The word means circle and thus mandala is a complex diagram in circular form employed for the focusing of cosmic and psychic energies. It maybe as small as a drawing or as large as a temple enclosure. The yantra is a form of mandala different only in that the former embodies but a single deity while the latter may enclose a infinite number. The mandala is a image of the universe, a receptacle for the gods. As sacred space, it is a form of paradise purified of demons. Through the mandalas the participants seek protection from the malignant forces of nature.
The mandala diagrams, when awakened and made operative by incantation and ritual gesture, could create, enclose, protect and destroy energy. The mandala diagram had gateways which were guarded by mantras (prayers). The entry into the heart of the diagram was through spell and magical gesture revealed to the initiate. A small man- data provides the yogi with an image of the world into which he enters psychically.