walls, ceilings, and other permanent surfaces.
Mural Painting Mandalas feature an architectural aspect since the mural paintings bring out the architectural elements in a structure by incorporating them into the picture.
The artwork on murals is a great way to express one’s deeper feelings, such as love. The mandalas may be used to represent togetherness, peace, and harmony.
27. Painting Mandala
Painting Mandalas or scroll mandalas are constructed using paints and pigments. They are created using fine brushes to bring out the details clearly.
28. Protection mandala
Just as their name suggests, these mandalas are used to give protection to those who use them. They would make a great choice of gift to those that you care about.
It’s worth noting that the size of the protection mandala does not, in any way, affect its effectiveness.
The protection mandalas may be used for meditation purposes and also as part of a ritual. Some good examples of protection mandalas are the Tara Protection Mandala and the Srid-Pa-Ho Protection Mandala. These two are compelling protection tools, according to Tibetan traditions.
A sand mandala is made using sand and comprises many symbols and letters. Sand mandalas have always been a temporary form of art.
The sand mandalas represent impermanence in life. The Buddhist monks take days to build the sand mandala to completion, and once ritual ceremonies have been enacted over them, the sand mandalas are dismantled.
After their deconstruction, the sand mandalas are then put in a water body such as a river. In Buddhism, sand mandalas are also symbols of cleansing and purification. The deconstruction process is still as important as the construction. Sometimes, sand mandalas are constructed using the dust of precious stones.
30. Scroll Painting Mandala
The scroll painting mandalas can be rolled and unrolled easily for transportation purposes. A good example of the Painting mandala is the “Thangka,” a traditional Tibetan Buddhist scroll painting. A lot of patience goes into making such a masterpiece.
31. Sculptural Mandala
Sculptural mandalas are created with stone, metal, wood, clay, or any other material that would create a three-dimensional artistic visual impact. Sculptural mandalas had varying sizes from a few centimeters to several meters. They were used in Buddhism to give sacred offerings.
Modern-day sculptural mandalas have added some non-traditional forms of motifs and represent a diverse range of styles. Such sculptures may be used to complement spaces in homes and sacred places.
32. "Self Blessing" Mandala
When used for meditation purposes, the self-blessing mandala summons a steady blessing force that holds you in its field. The blessings enable you to process your deep feelings into a gentle embrace. Meditation on a self-blessing mandala guides you all through the healing process.
33. Square mandala
Most mandalas feature a square structure in the middle; this represents a safe place with a balance in the opposites.
The square mandala symbolizes the middle, which is a meeting place. It contains the essence of the Buddha and has a palace that is the residence of the deities present. The square has four gates that symbolize various ideas, just as we saw in the introduction part of this piece.
34. Symbol Mandala
Symbol Mandalas are much-simplified versions where instead of actually drawing the actual deities, their hand attributes are used. Only the symbols representing the deities are used when drawing the symbol mandalas; the retinue figures are filled using small circles painted. Sometimes, there is nothing at all that indicates the presence of the retinue figures.
35. Thread-cross Mandala
The thread-cross mandala is also referred to as the Namka. It is made up using thin pieces of wood on a frame wrapped with threads of multiple colors. The wooden pieces come together to form various shapes and patterns that are displayed vertically.
Regular Thread-cross Mandalas are flat, while there are some really made into 3-D to celebrate rituals.
36. Upright-figure Mandala
The upright-figure mandala features different secondary figures standing upright to the composition’s central figure as opposed to the inverted-figure mandala. The central figure of the composition is considered to be the individual viewer of the composition.
37. Yantra Mandala
The Yantra Mandala features unique 2-D or 3-D geometric designs; these mandalas’ symbolism has a rich tradition. The mandalas are actively used for meditative purposes in Vajrayana Buddhism. Before a person can reach a state of enlightenment, they ought to actualize the pathway to divine forces. Doing this allows a person to become whole and, therefore, function within the universe’s energies.
38. Lotus Mandala
The lotus mandala is a 3-D sculpture that is made of metal. It features a blossoming lotus and a stem that functions as a stand. This piece of artwork requires one to focus on it to achieve peace.
The lotus is a flower that is considered to have many layers, symbolizing the East Asian cultures. Another reason why the beauty of the lotus flower is appreciated in Asia is that it is native to most countries.
Lotuses are a part of numerous mandalas because they have a high complexity level, which perfectly fits the complex geometric design of the mandalas. Some popular mandala designs that feature a lotus are:
Nava Padma Mandala
39. Flower mandala
There are so many different types of flower mandalas. Some have a single flower whose petals radiating outwards. Other designs have many flowers in different sizes and colors.
The flower mandala features a series of overlapping circles that form flowers all through the mandala. This mandala is also known as the sacred geometry and is believed to bring spiritual enlightenment.
Here is a list of some common flower mandalas and their symbolism:
The white rose is often associated with spiritual awakening
This flower is a symbol of self-love
This flower mandala represents our choices and decisions
Blue Morning Glory
This flower represents grace in a sense that brings peace
This flower is a symbol of balance
40. Sun Mandala
For a long time, the sun has been a symbol of energy and vitality. In some cases, the sun mandala is also used to represent creativity and passion.
Sun mandalas depict bright rays radiating from the center towards the outer ring of the mandala. These rays are of different sizes and are either wavy or straight. Some of the common sun mandalas are:
Radiant Heat Sun Yantra
Vitality Sun Yantra
Creative Energy Sun
Love Sun Yantra
The sun mandalas are not only used for spiritual purposes but also as decorative pieces.
