Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the symbology of ida and pingala is confined to yoga and Indian mysticism. The ida-pingala principle represents a universal truth. It is therefore a part of every spiritual system in some form. Often the same idea of balance is conveyed by completely different symbols, but usually the symbology is strikingly similar.
Many ancient systems depict the route of spiritual life as a path or series of steps. Often the moon (ida) is shown in one corner and the sun (pingala) in the other. Sometimes spiritual life is depicted as a winding path which ascends the side of a high mountain. Again, the sun and the moon are shown. The mountain is symbolic of the sushumna. This symbology is veiy common in medieval European secret or mystical societies.
The cross in Christianity has many meanings, but surely one of them implies balance. All opposites are harmonized and equalized at the centre. Furthermore, if you use a little imagination, you can see that the cross is really very similar to the yogic symbol for ida, pingala and sushumna. The left side of the cross is ida, the right side pingala and the vertical line or post is sushumna. Their meeting point is ajna chakra. The upper line or sushumna continues on to the sahasrara (oneness). At the crossing point, in the middle of the cross (ajna) there is no ego. It was on the cross that Christ was crucified, meaning that he lost his sense of ego, which he sacrificed at the centre. There are many meanings hidden in the cross and this is just one of them.
Those people who are familiar with the tarot cards will remember that some of the cards show two pillars on each side of the pictures, these include ‘the Pope’, ‘the hanged man’ and so forth. The two pillars are ida and pingala. They imply that balance in all aspects of life is necessary for spiritual life. Also many of the cards depict the sun and moon, again indicating the ida and pingala aspects of spiritual life.
Alchemical pictures are particularly notable for their clear illustrations of ida and pingala. Like yogic symbolism, ida is often represented by the moon and pingala by the sun. Other symbols are also used, such as the phoenix, the deer, the lion and so forth, with various meanings, but always the emphasis is on balance. The nocturnal world (internal knowledge) is shown merging with the sunlight world (external expression). All seemingly irreconcilable opposites are shown unified. This harmony and integration of opposites leads to regeneration or transmutation of the individual into higher states of receptivity and being. This regeneration of man is called the philosopher’s stone, where his whole nature is refined so that it shines with dazzling luminosity. The average person is like an uncut diamond, dull and lustreless. When the diamond is cut and polished it radiates knowledge and bliss. This arises when the ida is balanced by the pingala at all levels of being.