[INDOLOGY] Tattoo design

Dean Michael Anderson eastwestcultural at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 13 14:07:43 UTC 2022

 In looking more closely at the lettering based on the comments here, I'd say it almost certainly seems to be showing ātmatattvam.
The word is found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.5.5 and according to this site, also in the Upanishads: 
http://sanskrit.segal.net.br/en/mw?id=23512#23512which translates it as "the true nature of the soul or of the supreme spirit S3vetUp."
Gavin Flood -- is he on this list? -- talks about it in The Concept of Mind in Hindu Tantrism which can be found as a pdf via Google.
So it seems to be a consistent representation of a tantric yantra and mantra associated with ātmatattvam.

The appeal of such a tattoo to a young seeker of Indian wisdom is clear.


    On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 07:05:44 PM GMT+5:30, Valerie J Roebuck via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:  
 Dear Colleagues
Thank you very much for all your helpful replies, which I have forwarded to Jackie Hirst. 
Most suggestions have centred round the idea that the characters were an attempt to write the mahāvākya tat tvam asi, but there is also the possibility that it is ātmatattvam, which seems closer to the lettering we have, though perhaps less likely to be known by a non-specialist. If it is the former, it seems a very good message for the young man to have left to his family. 
Again, many thanks.
Valerie J RoebuckManchester, UK 
Sent from my iPad

On 12 Apr 2022, at 21:19, Valerie Roebuck via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear indology list
Could you please advise Dr Jackie Hirst about the tattoo design shown in the attached picture? 
She says: ‘It is a sketch, now in the possession of a father, that was found in the effects of his son, a young man who died tragically recently, and the family are keen to know what it means. He was interested in the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad Gītā amongst other things and frequently sketched lotuses. Would anyone be able to shed more light on this as a particular (basic indication of a) yantra and/or on the particular (mainly nāgarī) characters which do not seem to make sense as a word/words - could they be (an attempt to indicate) specific individual seed mantras? or?  If anyone has any further ideas, and how to convey them sensitively to the family, please reply to the list and/or to Jackie direct (jacqueline.hirst at manchester.ac.uk - Honorary Research Fellow South Asian Studies).  With many thanks.'
Below is a Dropbox link to the design in question. It’s shared with the permission of the family.

Valerie J RoebuckManchester, UK

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