The Yantra - Description
As many people know, a mantra is a sound repeated
during meditation to help focus the mind. A yantra is an image similarly
used in meditation. A yantra can be any design that brings peace to the mind.
Various schools of yoga have created yantras through the ages. Integral
Yoga created this one:
It symbolizes one of the schools most prominent teachings:
The truth is one, paths are many
The dot in the middle is the light, the truth, enlightenment, the true
self, love, everything we strive to know and be in our conscientious lives.
As the light radiates out, it blends into symbols of the great religions
of the world, just as the original truth diversified through the centuries
into these religions.
In yogic thought, all religions are known as bhakti. Bhakti is
one of the 8 paths of yoga that we can choose to lead us to enlightenment.
Other paths include meditation, spiritual study, and asana (the physical
practices commonly known as "yoga"). Religions are considered
to be creations of man (see 6:00 and 12:00 below), but holy all the same.
I have always liked this philosophy and this design, and thus inspired I envision
The Yantra. The same 12 symbols are placed in a circle 40 feet in diameter,
suspended 18 1/2 feet off the ground. If you were to, at night, stand at the
very center and look straight up, it would look like this:
- The entire structure is 40 feet tall and 86 feet in diameter, with a tripod
of aluminum poles in the middle and stainless steel cables radiating outward.
- Each symbol is drawn out in electroluminescent wire inside a 3 1/2 foot
- in the center of the structure is tiny, very bright light.
- Attached to the cables radiating out from the center are optical fibers
that glow in changing colors. (Like Jeremy Lutes fiber-optic suits.)
Since these colors are computer-controlled, there may be sensors on the ground
to trigger them, responding to the presence and gestures of visitors.
- Underneath each symbol is a circular bench with the symbol painted on it,
along with some philosophy and quotes from the religion.
The religions symbolized are, starting at the top, going clockwise:
- all religions yet to be created
- all religions that have been forgotten
- African religions
- Native-american religions
Set fairly far away from other light sources, The Yantra wont be
very bright. I imagine that people will notice just enough light to lure them
over. Once inside, visitors will be surrounded by a cool glow of shifting colors.
I imagine the sheer size and emptiness of the structure (see the elevation drawing)
will have that cathedral-like way of aweing one into silence. There will be
no humming generator. Folks will sit on a bench or lie on the ground looking
up, appreciating the spiritual message or just enjoying the pretty colors.
In the daytime, The Yantra will lack it's glow, but should still
provide some amusement. The symbols will cast shadows on the ground in sundial-like
precession. Perhaps on wind-less days some cloth will be stretched across
some of the cables, providing a shady spot to rest. There may be a set of
giant (12 feet long) wind chimes hanging from the top of the structure,
providing a quiescent audio element. A nearby solar panel will charge the
batteries that power the lights at night. Circuitry attached to the panel
will automatically turn on the lights at dusk.
- The 3-legged tower is made from 2" OD, 1.884" ID drawn 6063
- Each leg has 7 sections - 6 that are 6 long, 1 that is 47
- The leg sections are held together with 2 long pieces of 1.875"
OD drawn 6063 aluminum tubing that slide inside the sections.
- Halfway up each leg are crossbars that attach the legs to each other
with bolts. These crossbars may be necessary to keep the legs from
bowing out or in if the load at the top should shift drastically to one
- The legs bolt to a 13" diameter 1/4"-thick plate of 6061
aluminum with brackets welded to the underside.
- This plate has 12 holes around the top to which attach the cables that
reach down and out to each symbol disk.
- All cables are 1/8" 302 stainless steel with a rated load of 1750
- All cables are terminated with Gripples, a modern form of cable lock
- Over 1/4 mile of cable is used
- Carabiners quickly connect all the cables, anchors, top plate, and
symbol disks on-site. All cables will be pre-cut and finished off-site
- A 4:1 block-and-tackle system will allow a person to be hoisted to
- Professional rescue equipment-grade pulleys (including a locking "Haul
Safe" pulley) and ropes from Rescue Systems Inc will be used in this
- When not in use, the block-and-tackle system is pulled to the side
so as not to block the halogen lamp on the underside of the tower top-plate.
- A ground-based deep-cycle battery will provide power for all the lighting
all night. No generator.
- A ground-based 120W solar power panel will charge the battery in the
day. When it stops putting out power, the charging circuitry will automatically
turn on the lighting systems.
- Each symbol disk is a 4-diameter hoop made of stiff plastic irrigation
- Around the edge of each disk is 12 of red 5mm EL-wire
- Stretched across one side of each disk is plastic bird netting.
- Across the netting the disks symbol is drawn out, using an average
of 12 of green 5mm EL-wire.
- At each symbol disk is installed an illuminator for the optical fibers
that go from the disk up the cable to the tower top and down the 2 cables
going to the ground. Each illuminator (currently under development by Jeremy
Lutes) uses several high-power LEDs to achieve high efficiency and instantaneous
color-changing ability. All the illuminators is attached to each other
so as to synchronize lighting effects.
