An introduction to Yantras

All spiritual traditions have upheld the belief that everything in the cosmos is energy (it is called chi, qi, prana, etc., in different cultures) and that every aspect of existence is deeply interwoven in this giant web of energy.

Modern advances in science, especially studies in Quantum Mechanics have led to a vindication of this long- held belief that “everything is energy” as scientists realise that all particles are merely vibrations of energy. If the Universe is pure energy and we are but a small part of this same energy, it then stands to reason that there exists the possibility for us as individuals to tune into the frequency of the Universe’s energy.

There are several methods of tuning in (such as through the power of sound, crystals, meditation, prayer) and one such powerful method is by using symbols as a tuning fork. Just as we are able to tune into a specific channel on television on radio by selecting a particular frequency, yantras allow us the ability to tune into and engage with the powers of creation in the Universe.

So what exactly is a yantra?

A yantra is a graphic and geometric representation of the Universal Energy. In Hindu Tantra, three kinds of external symbols are used to relate to and connect with the Universal Energy.

  1. An image showing the energy in a human form (such as idols of Gods)
  2. A yantra depicting the energy in the form of geometric shapes
  3. A mantra which is energy in the form of a sound

The word Yantra is derived from the root verb “Yantr” meaning to restrain or control. It can be understood as a machine or a device that controls human effort in performing a task (thereby providing assistance). A mantra uses sound energy to bring about a balance in the mind and body while a yantra uses the visual medium to bring about a state of equilibrium. It is a useful object of meditation. There are hundreds of yantra designs which are specific to planets, gods and principles and these geometric patterns can be drawn out on the floor in the form of rangoli painted on paper or tree bark or etched on metal sheets such as copper, silver or gold.

Every yantra has to conform to three basic principles:

Akriti-rupa or Form

Kriya-rupa or Function

Shakti-rupa or Power

Through constant ritualistic worship, a yantra sheds its dormancy and becomes emblematic of spiritual power. The yantra therefore moves from a mere form and function to become a power-diagram.

Yantras are used for various purposes:

Sharira Yantra Which depicts the different Chakras in the body
Dharana Yantra which are worn on the body to offer protectionand  ward off diseases such as talismans
Asan Yantra are placed under the seat – could be under a deity, meditation mat or placed under the ground before undertaking construction of a building or temple
Mandala Yantra A live-yantra formed by 9 persons sitting in 8 cardinal directions with the one in the centre performing the puja or worship
Puja Yantra are installed in temples, homes, offices to which regular worship is offered
Chattar Yantra are kept under the turban, hat, cap or in the pocket
Darshan Yantra is believed to bring good fortune upon its viewer and is placed in temple, home or office


Recent studies have shown that merely looking at certain geometric patterns can alter brain waves and open gateways to higher states of consciousness. The reason why this can happen is because the geometric patterns bring about an alignment of the left and right aspects of the brain. The left hemisphere of the brain is involved in verbal, analytical and logic related activities while the right side performs more intuitive, creative and holistic thinking tasks. Visualising or meditating upon a yantra has been shown to bring about greater balance in the left brain-right brain activity.

One of the most powerful, auspicious and important Yantras in the Tantra tradition is the Sri Chakra Yantra. Known as a “Rajayantra” (or king of yantras), it is a symbol of all energy, power and creativity, hence a symbol of everything. Advaita Vedanta sages have said that this Yantra holds the key to mastering Science of Creation (acquiring all that you desire) and Destruction (getting rid of all that you no longer desire). The Sri Chakra Yantra is traditionally held to have been divinely revealed to the learned rishis rather than invented.

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A depiction of the Sri Chakra Yantra

Thoughts and words cannot exist in the spiritual dimension since they are a construct of the intellect and mind. Sacred geometry arises from this fact that many philosophical truths cannot be expressed with words. The world around us is filled with geometrical designs and shapes. Ancient cultures including the Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, Mayans and Hindus observed that certain geometric patterns are found recurring throughout nature (spirals, hexagons, concentric circles to name a few) and believed them to be the building blocks of all creation in the Universe.

The physical yantra thus becomes a tool that turns our every thought into a directive to the Universe.

As you channelize our energy to be in synchrony with that of the Universe, you will notice that

  • all internal and external roadblocks that have sabotaged your ability to forge ahead will fall away, one by one
  • enriching circumstances and opportunities come your way helping you move forward on your path

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