The Mandala of Franklin Merrell-Wolff

Maṇḍala (मण्डल) is a Sanskrit word that is often translated as “circle,” and indeed, the familiar mandalas of the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions are recognizable by the concentric circles and other geometric figures used in their construction. The word ‘mandala’ also appears in the Rig Veda, however, as the name of the sections of that work, and a closer look at the etymology of this word suggests that “container of essence” might be a more appropriate transliteration. Both meanings combine in the modern sense of the term: a mandala is a geometric figure that is “sacred” in the sense that is designed to serve as a symbolic guide through the cosmos to the essence of reality. In was in this sense that Wolff constructed the mandala shown here. A video presentation in which Wolff explains the genesis and symbolism of his mandala follows below.

Mandala Presentation (31 min)