Yantras are geometrical figures intended to represent the basic energies. Just as every elementary geometrical figure, a straight line, a square, a cross or a triangle etc., has a symbolic value corresponding to the basic notions, similarly, the Yantras symbolise one or the other power or energy. In other words Yantras are the graphic representations of Mantras.
The power of Yantra
In order to facilitate concentration by focusing our entire energy on magic symbols the Yantras are made as vehicles of mantras for attaining power. These are magic diagrams, which represent cosmic forces or divinities. Once we know the meaning of the symbols in Yantras we can attune our minds to its cosmic vibrations. Like Mantras the true occult meaning of Yantras is not divulged to all and cannot be grasped fully through reading. It has to be experienced through the vision of its radiance gained by the practice of yoga. The power of a Yantra, when made ‘alive’ through Mantra or other rituals is limitless.
The Signs, Symbols and Meaning of the Yantra
The diagrams such as circles, triangles, squares and even a ‘dot’ are used as Yantras. All these represent cosmic energies. A dot known as bindu in Sanskrit symbolizes all pervading space—the origin of all that exists. In other words it is the first manifestation of Supreme Being. In meditation, most practitioners focus their glance on a single ‘bindu’ to help achieve concentration.
The triangle represents concentrated energy. If its apex is point upwards, it is believe to symbolize fire, or the active principle, or the — the male energy.
It also represents the mental activity./ the triangle pointing downwards represent the element water, which tends to flow downwards seeking its level. It is associated with the passive principle or the cosmic nature or Prakriti—the female energy.
The Yantra formed by two triangles penetrating one another is the most commonly used diagram. It forms a figure of star hexagon, which represents the birth of universe. When the two triangles separate, with only their apex touching one another, forming an hourglass, it shows the destructive principle where the time or universe ceases to exist. In Hinduism the symbols of Aum, Swastika and trident, are considered auspicious and commonly used as protection or prayer symbols. I shall be giving a few examples of some well-known Yantras, though deriving benefits through these depends largely on the individual practice.
Yantra Raja (The King of Yantras)
How to Draw
This Yantra is drawn beginning with a triangle. As already stated the triangle represents development, existence, fire, and one with its apex pointing upwards—the male principle. In its centre is the character Hrim, the seed of illusion or the thought, unmanifested. What it signifies is that a manifest male principle i.e. cosmic energy, which summons cosmic nature, the female principle, in order to set the forces of creation into play. Around the triangle are drawn two circles. This represents the revolutions of all the planets that make existence possible. It also symbolise the time. In these concentric circle is drawn the earth, or the earthy city, with straight lines and having four entrances, representing four direction. When this Yantra is drawn along with reciting mantras with full concentration and with the idea to please the Cosmic Forces, the Yantra appears resplendent. It is advisable to draw Yantra either with a gold needle or with the thorn of the bel (wood apple) tree on a piece of gold or silver, or copper.
The meaning of the symbol
The centre of this Yantra with the character Hrim, signifies the goddess of fortune—Lakshmi. And the triangle in a circle also represents the coiled energy (Kundalini). The sixteen filaments of the lotus represent the attainment of perfection. It is believed sixteen is the perfect number. The eight petals of lotus signify the all-pervading ascendancy principle—the Vishnu. The worshipper seeks the blessings from the lord Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi. The outer circle represent that exists. The square around this circle is also known as the square of power, which gives the worshipper the control over that which exists. This square is also symbolic of the manifest world or the earth. The four entrances or gates of the earth lead to the outer worlds. The gate to the north (left in the diagram) is the gateway to gods (Devagana). To the South (right) is the gate of the ancestors (Pritrayana). To the east (above) is the gate to the priestly solar way and to the west (down) is the gate to the royal way, the way of the lords of water (Lord Varuna). The four gates lead to four directions, forming the cross, the symbol of universality. This cross further develops into a double Swastika which indicates the return to the principle through both the left hand and the right hand way.
Precaution for drawing this Yantra
While drawing this Yantra, the worshipper must observe certain rules to avoid error, and also to avoid calamity. When delving with power objects, it is imperative to observe certain rules. Hence even though this appears to be a geometrical figure, its potency to grant boon or to strike evil is known to the practitioners of Tantra and Mantra. One should approach an adept to seek the blessings and request for the gift of this Yantra, which then not only bestows great wealth and happiness, but also protects the person and the place where this Yantra is installed. However, normally, those who possess Siddhis or power are not very liberal in giving this powerful Yantra to anyone who seeks, not even for the lure of money or other consideration. It is generally given to those considered pious, generous, and deserving; for as we already know such a powerful Yantra, in wrong hands, can cause greater harm than good. Through worship, prayer and austere living, one can acquire the virtues to deserve the Yantra Raja and is destined to achieve its blessings.
The purpose of this Yantra is to establish contact with supernatural worlds. In the centre, the character hrim stands for the goddess of wealth. This can be kept in one’s house, or in one’s wallet.
The Star Hexagon
The star hexagon is one of the most common in Yantras. It is made of two triangles penetrating one another. Upright triangle represents Cosmic Energy--- the male principle. Downwards triangle represents Cosmic Nature--- the female principle.
Star Hexagon can be kept to attain a happy balance between material prosperity and spiritual strength.
The Sri Chakra (The Wheel Of Fortune)
This represents the Universal Goddess. Propitiating this Yantra brings prosperity and wealth. This Yantra should be drawn on gold, or silver, or copperleaf. This can be kept in one’s house, in an almirah, or a temple, or even one can even keep it in one’s wallet.