Yantras are diagrams that are composed of geometrical patterns that are used to visualize mantras and are said to be encapsulations of a deity or power in tantric ritual. In this article I would describe a little bit more about Yantra and their use in Tantric practice.
The word yantra stems from the word ‘yam,’ meaning to hold or control the energy of an object or element, which is often used in the building of something.
Hinduism has been using Yantras and Mantras in daily practices, especially by yantra associated with the god or goddess who embodies that energy.
Hindus usually idolize the following deities as per their qualities –
- Lakshmi – Wealth and Prosperity
- Kali or Durga – Strength and Courage
- Saraswati – Knowledge and creative intelligence
- Ganesha – To banish Obstacles
The Ganapathi Homam or ritual is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is the most important ritual among all the forms of worshiping the almighty God. As per Hinduism, no task can be fulfilled without the grace of Lord Ganesha. In order to banish the obstacles in front of any task, it is imperative that one must worship Ganesha and seek his blessings.
Fusion of three principles: form, function, and power, is thought to compose a yantra by the Tantric philosophers. The shapes that often compose a yantra (triangle, square, circle, etc.) are the most basic forms that the universe deduced to. To understand the composition of the universe it is believed one must use a yantra to map together the basic shapes of the universe.
Another important symbol or Yantra used by the Tantra Philosophy is that of Lotus. In Indian art and architecture there are 8 symbols of auspiciousness. Among other key symbols like the conch shell (sankha) and the wheel (cakra), the lotus (padma) is incorporated into Indian art, bearing powerful symbolism regarding divinity, purity, and auspiciousness. 1
In order to obtain the full benefits of a Yantra, chanting mantras is absolutely necessary.
Read more about Mantras here – How mantras can affect you positively?
Fundamentally, Tantra, Mantra and Yantra represent the three basic approaches available to human beings to harness the power of God. It can be obtained through Karma Marga or path of action, Jnana Marga or path of knowledge and Sanyasa Marga or the path of renunciation. Tantra means the use of the body power (tan + tra) or the use of the nerves in the body (tant + tra) or both. Tantu is also a symbolic reference to God or Self (Tantunama or Tantu Nadha), who is the lord of the body. In that sense, Tantra means the use of the power (Shakti) of God for self-transformation and liberation. Mind and intelligence are active during chanting Mantra. Tantra can also be said as the use of body for self-realization and self-transformation. Yantras act like temporary energy centers while practicing Tantra. They radiate spiritual energy, or the power of the deity who presides over it. They are used to enhance one’s own will power or weaken that of others, ward off evil, seek protection from the enemies or destroy them.
Sriyantra – The Mother of all Yantras
Popularly known as Shree Yantra or Sri Chakra is one of the most powerful and important Yantras to help you fulfill your dreams. It is called as Mother of Yantras since all other yantras originates from Sriyantra.
How Sriyantra is formed?
Sri Yantra diagram is formed by 9 triangles that surround and radiate from the central (bindu) point. These nine triangles are of various sizes and intersect with one another. In the middle is the power point called bindu, visualizing the highest, the invisible, elusive midpoint or heart from which the entire figure and the cosmos expand. The triangles are enclosed by two rows of lotus petals, representing creation and vital energy. The broken lines of the outer frame represent a sanctuary with four openings to the regions of the universe.
Let us look at each of the part of Sriyantra in detail –
|Outer square||In Vedic sacred geometry, the square corresponds to the earth. The outside square represents mundane emotions such as anger, fear, and worldly desires.||When one concentrates and meditates with sriyantra, the outer square to defeat these disturbing energies.|
|T – Shaped Structures in square||These are considered the gates of the four directions, and the entry points of the yantra.|
|Circles||The three circles represent – Past, Present and Future|
|Sixteen Lotus Petals||The petals represent the ten organs of perception and action (tongue, nose, mouth, skin, eyes, ears, feet, hands, arms, and the reproductive organs), and the five elements (Pancha Maha Bhootas): earth, water, fire, air, and space. The sixteenth petal represents the mind (Manas), which gathers and interprets information from the perceptions of the interactivity of the elements.|
|Eight Lotus Petals||Each petal governs a specific activity: speech, grasping, motion, excretion, enjoyment, revulsion, attraction, and equanimity.|
|First set of interlocked Triangles||The upward triangles represent masculine power and the downward facing triangles represent feminine power.||They can help in giving power to the divine self.|
|Circles of Triangles||Each triangle represents omniscience, omnipotence, sovereignty, knowledge, destruction of all disease, unconditional support, vanishment of all evils, protection, and the attainment of all desires.|
|final inner space||five arrows representing the world of the senses, a bow, representing the mind, a noose, representing attachment, and a stick, representing aversion.|
Finally, the middle of inner triangle is the Bindu. It represents original state of being.
Given the fact that this is one of the oldest and most recognizable sacred geometry it is difficult to understand and draw a sriyantra without tremendous practice and efforts.
- Kapoor, Subodh (2000) “Symbolism.” The Hindus Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Edited by Subodh Kapoor. Volume 4: 1171-1714. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications.