Sunday, January 17, 2010

Symbols on Pillars


The Mandappam structure is typical of pillared halls in Hindu temples. This allows for the open, free flow of air. To enclose the space jail patterns are used in windows, and also metal grills are used for larger spaces, so that the inner space can be closed when not in use.
The symbolism of the pillar, or Sthamba, is very important in sacred architecture. Not only does it support the roof, but it also represents the axis mundi. The pillar is often designed as a series of Mandalas, which are carved on the square faces of cubes placed one above the other. Caroline designed a series of primal forms related to the symbolism of the journey of the Hebrew peoples towards the Promised Land, which also relate to the basic language of symbolism that can be found in Indian myths. In this way she indicated that there is underlying all archetypal forms, a fundamental understanding of a process towards inner growth and liberation.
Caroline Mackenzie designed a series of symbolic images which were carved by local craftspeople on the pillars of the Meditation Centre. She writes:
“There are pillars around a central pond and thee devotee can circumambulate the area, passing the symbols carved on the pillars which “tell” the Exodus story. These images include the seed, tree, egg and so on. One gets the idea of the whole of nature being bonded and God intervening and leading ‘her’ towards freedom. Lest we should fear too much our involvement in this work, the story of the reluctant prophet Jonah is depicted on the doorway.”

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