A perfect blend of herbs and spices, with a varied range of grains, vegetables, and meats, sets Indian cuisine a precedent for the foodies from the remote reaches of the world.
As it’s said the cultural diversity of India changes with every 100-mile geographical shift, same is the case with cuisines that induce its influence from every wide gap in climate, people, and their combined effect on the way of treating locally found sources of nutrition.
With a broad history that carries its printed proof since the 16th century of the Mughals arrival and then fusion with overseas trade through the 21st century, narrates the nobility of architecting Indian cuisine to its optimum current state.
If we overlook the damage it bore from the extensive immigration, colonial periods, and Islamic ruler invasions, the Indian subcontinent has gained a vast influence in its cuisine configuration, that makes it tempting and fanciful for the food lovers, worldwide.
As the world witnessed a massive flow of globalization throughout distinct human cravings, Indian cuisine, too, got paint in its widespread force, exchanging cuisine pertinent information with rest of the world, to grease the pathway toward a trend of international cuisines’ food joints.
Every part of a nation has its own set of methods for cooking foods. Wrapping the worldwide available cuisine style in one landmass, India serves a variety of dishes that are too local in either Australia or Brazil or the US, making its cuisine versatile in every possible way.
Misconceptions busted about Indian Food
It’s a common misbelief rooted in the mindset of foreigners that make them dislike Indian food for any reason. But, as a traveler and food enthusiast, you need to bust the myths, to enjoy the finger-licking food experience offered by this land of a billion people.
Indian Food is too hot to consume
Most people prefer another cuisine over Indian because they inherit the widely spread misconception that it’s intolerable to bear the heat of Indian food.
But, in reality, the level of chilly choice is totally up to the customer, and one can adjust the taste preorder. Indians use spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric to keep food-borne bacteria at bay from order and nutrients spoilage.
Indian Food breaks your dieting routine
Not true at all and makes little sense when we’re dealing with a landmass covering a total geographical area of 1,269,299 sq miles. Whereas some food carries rich, luscious, and anti-dieting ingredients, some are extremely light and rich in fiber and protein.
In fact, thanks to the fusion of spices, Indian food can be a fabulous choice for dieters, for its flavorsome taste.
Indian food makes you ‘Gassy’
The cause of gas differs from person to person. For some, it could be trying a huge variety of distinct foods, while for others it could be dairy products or cruciferous vegetables.
In Indian foods, lentils and chickpeas are mostly blamed for the formation of gas, but it’s totally up to a body how it reacts and adjusts. The matter of the fact is “not all Indian food imparts gas.”
Indians restaurants don’t serve beef
Beef and pork are forbidden for Hindus and Muslims, respectively. In India, the cow is considered a sacred animal, and it is haram to eat pork by Muslims, as stated in their Quran.
If you try restaurants overseas, like in Australia, Indian cuisines readily serve beef. On a side note, McDonald’s has a customized menu for Indian customers, as they try to keep beef out of Indian sight.
Top spices widely used in Indian dishes
What makes Indian food so special in taste is a unique blend of spices. It’s hard to cook the way they do in Indian cuisines, but if you know the key spices they use, you can accomplish the same tantalizing aromas, vibrant colors; and spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors that the Indian foods are mostly known for.
The key to generating exact features, as served in restaurants and Indian homes, is to utilize the mix of spices in an appropriate proportion. To bring out the right flavor, bloom them in oil, butter, or ghee. These spices act not only as a cooking ingredient but also supplements your health benefit. Check out the top spices:
For any sort of curry creation, in India, cumin is extensively used as a strong, aromatic spice. It’s available as either seeds or toasted. Because of its sharp taste and flavor, it’s sometimes characterized as warm, earthy, and bitter.
It’s described by many people as nutty and fruity. Coriander features in Indian cuisine as a spice and garnishing material. Coriander is the key component in Garam masala, which is the key ingredient to spice up the taste of any dish and soothe an upset stomach.
With its homeland in India, ginger is now found in Fiji, Australia, Jamaica, and Indonesia. Gingers are known for generating a delicious and peppery flavor in recipes. The spicy and zesty taste of ginger accounts for its use in stir-fries, baked goods, vegetables, and beverages.
It can be found in many colors, such as black, brown, and yellow. Mustard seeds get the right flavor when they’re crushed, or cooked in oil. Mustard oil is produced from mustard seeds and is commonly found and used in India. The smoky and nutty flavor of mustard seeds enhance the taste of curries.
Whereas in one hand there is a vast health benefit associated with the application of turmeric, it imparts a yellowish color and flavor as its feature to a mix of spices and curries on the other hand. It’s a close relative of ginger and is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
A blend of spices—like coriander, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg—constitute the garam masala. Acting as a staple for Indian cuisine, garam masala serves the same purpose as de Provence in French cuisine. It’s sensitive to heat and, therefore, is sprinkled at the last moment when the recipe gets almost done.
Black pepper is primarily native to India. As there need many natural cycles and a fixed amount of rainfall for its production, it takes intense labor work to grow. For the ultimate release of its taste, black pepper needs toasting before blending. It can also be used as the salad dressing, with salt.
Nutmeg and mace
Once the outer covering of nutmeg gets cracked off, mace becomes ready for grating. When it turns dry, it gains a golden-orange tint and adds a hint of warm flavor. Like other spices, nutmeg doesn’t require toasting before blending into spices. Doing so would spoil its flavor.