- On the underside of the tower top-plate is a 25W halogen lamp with
reflector, facing straight down.
- There are 12 benches, each one placed directly below each symbol disk.
- The top of each bench is a 47" plywood round with the symbol above
painted on it.
- Philosophies and quotations from the symbolized religion are painted
on it too.
- underneath each bench top is a box made from 4 32"-long 2x6s mitered
at the ends.
- inside each corner of this box is mounted a 17" 4x4 leg
Nothing in The Yantra will burn. (Perhaps some of the benches
will be cast into the temple burn.) The main thing that I will be taking
care about is that it is always visible. There are 24 cables coming to the
ground at approximately 45 degrees. If theyre not seen, they will
get hit. At night, glowing optical fiber will be attached along the entire
length of every cable. Small flags will make the cables visible in the day.
There will be a block-and-tackle system hanging from the very top of
the tower that will allow a person to be hoisted to the top for construction,
maintenance, and a swell view. Rescue-equipment grade pulleys (including
a locking "Haul Safe" pulley) and rope from Rescue Systems Inc
will be used. When my crew and I are not around, this rig will be locked
up and not available for the general public to use.
There is nothing in The Yantra that will catch the wind more than trivially.
Even so, Im using cable that is rated to hold 1750 lbs and carabiners
rated to hold 3000 lbs.
Choose center point.
Measure locations of all 15 anchors and install them
Attach all cables to outer 12 anchors, symbol disks, and tower top
plate with carabiners. Attach the cables to the anchors with a bit of play
to allow the tower to go up smoothly
Attach optical fiber electrical wiring to cables
Test all wiring, EL-wire, fiber illuminators, fiber, top light
Attach top 6 sections of the 3 tower legs to tower top-plate
Stand up the top 6 of the tower at the center point, with all
the cables and wires attached but lying on the ground
3 people lift the tower up 6
3 other people slip the next 6 sections of tower tube on each
bolt on each new leg section
repeat the previous 3 steps 5 more times
secure the bottom of each tower leg
tighten up each cable attached to the 12 outer anchors
at the middle of each tower leg, attach crossbars (using block-and-tackle)
set up battery enclosure and solar power panel
set up benches
Everything except the benches can be transported on/in Ping, my submarine
art car. Im thinking that Ill pre-cut and paint all the bench
parts in the Bay Area, then assemble them on the playa. I may be
able to transport the bench parts in Ping as well, but maybe not. My camp
may rent a truck that can carry them. Other transportation resources may
become available. I havent budgeted anything for transportation, but
I dont anticipate that this will be much of an expense.
Construction Locations, Expertise, Assistance
The Yantra will be built in my studio in Berkeley. When I need
a large area to test-build the towers and rigging, Ill probably use
The Shipyard. Unlike my previous projects, theres a lot of work that
doesnt need a machinist or computer programmer to do. I look forward
to working with a larger population of volunteer helpers. I imagine some
people will feel strongly about various religions and symbols.
For setting up The Yantra, I anticipate needing a crew of 6 people.
EL-wire expertise will be found at Cool Neon. Optical fiber expertise
and equipment will be obtained from Jeremy Lutes/Light Fantastic. Ill
probably talk to Bob Stahl about my rigging plans.
I want to get everything but the benches built by the 4th of July, so
I can take The Yantra up to the playa for a test run. Then until
Burning Man Ill fix and re-work whatever needs fixing and reworking
and build the benches. Unlike previous projects, I feel that Ill have
plenty of time for everything.
Schedule and Timeline
- Finish designing all components.
- Finalize decisions on all suppliers.
- Help Jeremy with his new LED-based fiber illuminator
- Purchase symbol disk materials (EL wire mostly) $1,056.84
- Build first EL-wire symbol disk. Make sure its bright enough.
- Purchase tower materials $614.05
- Build tower.
- Purchase rigging materials $2,193.23
- Test rigging design
- Prepare all 84 cable sections
- Build remaining 11 symbol disks
- Purchase power supply materials $815.50
- Test-assemble tower, rigging, and disks (not all 12, just 2 or 4)
- Purchase optical fiber, halogen lamp materials $3,882.48
- Build the optical fiber system
- Take The Yantra out to the playa for the 4th, testing assembly
and operation of everything
- fix and re-work whatever needs fixing and re-working
- Purchase bench materials $636.72
- cut and drill wood for all 12 benches
- paint the circular tops of each bench
- perhaps work on computer programming for fiber lights
- perhaps wind chimes
- make sure everything in Ping is running right
- leave for playa on the 18th or so
- set up The Yantra completely in advance of the event
- have a relaxed time at the event
- pack up everything and be off the playa by September 3rd
Nothing in The Yantra will burn. The only effects on the playa will be
15 holes made by screw anchors which will be easily filled.
More Information, Questions, Comments