What is a Yantra?
Yantra (Mandala) is a powerful tool that helps one in getting acquainted to inner and outer realities. Literally, the term ‘Yantra’ means an instrument. It is a geometric design that helps one in contemplating, concentrating and meditating on the Almighty or individual deities (creative forces). The focal point that a Yantra provides bears tremendous spiritual significance and helps the practitioner to attain higher level of consciousness.
A Yantra represents the microcosmic picture of the entire macrocosm. It is symbolic of the non-difference that exists between subject and object – the man and the cosmos.
How does Yantra work as a Focal Point?
Yantra acts as a simple, single object upon which the mind concentrates. Eventually, the mind achieves a poise so as to become empty, quiet and stable even without the help of any object i.e. Yantra. In the most advanced phases, meditating on Almighty and reunion with him becomes possible with mere visualization of the geometric design of the Yantra and concentrating and contemplating upon it.
Most often Yantras are drawn in symmetrical shapes and are designed in such a manner so as to bring the eye into the centre while focussing. Yantras can either be two or three dimensional. They can be depicted on various materials including earth, metal, wood or paper.
Yantra as Shape Energy
Yantra philosophy strongly believes that every shape or form exhibits certain type of energy. A particular energy or power is ascribed to each shape. Though there are both positive and negative forms of energies, Yantra practice only takes into account those energies which are positive and beneficial for usage. As part of Yantra practice, if one keeps his mind focussed on a particular Yantra, his mind gets tuned into that Yantra specific energy that comes from the macrocosm. In the process, one may also come into contact with certain form of energy which could be tremendously helpful in climbing the spiritual path in life.
Misinterpretation of Yantra Images
Unfortunately, the concept of Yantra has often been misinterpreted in the west. Yantras are often regarded in the west as attractive pictures created from the imagination of the humans. However, the fact is that Yantra practice is a completely traditional concept that could not have been conceived by commoners.
The shape and energy associated with each specific Yantra emits certain emotions. Hence, a new Yantra could only be achieved through a tantric revelation of a spiritual master and not via certain imagination. Again, there is a specific method of placing a Yantra and one may not place a Yantra upside down or sideways as per one’s wish or thoughts.
How to Practice Yantras for maximum benefits?
Full focus and meditation on image of a Yantra helps one gain resonance and for the continuous flow of energy through resonance one needs to follow the below mentioned instructions.
- The Yantra should be hung on the wall facing either north or east.
- The centre of the Yantra should be at the level of the eyes.
- With the spine absolutely straight, one should sit on a chair or maintain his favourite pose.
- A normal breathing method should be maintained. It is advisable to inhale through nose and exhale through mouth.
- One should focus on the focal point of the Yantra without getting distracted with other particulars.
- One should blink as rarely as possible observing the whole Yantra at once.
- For evident results in gaining mind-body spiritual equilibrium, one should practice Yantra 15 to 30 minutes every day.
- After around seven days of thorough Yantra meditation, one may start practicing the same, visualising an imaginary point. One may also follow the same using closed eyes. Tapping energies even without the Yantra usages thus becomes possible.
- One should sanctify the results of this practice to god with Karma Yoga
- One should not, in any case, try to chase any particular objective while Yantra meditation. The practice itself will eventually guide you towards macrocosmic energies.
- One should have that zeal and aspiration from within for experiencing these spiritual energies of the consciousness.
Powerful Vedic Interpretations of Yantra Symbols
Yantra from Inside – Form and diagram of a Yantra determines its stimulation of resonance. The resonance represents phenomenon, energy, cosmic power, aspect, or a deity. A diagram is a form of one or more geometrical shapes that transfigures in a subtle globular force corresponding to a particular deity that is required to be invoked. Through resonance, a practitioner’s microcosmic energy starts vibrating on equal wavelength with the infinite macrocosmic energy (depicted as a Yantra diagram). Now, this represents the universal link that exists between the human being and the Creation, i.e. to say between microcosm and macrocosm. It can be thus said that a Yantra works similarly to a Mantra, only that the former represents a ‘sacred form’ while the latter a ‘sacred word’.