Top delicious Indian dishes, made for satisfying your appetite
Sarso ka Saag and Makki ki Roti
Sarson Ka Saag and Makki ki Roti complete each other and are inseparable for a fused taste and finger-licking appetite achievement. It’s popular almost in all northern states, with Rajasthan and Punjab as the original state where a true sense of its importance is shared traditionally. To profuse the lust of mouth, white butter, jaggery, or honey work as the best accompaniment.
Time: 2 hours | Calorie: 90 per roti and 150 per saag serving
Key Ingredients needed for Saag
750-gram Sarson Saag
250-gram Palak Saag
250-gram Bathua Saag
4 Green chilly
25 gram Ginger
6 cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Red pepper powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
100 gram Ghee
1 1/2 cup Makki atta
2 cups water
Salt as per taste
Step-by-step cooking guide
Mix three saags—bathua, palak, and sarson—with salt and water, and cook them in a pressure cooker at low flame for one and half an hour.
Squeeze saag to separate saag water. Mash the water-free saag until coarsely ground. Add makki atta and stir the blend.
Remix the filtered saag water, along with a little drinkable water, and start cooking again over a low flame.
Add finely chopped green chilies and ginger, and let the heat do its work.
Turn off the flame once saag gets a thick texture.
On the second burner, to prepare tadka, pour some oil in a frying pan and add finely chopped onions, ginger, and garlic.
At about 2 minutes, add red pepper powder, garam masala, and dhania.
Saute until onions get light brown.
Mix the tadka and ghee/butter with saag.
Key ingredients for Makki ki Roti
½ kg makki flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch red chili powder
Mix all the ingredients—makki flour, red chili powder, ghee, and salt—nicely.
Add lukewarm water in the maize flour and knead softly with hands, to prepare a soft dough.
Using an equal portion of dough, build medium-sized balls.
To prepare roti, use extra flour to flatten it into a round shape, on a chakla or a plane surface.
Put the round-shaped roti on the frying pan, and cook until golden water.
Use ghee to soften the roti.
Evolving from Maharashtra, Pav Bhaji has become one of the most popular vegetarian recipes of India, as it requires minimal time and efforts to cook and taste the best, which all food lovers readily relate their choice with. This delicious recipe is full of spices and veggies, which make it full of nutrients and popular regardless of age and gender. All it takes, in extra, for completing a mouth full serve is pav (bun bread) and mint chutney.
Pav Bhaji Time: 40 minutes | Calories: 600 per plate with 2 pav
Key ingredients needed for Pav Bhaji
4 mashed, boiled potato
2 chopped onion
1/2 chopped cauliflower
1 cup shelled peas
1/4 cup green beans
4 chopped tomato
1 de-seeded capsicum
Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
3 tablespoon refined oil
salt as per taste
30 gm melted butter
1 medium lemon wedges
2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon ginger paste
2 chopped green chili
2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala
Boil the veggies—carrots, beans, cauliflower, and peas—in a pressure cooker. Drain the water and mash coarsely.
Fry three-fourths of onions in a pan, using oil and saute until it gains a golden glimpse. Further, pour ginger-garlic and green chilies paste and fry for a minute.
Sprinkle pav bhaji masala, capsicum, and then, fry for an additional minute.
Add finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Turn the stove knob to medium and keep stirring until oil separates from the masala.
Add mashed potatoes, cauliflower, mashed peas, and 2 cups of water. Simmer it for about 10 minutes. Keep pressing it with the back of the spoon, to mash the mixture properly.
Garnish bhaji with remaining onions, lemon wedges, butter, and coriander leaves.
Crisping pav: Slice each pav horizontally into two. Put about 15 grams of butter in a pan. Fry pavs to make it crispy.
Chicken biryani, a pairing of chicken and rice, has permeated the culinary Indian culture, to stretch its aroma around the world. It’s a mouth-watering savory dish packed with spicy marinated chicken, flavored saffron rice, and caramelized onions.
It’s an intensely aromatic and well-seasoned dish, incorporating veggies, rice, and chicken in such perfect balance that provokes the taste buds of any food lover to extremities. It’s easy to cook, consumes less cooking time than expected, and serves high calorie.
Time to cook: 1 hr | Calorie: 520 per 365 grams
Key ingredients needed for chicken biryani:
650 grams rice
1 Kg meat
1 Tbsp red chili paste
½ Tbsp green chili paste
1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
½ Tbsp cardamom powder
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
3-4 pieces cinnamon
½ cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
250 grams curd
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup water
1 Tbsp saffron
Finely sliced cucumbers
2 boiled eggs
How to marinate the chicken? Put vegetable oil, chili peppers, mint, cinnamon, salt, garlic paste, garam masala, ginger, and chicken pieces in a big bowl and stir till all mix well. Use your hand to coat the chicken thoroughly in the marinade, and leave it untouched for an hour.
How to caramelize onions? Use ghee or vegetable oil to caramelize onions. Put the flame on low and stir it for 10-15 minutes. Once it gets a brownish appearance, transfer the onions to a separate bowl and allow cooling.
Soak the rice in lukewarm water and then, wash it in cold water until the water runs clear.
Put water, cardamom, cumin, bay leaf, and rice in a separate bowl, and par-boil them for 7 minutes. Drain the rest of the water from the rice, keeping reserve about 1 cup.
In a separate bowl, put the chicken in a single layer and use some oil or ghee to fry each side for about 5 minutes. Once both sides gain a golden brown color, transfer the chicken to the bowl you used for marination.
Add saffron to the rice and mix it evenly. Put half of the rice in the bowl used for frying chicken. Place all the chicken onto the rice, forming an even layer. Pour three-fourths of the rice on top of the chicken and then, put caramelized onions on the very top. Top onions with the remaining rice, forming an even layer all around.
