Mandalas and Yantra by Bühnemann et. al.

Gudrun Bühnemann et al. Mandalas and Yantras in the Hindu Traditions. Leiden: Brill, 20035. Illustrated and with color plates. Hardcover, xvii + 303 pp.

Bühnemann, a professor at the department of languages and cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, has assembled the following eight seminal essays on the various aspects of Hindu sacred geometry:

Mandala, Yantra and Cakra: Some Observations by Gudrun Bühnemann

  1. Mandalas and Yantras in Smārta Ritual also by Bühnemann
  2. The Use of Mandalas and Yantras in the Pāncarātra Tradition by Marion Rastelli
  3. Mandala and Yantra in the Siddhānta School of Śaivism by Hélène Brunner
  4. Icons of Inclusivism: Mandalas in Some Early Śaiva Tantras by Judit Törzsök
  5. Mandalas in Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka by André Padoux
  6. The Śrīcakra According to the First Chapter of the Yoginīhrdaya also by Padoux
  7. Vāstupuruşamandalas: Planning in the Image of Man by Michael W. Meister

Mandalas and yantras are employed in visualization/meditation practices and also in magical rituals. Ever since Carl Jung’s interest in mandalas, these sacred geometrical devices have attracted a great deal of public attention, which was boosted when Tibetan monks started to construct their spectacular large sand mandalas at Western venues. However, the deeper aspects of these devices, which are connected with sophisticated metaphysical speculations and complicated rituals, largely remain hidden from the view of all but the most dedicated practitioners and researchers.

The essays found in this monograph will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of this subtle and often beautiful designs. Bühnemann has masterfully orchestrated the various contributions, and in her introductions and two essays provides a broad-based context for the study of mandalas and yantras. The many illustrations help the reader in following the often challenging discussions. An outstanding scholarly work.

Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.

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