Yantra

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Kamala Yantra or Kamalatmika Yantra
Stone Sri Chakra at the Parashakthi Temple
Chinnamasta yantra of Goddess Chinnmasta , fearsome tantric goddess
Dhumavati yantra of Dhumavati Goddess of death

Yantra is the Sanskrit word for "instrument" or "machine". Much like the word "instrument" itself, it represents symbols, processes, automata, machinery or anything that has structure and organization, depending on context. Traditionally such symbols are common in :Eastern mysticism to balance the mind or focus it on spiritual concepts. The act of wearing, depicting, enacting and/or concentrating on a yantra is held to have spiritual or astrological or magical benefits in the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions. A popular usage in the west is in the form of symbols or geometric figures. In Yantra Shastra...Maha Yantras for ten Maha Vidyas are: Sri Yantra, Baglamukhi Yantra, Kali or Maha Kali Yantra, Bhairon Yantra, Tara Yantra, Bhuvaneshwari Yantra, Chinnmasta Yantra, Dhumavati Yantra, and Mahalakshimi or Kamala Yantra.

Quotes[edit]

  • In Hindu devotional tradition, “yantra” is the general term for instruments of worship, namely, idols, pictures, or geometrical diagrams. A yantra may serve as a (1) representation of some personification or aspect of the divine, (2) a model for the worship of a divinity immediately within the heart after the paraphernalia of outward devotion (idols, perfumes, offerings, audibly uttered formulae) have been discarded by the advance initiate, (3) a kind of chart or schedule for the gradual evolution of a vision, while identifying the Self with its slowly varying contents that is to say, with divinity in all its phases of transformation. In this case the yantra contains dynamic elements.
  • Yantra is an instrument designed to curb the psychic powers by concentrating them on pattern, and in such a way that this pattern becomes reproduced by the worshipper’s visualizing powers.
    • In "Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization" p. 141.
  • Yantras are mystic diagrams and geometrical designs on which certain lettered or syllabic characters are written. They are made for the most diverse occasions and purposes. They are drawn or engraved on strips of palm-leaf or copper or gold foil and have the significance of amulets. They are worn in a little metal case round the neck or upper arms or even loins, as protection against any possible danger or harm. Some are made to injure another person or to augment the power of a spell against somebody.
  • ...when the Goddess is invited to take her place, before the moment of worship, the yoni mudra is made since the yoni, the female organ is her pitha or yantra. The yoni can never be regarded by Tantric adept otherwise than an altar.
  • A yantra symbolically represents the human body and psyche. Most are circles enclosed in a square outer form with four gates. The square represents the ego consciousness, while the circle represents the unconscious. Whenever something unconscious becomes conscious, it is symbolized by a circle or a round shape, becoming a square or a cube. The square outer layer of a yantra represents the act of entering the circle, or the unconscious entering the consciousness.
  • By regularly meditating on a specific yantra, you can tune in to the corresponding archtype to focus its healing energies in your psyche and foster personal growth.
    • In Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness, p. 157.

Maònòdalas and Yantras in the Hindu Traditions[edit]

Gudrun Bühnemann (January 2003). Maònòdalas and Yantras in the Hindu Traditions. BRILL. p. 28–. ISBN 90-04-12902-2. 

A crucifix, considered as an amulet in Christian tradition as a defense against demons, as the holy sign of Christ's victory over every evil
  • Yantra is an instrument of fastening.
    • In p. 28.
  • ...and also a magic diagram. It is derived from the verbal root yam, ‘to control'.
    • In p. 28.
  • Because it restrains all suffering arising from the defects (in the form) of desire, anger and so forth they call it yantra. The god who is worshipped in it graces (the practitioner)
    • From Kularnava Tantra quoted in p. 28
  • O Mistress of the kula, because it protects always from absolutely all dangers, such as Yama and (evil) spirits (bhuta), therefore it is called yantra.
    • In p. 28.
  • It subdues all evil , it protects the practitioner from great danger when worshipped (and) visualized (dhyana); therefore it is called yantra.
    • By Purnananda from Sritatva Chintamani quoted in p. 28.
  • They call it yantra because it restrains prolonged suffering arising from defects (in the form) of desire, anger and so forth.
    • By Raghvabhatta/ commentary on Sardatilaka quoted in p. 28.
  • A general characteristic of yantras is that they are small in size.
    • In p. 29.
  • With the exception of yantras placed below temple statues at the time of consecration and yantras installed permanently for worship in mathas or temples, and a few other cases, yantras are generally mobile, whereas mandalas are not.
    • By Gudrun Bühnemann in p. 29.
  • Texts may prescribe that the lines of the yantra be traced with a specific colour, for example, with turmeric or blood, but the space inside is never filled with colours….images are generally not found in yantras.
    • By Gudrun Bühnemann in p. 29.
  • Brunner defines Yantra as a linear representation on a specific surface, such as birch-bark… yantras almost inevitably have letters, seed (beeja) syllables or mantras inscribed in them….yantras have inscribed mantras.
    • Quoted in p. 29.
  • ...yantras, like some mandalas are used for worship in desire-oriented (kamya rites), but their main purpose is magical.
    • in p. 30.
  • Yantras can be two-or three dimensional. Two dimensional yantras are designs on paper, textiles and other materials. They are dimensional yantras raised structures usually made of metal. The well known sri yantra or sri chakra are classified differently, depending on the author’s use of terminology.
    • In p. 30.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism[edit]

Denise Cush; Catherine Robinson; Michael York (2008). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Psychology Press. pp. 1029–. ISBN 978-0-7007-1267-0. 