Pour the reserved liquid obtained from boiling the rice. Seal pack the pot with the lead using dough created from wheat flour and put the pot on the stove over medium flame for about half an hour.
Once you watch steam leaking from cracks developed in between the lid and dough layering, turn the stove knob to low and allow cooking for an additional five minutes. Check the sound of water simmering in the pot. If you hear it dimming down, or all gone, turn off the flame.
Let it cool for some time and then, garnish it using cucumber, carrot, eggs, and mints.
Idli and sambar complete each other. Sambar is basically a hot and spicy lentil soup that covers most of the masalas/spices that southern region is loaded with.
Although Idli Sambar, for its tasteful diet, has gained a significant name in the northern part, the taste that homemade masalas create in southern India, beats all practices no matter how hard north Indians try.
Unlike all Indian foods which rely largely on frying in oil, Idli and Sambar are mostly boiled and include a lot of veggies which combine together to surge full the taste and nutrition.
Cooking Time: 1 hr | Calorie: 310 per 1 cup sambar and 3 idli
Key ingredients needed for Idli
2 cup Rice
½ cup Urad Dal (Black Gram)
½ Tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
Water as required, or 2-3 cup
Salt as per taste
Soak rice in water for 5 hours
In a separate bowl, soak black gram and fenugreek seeds in water for 5 hours.
Create a paste by grinding black gram and fenugreek seeds, using some fresh water.
Create rice paste using the above process.
Mix both the paste and add a little rock salt to it.
Expose the idli batter to the sun, for good fermentation.
Next day, using cotton, apply a layering of oil on the idli stand and then, lay idli batter on it.
In an idli cooker, use steam to cook idli batter.
Use a wooden stick to check whether idli has swelled or not.
Drizzle a little water over it and capsize the idli stand, to take out idli.
Key ingredients required for Sambar
4 medium-sized Tomatoes
100g black gram (roasted)
2 Tbsp Fennel
2 Tbsp Coriander leaves
2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp Red chili powder
1 Tbsp sambar powder
½ Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp curry leaves
1 Tbsp salt
3-4 Tbsp Oil (Groundnut)
Water as required (2-3 cup)
Pour finely chopped onions and tomatoes in a pan and over a medium flame, use some oil to saute it well.
Allow it to cool and then grind the mixture of both, to make a paste.
In another pan, without using oil, roast spices like cloves, cinnamon, and fennel.
Once the spices roast well, take a grinder and put all the spices, along with coconut and roasted black gram, and grind them all, to make a paste.
Place a pan on flame and using oil, saute mustard seeds, curry leaves, and onion and tomato paste.
Further, mix turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt, and red chilly powder in it, and saute again for 2 minutes.
Add the paste prepared in 4th step and then, saute again.
Pour water and boil for 5 minutes, to create a masala-rich gravy.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Believe it or not, but this Punjabi dish has spread all around India, gaining a prominent place in most Indian kitchens. Also called Murgh Makhani, it first originated in the early 20th century, to soften the leftover tandoori chicken with tomatoes, butter, and cream. In India, still bone-in chicken is in wide trend because of the flavor preference; in abroad, boneless chicken is commonly used. It’s a very easy recipe to cook as it doesn’t require more efforts and cook within 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes | Calorie: 400 per 5 ounce
Key Ingredients needed for butter chicken
1 pound boneless, or with bone, chicken thighs
600 grams stewed tomatoes
Salt as per taste
2 sliced onions (medium size)
4 grated garlic cloves
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tbsp garam masala
½ Tbsp turmeric powder
5 green cardamom pods
1 Tbsp paprika
2 hot variety chiles
½ cup yogurt
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
Mix almonds, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and spices in a bowl, and stir till all the ingredients fuse well.
Add chicken to it and use your hand to coat the chicken all around with the gravy prepared in the previous step. Marinate for an hour or two or overnight.
Take a thick-layered pot and heat vegetable oil or ghee over medium flame. Put onion into the pot and cook for about 5-7 minutes until onion turns soft and translucent.
Further, add garlic and ginger to it and cook for one more minute.
Pour the marinated chicken and marinade into the pot. Simmer the chicken until it gets a white appearance.
Add tomato puree and black cardamom pod. Turn the knob to medium and cover the pot with a lid and simmer the chicken for an additional 25 minutes, with regular stirring.
Add butter and cream and keep stirring until both dissolves entirely.
Add salt as per your taste and garnish with some extra cream and chopped cilantro.
The tremendous power of Indian cuisine: Overview of constitution & Health Aspect
The very first thought that conjures you up about Indian food it is hot, spicy, unhealthy, fatty, greasy, and gas-causing features.
Is it so? No.
Myth busted! Set free the perspective that’s biased and globally accepted. From now, the thing that should emerge in your mind is that Indian foods are nourishing, wholesome, healthy, and full of spices, which have plenty of health benefits and healing powers.
No, don’t listen to those crackpots who have framed such false and fabricated theories about what this vast peninsula offers.
Had they been true, Indians would have extinct. But, are they? They’re over a billion and second most populous land after China.
The health aspect is such a trait that goes unnoticed by all and so, it’s important to be aware of what actually Indian foods offer.
An array of fresh vegetables and fruits fuse in together to form a variety of dish.
These ingredients are cooked using traditional practices that help to retain their freshness and nutrients, unlike those processes—followed in developed countries—that pull the life out of vegetables. Indians are close to nature and so does the organic method of farming reflect in their cuisine.
