Correspondence between the indian system and the qabalistic tree of life


This thread is a continuation to As you already expected ;) I will not attempt to fit sanskrit letters to the tarot because of the following argument.

The origin of the tarot lies in southern europe, and the origin of hebrew still somewhat further to the south, but they are relatively close together. Card V. is called -the Pope- in the classic decks, and shows the affinity between western religion and the tarot, as a kind of prelude to the 19th century discovery that the hebrew letters can be made to correspond with the trumps. Stretching it further, we see that the pipcards, which are 4x10, correspond numerically with the 10 sephiroth of the qabalistic tree of life.

As sort of consolation I describe some fundamental difference between the indian and western systems.

The tree of life has it's mathematical roots planted in the hexagram, also known as star of David, as I will show you here. The ancients used the line (ruler) to represent the male, and the circle (compass) to represent the female. Let's start with the eternal female, and draw a circle. Now, putting the needle of the compass on the circle, and the pencil on it's middle point, the original circle is kind of projected outward, as it were in order to get conscious of itself: piscis.jpg. The form that has arisen in the middle not only symbolizes a yoni, but also a seed, and hence it is called the seed of life. The seed of life is where creation starts. If you put the needle on one of the intersections, you get a figure resembling a sprout:, called the germ of life. Putting the needle on the newly created intersections, out of the germ grows the flower of life: You notice that the flower has got 6 leaves, one for every point of the hexagram. If you keep drawing circles from the new intersections, a kind of flower garden arises, and out of this flower garden is created the tree of life: (It's unfortunate there is no greater image, but you might enlarge it). It is worthy to mention that the numbers 6 and 10 are very much related. The hexagram consists of two interlacing triangles, and 2=0=1=10. Moreover, the length of the sides of the hexagon equals 1. On the other hand, the length of the sides of the decagon (deca=10) equals 1/phi. Phi is the proportion of the golden ratio, and may be considered to be the agent of the 1 manifesting in creation, like the tree is supposed to help to manifest our full spiritual potential.

Observing the geometry of hinduism, there is no such systematic development. But hinduism presents a geometical structure that is in no way less enchanting, and that is sri yantra: Around it we see lotus leaves, as if the sri yantra is the essence of the flower. The flower is not the only point of correspondence that sri yantra has with the tree of life. Sri yantra has got 54 intersections, and according to one version there are 54 letters in the sanskrit alphabet, so one letter for each. (Also noteworthy is that 2x54 = 108, if not, one of the most sacred numbers. Paul Case states in the Book of Tokens, p.37, that there is also an unmanifest tree, so 2X10 sephiroth in total) But there is one huge difference of sri yantra with the geometry of the tree of life, namely that there is no logical development. It starts with two interlacing triangles created on basis of the golden ratio, and with straight lines from the newly arisen intersections building towards the inner core (notice the complementarity with the tree of life), it ends exactly in the middle with a perfect equilateral triangle, and no one will ever know how this is possible. It is like a very weird order out of nothing.

Peculiarly, for the alphabets the opposite holds true. The hebrew alphabet gets numbers and objects out of nowhere, whereas the sanskrit alphabet is purely mathematically structured. In the (most common) version that I was taught, there are 50 letters in the alphabet. Every letter is consecutively assigned to the 50 leaves of the chakra system: 4(muladhara) + 6(svadisthana) + 10(manipura) + 12(anahatta) + 16(vishuddha) + 2(ajna). There are 4 semivowels that form the link between the vowels and the consonants, but also between the chakras, called the root sound of the chakra: of muladhara -lam-, of svadhistana -vam-, of manipura -ram-, and of anahatta -yam-. Sound is created through the 5 positions in the mouth, corresponding to the 5 elements. Relating this to the consonants, there are 5 groups of them, each group consisting of 2+2+1=5, making 25(square of 5) consonants. There are 16(square of 4) vowels, 2 aspirates + 3 sibilants + 4 semivowels = 9(square of 3). Coincidentally, the 3-4-5 triangle (square(3)+square(4)=square(5)) is one of the fundamentals of our civilization, and was known to the egyptians. Three symbolizes heaven, four symbolizes earth, and 5 symbolizes the connection between them, call it a tree.

To me it seems that the essence of hebrew is number, and that of sanskrit is sound. Thus they relate to each other as spirit to soul.

As to the reason of my questions, I can tell you that it's in my nature to be fond of variety. I almost grew up with hinduism, and having a western education, this can make you pretty broadminded. I think I have shown that from a fundamental point of view the western and indian system are pretty much complementary, and as I am striving towards wholeness, I feel the urge to pay attention to both of them.