The Outline – A contour is an essential part of the Yantra diagram as it prevents the loss of energy or magical forces concentrated in the core Yantra structure, especially its central dot. An outline instead increases the subtle forces in the process.
The Core Yantra – The core Yantra codifies a subtle energy. However, there are various types of cores that represent various types of subtle energies.
Yantras are composed of single or multiple geometrical figures forming
On the other hand, various vectors and directions of actions required for gaining Yantric energies are also depicted in complex geometrical shapes like arrow points, spikes tridents, swords, etc.
The Dot or Bindu
It represents the following –
- Focalized energy
- Intense Concentration
- Energy repository that radiates energy in various other forms
A dot is generally surrounded by various surfaces like circle, hexagon, triangle etc. Basically, the form that surrounds the dot depends on what deity or aspect one is propitiating as different forms depict different deities or aspects.
Dot in Tantric Iconography – A dot represents Lord Shiva himself in Tantric practice. A dot is generally called a ‘bindu’ in this practice. When fully concentrated upon, a dot gives a macrocosmic view of the whole creation and Lord Shiva is considered the source of the whole creation.
The Triangle or Trikona
A Trikona is a symbolic representation of Shakti herself. She is also an aspect of creation which is feminine in nature. The downward pointing triangle represents yoni (feminine sexual organ) which symbolically represents absolute source of this universe.
The upward pointing triangle represents intense spiritual aspiration. It defines transformation of one’s inner-self or roots into the most subtle planes represented as Agni Tattva (element of fire).
Shiva Kona – The upward pointing triangle is symbolic of the fire which is always oriented upwards. This is called Shiva Kona.
Shakti Kona – Since water tends to flow downwards occupying the lowest possible position, the Shakti Kona is represented as a downward pointing triangle.
Thus, the forces generated by the intersection of two geometric diagrams, be it circle, diagram, triangle, etc. are always more intense that those generated by a single diagram. This occurs owing to the dynamic interactions that takes place between two correspondent energies. Just in between the two diagrams lie extremely efficient operational fields of the forces.
Symbolic union of Shiva and Shakthi
Sometimes, these operational fields also encounter representation of Mantras, as Mantra and Yantra together form the complementary aspects of Lord Shiva. It is known that the combined implementation of Mantra and Yantra bear more fruitful results than their individual usage.
The Six Point Star (Shatkona)
Often found in Yantra, it is represented as the superposition of two triangles, the one is upward pointing and the second one is downward thus forming a star. The star consists of six points and hence the name Shatkona i.e. the six-points star. In English, this figure is termed as a David Star. There is a subliminal interpretation of this symbol as it depicts the spiritual union of Purusha and Prakriti (Shiva Shakti). This macrocosmic view also represents the truth that no creation could ever take place without this spiritual union.
The Circle (Chakra)
The spiral, which is fundamental to the Macrocosmic evolution, is linked to the shape of this circle or chakra used in the Yantra. Amongst the five fundamental elements, the circle means air or Vayu Tattva representing perfection and the creative idyllic void.
The Square (Bhupura)
A square represents the element of earth (Prithivi Tattva) and it generally forms the exterior element of a Yantra. Each Yantra starts from the subtle i.e. a dot (ether) and ends with a square (earth).
The Lotus (Padma)
A lotus defines two separate virtues, i.e. purity and variety. Lotus blossoms in the mud and serves the feet of various deities; hence it is considered extremely pious and virtuous. On the other hand, multiple petals of the lotus represent various aspect of life. In Yantra practice, the inclusion of lotus indicates freedom from the exterior forces which bear multiple inferences and union with the Supreme Self (absolute force).
A Yantra is basically a complex spiritual instrument and is a central part of Tantra practice. It brings poise, calmness and helps the mind to focus on various psychic activities. Its positive auto-suggestion bears beneficial impact on the physical, psychic and spiritual well being of its practitioner.
On a final note, a Yantra without resonance is of zero importance. It is only when a Yantra is awakened with the help of meditation and mental focus; macrocosmic energies (universal) will manifest themselves in the microcosm of Yantric practitioner. A state of non-duality is achieved when the practitioner’s mind becomes one with the Yantra, and is unable to define whether it (mind) is within the Yantra or vice versa.