Indians don’t rely on preservatives. They always use fresh ingredients and prepare food from scratch. Unlike the trend of packaged foods that has engulfed almost all developed countries, Indians stick to the leeward side where there is still hope for consuming foods that come directly out of the soil. Majority of the population is farmers, so less comes the situation when they opt for packaged foods.
Indians take a balanced diet as they still practice a ‘thali’ system in which a variety of dishes are prepared for lunch and dinner time. In a single thali serve, they get all the major nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers. The spices used in foods are laced with medicinal powers. The royal families used to have Chappan Bhog (fifty-six dishes) at one time, which is still in fashion in upper classes.
Best Indian vegan dishes
Do you also support the vegan movement and prefer to switch to food prepared without the aid of animal products? India, the country with the core of diversity, is a storehouse of innumerable vegan Indian dishes prepared without the use of animal products. We bring you some of the popular vegan dishes that add equal nutrition and give astonishing savor to your tongue in comparison to the non-vegan dishes.Have a brief insight into some of the popular vegan Indian dishes:
Rajma is one of the most popular Indian vegan dishes made from red Kidney beans. Eaten with bread/chapati or cooked rice, it is a mouth-watering dish loved by folks of all ages. The cooking time is usually 45 minutes, but you need to soak the rajma for a few hours before boiling it for around 20 minutes. After successfully boiling, add the red kidney beans in a gravy of onion, tomato and popular Indian spices like turmeric, dry coriander, salt, red chilli, heeng, etc. It is a highly nutritious dish rich in dietary fibers and protein, with zero cholesterol.
Baingan ka Bharta
Baingan Bharta is a grilled eggplant curry requiring preparation time of 30 minutes. This simple dish is prepared in a bit spice tang and served with Indian fried wheat flour or parantha. The eggplants may be grilled in microwaves, on gas stoves directly, or in Indian traditional tandoors. The grilled mash of the eggplant is then mixed in the gravy of onion, tomato, and other hot typical Indian spices. Garam masala is the special spice added in Bharta in last, along with a few chopped leaves of coriander for garnishing. This tempting spicy dish is rich in fats and carbohydrates and gives almost 83% calories to your soma.
The list of Indian vegan snacks is incomplete without Pakoras. They are elementarily the Indian squander prepared from the chickpea flour and vegetables like cabbage, potato, onion, bell peppers, etc. All you need is to make a paste of besan added with salt, coriander powder, and red chili powder as per taste. Deep fry the dipped sliced vegetables into oil till it gets a little brown. Serve them hot with coriander, tomato, or mint chutney. These are popular breakfast and evening snacks of Indians.
Aloo Kachauri and Sabji
Bedmi or kachauri is a deep-fried Indian bread stuffed with urad dal or mashed boiled potato. This fat-and-carbohydrate rich bread is served with potato and tomato curry, that complements each other exceptionally well. This is one of the popular foods offered to guests in north India and is a popular cuisine cooked during festivals.
It is a dish from the land of Gujarat. Dhokla is a besan or chickpea flour-based snack having a preparation time of 30 minutes. All you need is to make the batter of besan and add a bit of baking powder and salt in it. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and then pour the batter either in a dhokla-making steaming utensil or a microwave. Let it steam for 10-15 minutes, at a low gas flame. Post dhokla, pour the tadaka of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and some green chili in sugar added water and sprinkle it all over the dish. Serve it with tamarind or green coriander chutney.
India Street food
A foreigner’s visit to India does not complete until he/she tries his/her hand on street foods of India, spread across cities of all sizes and order. If anything that addresses a distinct flavor, appearance, and perspective about the making of Indian cuisine is its fast food served in the open streets. It doesn’t matter how health conscious one is—without doubt, he/she would yield before the finger-licking, mouth-watering, and taste bud-lingering effect of the following street foods, asking for once more, one more.
Literally, Pani means water, and puris are fried hollow dough balls. Pani puri is popular all across India and there is not a single state (province) where you won’t locate ‘thelawalas’ (roadside stalls), with puris stored inside a glass-closed structure.
It has all three tastes—teekha (spicy), khatta (sour), and meetha (sweet)—assembled in it. Crisp fried dough balls stuffed with potato, sprouts, sweet chutney, and/or spicy tangy water make pani puri such a delicious street food that would turn you into a fan of it from the very first attempt.
Chole Bhature is an exotic Punjabi dish, which has found its place in houses, restaurants, and street vendors. It’s often eaten as breakfast and gets a complete package appearance when accompanied by onions, green chutney, radish, carrot pickle, achar, lemon, and cucumber.
Chole Bhature is a combination of chickpeas, cooked in spicy masala; and bhatura—a fluffy, round maida flour bread (soft wheat) deep fried in refined oil. The crispy layering of Bhature, dipped in spice-packed chole, yields a completely unique flavor.
With its origin in Udupi, Karnataka, the love for masala dosa is seen all over the country, mainly in the southern region. Masala dosa is a popular variety of dosa.
Most people prefer to eat it as it’s low in calorie and extremely appetizing. For its light effect on the stomach, people love to have it in breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. It’s a fermented crepe stuffed with potatoes, fried onions, and spices.
Masala dosa is made using rice, potato, onions, tomato (optional), lentils, curry leaves, and methi. To enhance its effect on the tongue, it’s served with sambar and chutney made of coconut.
Samosa is an all-time favorite tea time snack in India. Found in various shapes like a triangular, cone, and half-moon, this is basically a deep-fried pocket of wheat, or maida, dough stuffed with potato, spices, peas, onions, and lentils.
