yantraIf a mantra is the invsible driving force, the yantra is often the visible means to gain power, wealth, ward off evil, ward off illnesses, nullify the ill effects of planets, bring you luck in love, enhance your capabilities — the range is truly vast. Yantras are sometimes made up of numbers, sometimes of a certain set of symbols, sometimes of mantras.

They can be written on paper or bhojpatras (parchment) and worn as a talisman; they can be engraved on an amulet or pendant and worn on the body; they can be painted on a door or wall or the floor, they can be engraved on gold, silver, copper, iron and even painted on leaves, stones and other objects. Some of the earliest yantras are associated with auspicious symbols and powerful numbers.

In ancient India, for instance, the good luck square of nine which always added upto fifteen was deemed a harbinger of prosperity and happiness and even today some business establishments and even homes paint this square (given below) near their main entrance. Whether you add the numbers in the square, vertically, horizontally or diagonally, the total is always fifteen. For eg :8 1 6 or 3 5 7 or 4 9 2 The Sanskrit word ‘Yantra’ derives from the root ‘yam’ meaning to sustain, hold or support the energy inherent in a particular element, object or concept. In its first meaning, ‘yantra’ may refer to any kind of mechanical contrivance which is harnessed to aid an enterprise. A yantra in this sense, therefore, is any sort of machine or instrument such as is used in architecture, astronomy, alchemy, chemistry, warfare or recreation. A Sanskrit text of the eleventh century AD, Samaranganasutradhara on the science of architecture, gives vivid descriptions of the making and operating of such mechanical yantras as a wooden flying bird, wooden aeroplanes meant to fly with hot mercury as fuel, male and female robot figures, etc. The vast observatories built in Delhi and laipur under the patronage of Jai Singh (1686-1734) are called Jantar- Mantar, as their massive structures are astronomical ‘instruments’ (yantras) for recording heavenly phenomena. Principles of Yantra

Mystic yantras are an amalgam of three principles:

1. The form principle (Akriti-rupa),
2. The function-principle (Kriya-rupa)
3. The power-principle (Sakti-rupa).

They are, first of all, believed to reveal the inner basis of the forms and shapes abounding in the universe. just as, whatever the outer structure, all matter is made of an intrinsic basic unity, the atom, so each aspect of the world can be seen in its structural form as a yantra. As the scientist sees the final picture of the world in the orderly, simple, atomic structures in which certain primal shapes appear as a harmonized ‘whole’, so the Indian shilpi-yogins (makers of ritual art) seek to identify the innermost structure of the universe by concentrating the variegated picture of world-appearances through intense yogic vision into simple form-equations. A yantra, then, can be considered an ultimate form-equation of a specific energy manifesting in the world.

These simple form-equations are held to epitomize the real nature of the cosmos as abstracted from the concrete. In its widest application, Akriti-rupa refers to the inner or hidden form of structures, so that any structure, from an atom to a star, has its Akriti-rupa yantra. Thus a flower or a leaf has an outer structure which is immediately perceptible, but it also has an inner form, which generally consists of a skeletal framework in which all its linear forms intersect with a central axis or nucleus: all forms have a gross structure and a ‘subtle’ inner structure, with a basic causal pattern (the inner form) for the external form. Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience. All the primal shapes of a yantra are psychological symbols corresponding to inner states of human consciousness, through which control and expansion of psychic forces are possible.


It is for this reason that a yantra is said to embody a function-principle’ (Kriya-rupa). By constant reinforcement in ritual worship the apparently inert yantra-forms shake off their dormancy and act together as emblems of psychic power. In this case, the yantra is said to move beyond ‘form’ and ‘function’ and emerges as a ‘power diagram’ (Sakti-rupa) endowed with a self-generating propensity to transform a mundane experience into a psychic one. It is at this point that the yantra is said to be ‘revealed’. Although its outward meaning may be relatively easy to understand, the inner meaning that gives it its efficacy is difficult to grasp because its archetypal forms are basically concerned with the inner facts of psychic experience, gained through intuitive vision.Varieties and Types of Yantra Vaishnava Yantras Vaishnava yantras are related to Vishnu and do not belong to the Mother-worshiping Shakta tradition.

They include Ram Yantra, Vishnu Yantra, Shri Gopal Yantra, and Hunuman Yantra. In most cases their forms are identical to some of the Shakta Yantras, but the colors differ. This is also true of the Shaiva Yantras. Shaiva Yantras Shaiva Yantras are related to Shiva and the Shaiva tradition: Bhairav Yantra, Maha Mrityunjaya Yantra, and Mritsanjivni Yantra Architectural Yantras Architectural yantras are used for the ground plans of temples.


They also include Mandala Yantras and Chatra Yantras. Mandala Yantras are to be engraved on the roof and Chatra Yantra on the top of the seat of the goddess. Astrological Yantras Astrological yantras are used in working with the energy of the nine planets: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (the north node of the moon, known as Dragon’s Head), and Ketu (the south node of the moon, known as Dragon’s Tall).Numerical yantras are composed not of basic geometrical forms but of numbers. Some of them are composed as magic squares and are used as talismans. The yantras composed by numbers are most popular and are used by Tantrics for all kinds of purposes.

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