What is Yantra?

Yantra is a Sanskrit word which means instrument. Yantra in meditation is sacred geometric images used to gaze upon to improve the concentration. These geometric images are mostly composed of triangles, circles, squares or even the shape of lotus leaves to represent the energy of the deity whom we chose.

History of Yantra

Many traditions follow some sort of visual framework to stay focused.

  • Thangkas from Tibetan Buddhism
  • Classical Christian icons
  • Painting of chakras
  • Hindu deities
  • Candles etc.

Yantra is one of the aspects of Tantra and works as a substitute for the image or statue of a deity. Different Yantras contain specific mantras along with the subtle energy body and the vibration of the god/goddess expressing their sense of spirit and energy.

Read more about the importance of Mantras here – How Mantras can affect you positively?

The yantras emanate from a single point called ‘Bindu’. It has several geometric shapes radiating concentrically from the center, including triangles, circles, hexagons, octagons, and symbolic lotus petals.

Circles appear in nature – in flowers, snowflakes, sun, moon, etc., architecture and are also powerful symbols in cultures throughout world history. Circles are called as Mandalas in Sanskrit. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas are used for evoking spiritual energy, facilitate meditation and are used in sacred rites as a transformative tool to assist with healing. This healing process using the power of circles or Mandalas or circles is called as Mandala Therapy.

Shape of Yantra                       Features
Triangle Hindu yantras include triangles. Downward pointing triangles represent the feminine aspect of God or Shakti, upward pointing triangles represent masculine aspect such as Shiva.
Hexagram These are two equilateral triangles intertwined, representing the union of male and female aspects of divinity, or Shiva and Shakti.
Lotus Lotus petals represent purity and transcendence. Eight-petaled lotuses are common, but lotuses in yantras can include 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 24, 32, 100, 1000 or more petals.
Circle or Mandalas Unlike other shapes, the circle flows and has no hard edges or angles. Circles are believed to help individuals focus inward
Outer square They represent the earth and the four cardinal directions. Often, they include sacred doorways on each side of the square.
Pentagram Guhyakali has a pentagram, due to the number five being associated with Kali.
Octagon They represent eight directions

 

Sri Yantra

 

Sri Yantra is the most powerful and celebrated of all tantric yantras. It is a representation of cosmic creation.

How is Sri Yantra formed?

Check out the picture above. Sri Yantra is formed by the following

  • three step Bhupura which represents Manas, Ahangara, Budhi and Chitta.
  • three radius circles representing the trinity, cycles of time and states of consciousness)
  • a circle of petaled lotus’s two interlocking sets of triangles (four facing upward representing the male aspect and five facing downward representing the female aspect)
  • Bindu in the center triangle where Tripura Sundari (Goddess of bliss, delight, total fulfillment) resides and where the merging is experienced between the masculine and feminine.

Everything radiates outside from the center point.

Benefits of Yantras –

  • They are tools to enhance our life in different dimensions.
  • Improves your concentration
  • Helps you to stay focused

 

Yantras in Ayurveda

The following observations were presented at the International Workshop on mantras and ritual diagrams in Hinduism, held in Paris, 21-22 June 1984.

The study of the psychophysiological effect of mantric recitation, principally in yogic exercises, contributes to the understanding of the essentially psychosomatic use of sacred formulas and ritual diagrams in Ayurvedic medicine. These mantras, or instruments of thought, are applicable to the total man, in both his psychophysical and spiritual dimensions. The practice of this procedure is as much auditive and visual as it is gestual (mudrai) and graphic or figurative (yantra, mandala).

Orientalists have not failed to draw a connection between the device of manra-yantra and psychological introspection, observing as they have the efficacy of this Indian practice for the reintegration of personality. Scientists have also undertaken physiological investigations of the poorly understood potentialities of japa.

Classical Ayurveda introduces only a few examples of amulets for the newborn child or against the evil spirits that afflict infants with the disease. Vagbhata, in the Astangasamgraha, gives a description of two mandalas of the latter sort. It is not until the 16th century that we find another mandala, which the compiler of the Ayurvedic section of the Todarananda an encyclopedia borrowed, along with certain mantras, from the alchemical Rasarnava. The earlier Harita Samhita contains a ritual diagram for easy childbirth another eutocic yantra is described by Vrnda in the 9th or 10th century and later by other compilers of more recent times. This latter diagram represents a magic square, of the order three, which is also found in the Arabic medical literature as early as A. D. 850 (Paradise of Wisdom).

 

Working with Yantras will help you achieve more power to reflect your inner energy. Connect deeper into your goddess energy by implementing Yantra meditation to practice.

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

Article by Arya Krishna