It’s often accompanied by tomato sauce and/or green chutney, to elevate its flavor. Spreading across the Indian border, it has become widely known in Africa, China, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean. It fits best for all sorts of people, in terms of spice bearing capacity. It’s such a dish that’s too common in the streets and common Indian kitchens.
Chaat has many varieties—the main among them are papdi chaat, bhelpuri, aloo, samosa chaat, tikki chaat, cheela, and ragda pattice.
Out of many of its kind, Papdi, samosa, and Tikki chaat are found everywhere. It originated in Uttar Pradesh, India; however, the uncontrolled taste that this savory snack delivers, couldn’t stop from spreading to Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
The main ingredients are boiled potato, and/or Chhole, curd, onion, Aloo Bhujia, mint chutney, chili, Papdi, and tamarind sauce, which collectively spice up to make this dish so addictive that you would like to have it on a weekly basis.
China’s Social Credit System is a system that collects information about Chinese citizens from various sources, weighs the various data, and generates a ranking for each citizen.
The way this system works can be likened to the way Google works.
Google wants to provide the best browsing experience to users by enabling them to get the most accurate information.
Google does this by regularly checking all sites on the Internet and ranking them according to a series of parameters that undergo a constant optimization process.
The more appropriate the content is to the parameters defined by Google, the higher it ranks.
Content that is less compatible with Google’s parameters ranks lower, and in extreme cases, it will disappear completely from the search results.
The Social Credit System in China will check all Chinese citizens and rank them according to a series of parameters. It will continue to undergo a constant optimization process.
The Chinese government wants to provide the best life experience to its citizens through absolute security, crime prevention, and removal of “negative” people, as defined by the system, from the public domain.
Thus, the Chinese Social Credit System strives to rank the entire Chinese population automatically by a set of parameters representing “ideal behavior” as the Chinese regime sees it.
The differences between the Social Credit System and Google
1. Choosing whether to be part of the system
Google allows site owners to choose whether to enable the search engine to crawl the entire site, only specific pages, or not at all. Chinese citizens will not have this choice.
Google’s top goal is to provide ideal content for web surfers. The supreme goal of the Chinese regime is to impose a certain ideology and form of behavior on all citizens of the country.
3. The operation of the ranking algorithm
Although Google maintains secrecy about specifics of how the algorithm works, there is certainly considerable transparency regarding the way it works and the changes that Google makes regarding the importance of the different parameters.
It can be assumed that the Chinese system’s considerations will not be transparent to Chinese citizens. That is, the weight given to each behavior will be confidential. For example: What is worse, failure to pay a debt or political criticism of the Chinese regime?
Characteristics of the Social Credit System in China
The system is currently in its pilot phase collecting information from any possible source. The information will be classified according to four categories:
Honesty in government affairs
The system will build a profile for each citizen. The profile will include any possible personal related data in any possible aspect of life, in which information can be collected. In our times, this means almost everything about an indivividual can and will be collected.
Negative information collected includes: political writing on the Internet (which is not coherent with the Chinese regime ideology), criticizing the government, supporting oppositional bodies, non-payment of debts, non-payment of income tax, breaking the law, disobeying traffic laws, disputes with neighbors or at workplaces, etc.
Positive information collected includes all obligations such as, repayment of debts, an absence of offense records, volunteering, support for the government (if expressed publicly), etc.
Each figure gets weighed into the general profile of the citizen. Depending on the weight of the various parameters, the citizen receives a rating. The rating can move down and up depending on the citizen’s behavior.
Citizen grading will have a dramatic impact on their live. In fact, this is a practical translation of the religious system of reward and punishment. The religious system is based solely on belief, while the Chinese system will receive a very concrete translation in everyday life.
How will the Social Credit System of China be expressed?
The Chinese citizen will not be exposed to the considerations of the algorithm and the weight of each variable within the algorithm, but they will certainly be exposed to its results.
A citizen with a negative rating will feel the constriction of the Chinese government. This constriction will have different consequences.
For example: Preventing flights, preventing train traffic, preventing first class tickets in various transportation methods, preventing hotel reservations, preventing access to more prestigious jobs, preventing access to better education for children, and receiving negative publicity.
A positive profile will be encouraged by the administration and this will be expressed in several ways.
For example: Allowing loans or loans on more favorable terms, and access to better jobs. Another example that illustrates the level of involvement is the boost of the citizen’s profile on China’s largest dating site.
The purpose of Social Credit System
The purpose of the system was defined by Xi Jinping ,China’s president:
“To allow trustworthy people to travel everywhere under the sky, and on the other hand to make it difficult for those who are not worthy of trust to take one step.”
Inother words, the Chinese government – which has the exclusive authority to define what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral, what ideology is permitted and what is not – wants to enforce a set of values and rules to create an effective, automatic, and reliable system of reward and punishment that will reward “good” citizens, while punishing “bad”citizens, and thus train 1.3 billion people to live according to the line defined by the Chinese ruling party.
Such a system would be a perfect tool for social engineering on a scale not yet seen in human history and would allow the Chinese ruling party to increase its ability to control China’s huge population.
Are there systems similar to the Social Credit System?
There are already systems that collect and operate private information on civilians on a large scale:
• Banks document the financial conduct of citizens and reward or punish accordingly by preventing account actions and various account restrictions.
• Credit companies punish people who do not repay their debts, depriving them of credit cards or credit facilities.
• Insurance companies compensate drivers who have not been in an accident with lower rates. Medical insurance for healthy people and expensive insurance rates for sick people or those who are more prone to disease.
• Facebook collects information on a massive scale. Facebook’s audience insights system creates a huge map of population types with the possibility to focus on every segment of the population by infinitely different definitions and private information of almost 2 billion users of Facebook.
Through the system, Facebook knows how to target advertisements in a very focused way.
• Each country collects information about its citizens such as address, work, family members, illness, residence, income, crime, and sometimes surveillance.
• Secret services of different countries monitor information across the Internet, collect a great deal of knowledge about people around the world, cross information, and try to spot potential risks as they understand them.
Still, there are very fundamental differences between these systems and the Chinese system:
Social Engineering The first and most significant difference is that these systems do not work in favor of social engineering. Their ideology is economic and/or security.
They do not act in the name of a moral ideology (certainly not explicitly) and attempt to train populations to behave according to a certain set of values determined by the party that initiated the system.
Information loop – These systems do not close the information loop. Each system retains its information.
The systems belonging to private companies remain in their possession and are subject to laws that prohibit them from sharing or making use of private information (if they violate the law, they take certain risks and must be held accountable).
The Chinese system has not yet closed the entire loop between the subsystems that provide the information but it aspires to get there.
The Chinese system aspires to reach the point where all the various systems that gather information about citizens, whether governmental or business, report and transfer to the social credit system the information that they accumulate on citizens on an ongoing basis.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Chinese Social Credit System
Advantages of the Social Credit System
1. Control – As of today, China is the most populous country in the world. In a short time, it will lose its lead in favor of India but will remain for the near and distant future, one of the most populous countries in the world.
Controlling a country of about 1.4 billion people is not a trivial task. There are many challenges. State management, economic growth, order, economic inequality among huge populations, the transition from villages to large cities, the continued development of huge cities, human diversity, personal security, and the list goes on.
In order to achieve its goals, the Chinese ruling party must minimize the challenges of controlling the population, reduce the risk of internal unrest and social unrest, and concentrate forces to achieve the goals it has set for itself (for example, the five-year plan).
The system will help China direct the huge population in the direction it wants to strive in a much shorter time range than India will be capable of.
2. Personal security – The system will certainly improve the level of personal security for citizens. It will improve crime, delinquency, and even the small day-to-day infractions of law-abiding citizens, such as traffic offenses.
3. Economic morality – The system will improve the economic morality of the Chinese and will affect the national economic system for the better.
4. Execution through rewards – The system will allow the Chinese government to decide to direct the population through rewards, and thus achieve rapid results.
Disadvantages of the social Credit System
1. Lack of freedom – This central disadvantage of the system relates to the essence of human existence. Are we free to choose our way? Are we entitled to decide what is right or wrong for us? Are we entitled to freedom?
What does this freedom include? Is the right to privacy part of freedom? According to the monotheistic religions, there is a God who created the world, controls it, supervises it, and supervises the people and their actions.
Whoever believes in God believes that he rewards him for good deeds, punishes him for bad deeds, and in any case that appears to be a mismatch between man’s actions and the reality of his life, there are various explanations intended to settle the contradiction.
It is clear that the connection between actions and results is not unequivocal, no matter how much the believer believes.
The Chinese system in this sense is a megalomaniac; it will replace God and become much more tangible and predictable than God. In its ability to immediately punish those who deviate from the path, it will tame all the people under it wing.
It will create a direct and quick connection between people’s behavior and the outcome. This connection will be made at any time and place where people can be delayed.
The citizens of China will lose their privacy completely. They will lose intimacy, their ability to keep secrets to themselves, and the freedom to choose a path that is incompatible with the tough ideology of the ruling party.
2. Increase corruption – The system will open the door to corruption and manipulation. What happens if the system negatively ranks someone from the party? Will he accept it with understanding or will he try to influence the system operators?
Will the system introduce other parameters for government officials and their associates?
According to past experience with authoritarian authorities of a single party, members of the ruling party never lived according to the ideology they advocated. They always tried to get more for themselves.
3. In the twentieth century, a number of large-scale experiments of social engineering were carried out in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cambodia, Cuba, and several other countries, all of which were part of the Communist system.
In all places, attempts have failed and in most cases, after apocalyptic failures that claimed the lives of millions of people.
Possible Scenarios After Full-Scale System Activation
1. The system will encourage a drop to the underground and push people to lead a double life and try to do everything they can to escape the eye of the big brother who watches them all the time.
Such a scenario would lead to the development of a whole culture of lies and deceit. Such a culture developed under Soviet rule and was ultimately one of the causes of the economic collapse.
It would create an economic system based on large groups of people who worked only ostensibly to show good to the regime’s representatives.
2. Creating a large group of people that are ranked low and pushed into a corner will have nothing to lose and will respond violently.
3. A black market of trading in fictitious identities that rank high will come into play. People at the bottom of the social credit system will look for faster ways and shortcuts to climb up the rankings.
4. A black market of reports to the system will develop. For example, people who did things that hurt their ranking will try to influence as much as possible those who report the mistakes in order to avoid reporting.
The more automatic and seemingly impartial the system (and the intention of its planners), the less relevant this scenario will be.
5. Extensive breaches of the system and constant attempts to disrupt its operations could be catastrophic. Imagine that Google’s entire measurement system of websites goes wrong. What would be the result?
Internet chaos would make it impossible to find anything. The same is true of the measurement system of the Social Credit System. One of the main parameters is financial obligations and financial conduct.
Suppose the system that measures it stops operating, what will the results be?
A complete inability to continue to maintain the rating reliably.
6. China is also beginning to expand the system to foreign citizens, setting up a database identical to all foreign citizens that it can measure through social networks. Large Chinese trading websites (Alibaba, Ali Express, DHGate, etc…) and other sources of information are arousing the wrath of other countries that break into the system and lead to its collapse.