  • ...energies has three aspects: its visual form (yantra), its sound form (mantra) and its ‘personality’ or god-form (devata). Yantra is thus thought to be an essential component in the mastery of cosmic energies that comprises tantric praxis.
  • The medium on which yantra is drawn is either paper or metal, and the medium used is sometimes said to determine the relative effectiveness of the yantra – in this, the rarer, precious metals such as gold and silver are generally considered to be more effective, but for some yantras (often with the purpose of mastering the baser powers of black magic such as killing or invoking ruin on an enemy), a baser medium such as iron is prescribed. Less permanent materials are also used in some ritual contexts, such as inscribing of a yantra in sand or with certain powders – these are most often normally dispersed at the conclusion of the ritual.
    • In p. 1029
  • There also exist numerological yantras...These are generally inscribed in the form of ‘magic squares’ that is numbers arranged in grid form (3x3 or 4x4 or larger) where the sum of each row and column is constant...The use of these numerological yantras is almost exclusively talismanic – that they are worn on the body for protection and health – as opposed to being used for ritual worship or meditation.

Sri Yantra[edit]

Sri Yantra with correct traditional colors in a silkscreen print made in 1974 at the Tantra Research Institute in Oakland, California
The Sri Yantra in diagrammatic form, showing how its nine interlocking triangles form a total of 43 smaller triangles.
  • The Sri Yantra or Sri Chakra is an important cult object for the Sri Vidya tradition of tantrism. It is understood as being the subtle form of the goddess Sri Lalita.
  • A new Sri Chakra is always carefully drawn whenever a Puja is performed. The pujas that are done in this tradition are always performed privately, except for the puja done in select temples.
    • In "Encyclopedia of Hinduism", p. 510.
  • The Sri Yantra is composed of two sets of triangles. One set includes four male triangles denoting the four aspects of evolved or limited consciousness. The other set includes five female triangles denoting the five vital functions, the five senses of knowledge, the five senses of action, and the five subtle and five physical forms of matter.
    • In "Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness", p. 160.
  • These two sets of triangles are superimposed to show the union of the masculine and feminine aspects of your nature. When united they make the eight lotus petals of the yantra. Four gates or doors called bhupara, surround these triangles representing the gates of the consciousness to the deeper mysteries beyond.
    • In "Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness", p. 160.
  • These nine triangles are of various sizes and intersect with one another. In the middle is the power point (bindu), visualizing the highest, the invisible, elusive centre from which the entire figure and the cosmos expand. The triangles are enclosed by two rows of (8 and 16) petals, representing the lotus of creation and reproductive vital force. The broken lines of the outer frame denote the figure to be a sanctuary with four openings to the regions of the universe".
  • The expansion of space, time, sound and energy continue in the process of creation, and primary triangle is transformed into a series of lines, triangles, circles and squares to form the Sri Yantra. The various patterns are the modifications of the original primal vibration, which at each stage contains interplay of the static and kinetic energies in varying degrees of concentration. The Sri Yantra is called “Nava Chakra”, since it is composed of nine circuits, counting from the outer plane to the bindu. Through contemplation on the Sri Yantra, the adept can rediscover his primordial source.
    • In "The Tantra: Its Origin, Theories, Art, and Diffusion from India to Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Japan, and Indonesia", p. 31.

The Kali Yantra[edit]

The Kali Yantra
  • Kali represents the disintegrative force in nature as displayed in the passage of time and an increase in entropy. Kali is symbolized in the yantra as black. The downward pointing triangle is the ancient symbol of the primal female, the origin of all things – the pubic triangle of the Great Goddess.
    • In "Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness", pp.162-63.
  • The eight-petal lotus is the eight-fold Prkriti, or nature, consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, manas (mind), budhi (intellect) and ahankara (ego). The five triangles are the five jnanedriyas (jnana means “knowledge”; indriyas means “the senses”), the five karmendriyas (motor organs), and the five pranas (breathing acitivties). The bindu at the center is the symbol of balance soul. The five triangles also represent the sacred marriage of the feminine and masculine of your psychological potential. They correlate with a host of sacred symbols, including the Seal of King Solomon, the five letters in the name of Jesus and his five wounds, as well as the sacred Pentagram. All five triangles are essentially feminine. They point downward, symbolizing the essence of the Kali yantra as compensating for an excessive masculine drive in the personality.
    • In "Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness", p. 163.
  • The Kali yantra is invoked when you are dealing with a major life crisis or trauma. It activates the latent code of Kali for the purpose of survival and mastery of an overwhelming situation....The mantra to guide your consciousness through the Kali yantra meditation is Om Kareeng Kalekaye Namah, which means “Salutations to Goddess Kali”.
    • In "Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness", p. 164.

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