7. The system will represent the regime and will be completely identified with the ideology of the regime and with the political power of the Communist Party. The collapse of the system will directly affect the party’s power, and under certain conditions, may provoke an uprising by the population against the Chinese ruling party.
What is the system’s status today?
The system is currently in pilot.
Alibaba is one of the companies that takes part in this project. It is reasonable to assume that the vast amount of information that Alibaba and Ali Express collected, and still collect, on Chinese citizens and citizens of other countries, will serve the Chinese regime in favor of the Social Credit System
• The level of involvement of Chinese companies is still unclear. Also, the system management method is not clear yet as to how the system management and control will be shared between the government and private Chinese companies.
• Gathering information is a challenge because not all companies are quick to cooperate and share their information, but it can be assumed that it is a difficulty that the Chinese regime can overcome without too many problems. After all, this is precisely the goal of this system.
• During 2018, restrictions were imposed on citizens who rank low in the system. Restrictions such as flights, purchase of train tickets, hotels, and on matchmaking sites.
Open questions about the Chinese Social Credit Syste
• Will the system act according to the authoritarian vision of its thinkers? In other words, will the system turn Chinese citizens into a fabricated human society that is navigated by a government algorithm, or alternatively, will it provoke counter-cult responses?
Will it be operated by the government, private companies, or a combination of the two?
It is difficult to overstate the implications of the identity of controlling shareholders in the system, whether it is a private company or government. It can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that the Chinese government will remain the main stack holder of the system and the one that dictates the core ideology of the system because this was the main motive from the start.
What will be the implications of the system for Chinese society? Will Chinese society become more disciplined in return for continued economic growth and improved personal security?
• If China succeeds in carrying out the largest social engineering experiment in human history, will other countries follow suit?
• Will there be a black market for buying high-rated identities?
Will the Chinese expand the system to keep track of people all over the world, with an emphasis on foreigners who work, live, or study in China?
Will companies like Google and Facebook collaborate in exchange for expansion into the Chinese market?
Summary of China’s Social Credit System
For the Chinese Communist Party, the social credit system is the holy grail of control. It allows the Chinese government the possibility to tame the entire population into a set of selected behaviors.
But the party’s biggest advantage is also the greatest risk for it. The system will become so central to the Chinese government and Chinese society that any serious damage to the system will be detrimental to the Chinese government, making it much more vulnerable and exposed to countries that have an interest in harming China and the Social Credit System.
The Story About Lord Indra, Shiva, Vishnu and the Ocean of milk
One of the main parts of the following Hindu Mythology story, is taking place in Gosaikunda, Nepal. This place is also known by the name: The Frozen Lakes. It’s located in a magnificent area in Langtang reservation and it’s one of the most popular treks of Nepal trekking.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Indra, King of Heaven, rode on his elephant and met the sage Durvasa, who offered him a bouquet of flowers he had received from Shiva.
Indra accepted the bouquet and put it on the elephant to show he was not an inconsiderate god.
The elephant, who knew Indra, knew that he was not as he pretended to introduce himself, but the opposite, his ego guiding him. So, he took the bouquet and threw it to the ground.
The act caused Durvassa to be angry since that stranger symbolized luck, and the attitude toward it should have been like that of Prasada, the gifts given to the gods (The different dishes served to the gods can be seen in every temple in India).
Durvassa cursed Indra and all Devas, superhuman creatures who were led by Indra, and wished them to lose all their strength and fortune.
The battle between the Devas and the Asuras
In the battle that took place after the incident, the Devas who lost their power were defeated by the Asuras and their leader in Bali, who became rulers of the universe.
The Devas went to seek help from Vishnu (Vishnu maintains the good from evil and its various incarnations appear when it’s necessary to defend well against evil).
Vishnu advised the Devas to behave diplomatically with the demons, that is, politely. The devils formed an alliance with the demons to mash the milk ocean and prepare a drink of immortality and divide it between them.
During the mash of Ocean of Milk, the demons used Vasuki, Shiva’s snake. They wrapped him around the mountain, while the demons held the snake’s head and the gods held its tail. As a result, the demons were poisoned by the venom from the snake’s mouth.
Still, they continued the process and pulled the snake back and forth, side to side, until the mountain began to vibrate and begin the process of mashing the milk ocean. (This scene is described in sculptures in the Bangkok airport)
The process released a particularly strong poison. The devils and the demons who were terrified by the power of the poison that could destroy all creation, went to Shiva to seek his help.
Lord Shiva is saving the world
To protect the universe, Shiva drank the entirety of the poison. Parvati, his spouse, clutched his neck to prevent the poison from reaching Shiva’s body and causing destruction to the universe. As a result, Shiva’s throat turned blue.
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva stuck his three-prong pitchfork into the mountain to extract water and soothe the irritation caused by the poison.
According to Hindu tradition, where Shiva planted his pitchfork, the two lakes were formed.
The site is at 4,380 meters, called Gosaikunda, or the “frozen lakes” (the lakes are frozen for about six months, from June to October).
The entire area has 108 lakes and is located in Langtang National Park, north of Kathmandu, 5-6 hours away. Gosaikonda is a sacred site and thousands of pilgrims visit during the year, especially during two festivals in the area.
The photos above were taken during a trek in Gosaikunda, Nepal.
In a relatively short historical process, China has returned to what it has been for most of history, one of the world’s great powers. The great decline came in the middle of the nineteenth century with the Opium Wars and continued until the early eighties of the twentieth century.
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