What Is Yantra
A Yantra is a visual tool, a group of geometrical patterns symbolising an energy. It is a fusion of two words – Yam, meaning to support or hold, and tra, which comes from word trana meaning liberation. Hence, Yantra is a tool which holds the essence of an energy, which helps in liberation or self-realisation. Itis used for worship, and the energy which the Yantra holds represents the God, a specific deity. It is being a symbol, is qualitative; it is a creative representation of the abstract. Hence, it is a representation of the Divine. It is tool which helps in drifting our mind from the material world towards the inner consciousness or self-awareness, the state of turiya.
The seers of ancient India gave utmost importance to self-realization. They asserted that the ultimate goal of human life is to go beyond the boundaries materialistic world and connect with the divine.
We feel content with the materialistic world till our lives don’t have many problems, and we don’t feel the need to transcend the materialistic world. However, when we are exposed to great difficulties, we begin to feel restless and lose peace and calm. To overcome this nature of humans and rise above selfishness and ego, the sages of ancient India devised tools for self-realization.
Our body is a part of material reality or subjective reality. We human beings give more importance to this subjective reality which restricts our understanding of reality to the false notion of “me” and “you”. This creates a duality. This duality occurs in our body at the atomic and biological level, too – proton and electron, and acid and alkaline, respectively. To rise above this materialistic feeling of the attachment to our body, we need to overcome this duality.
The spiritual transcendence starts from our brain, where the matter (electrochemical neural signals) is converted into mind (consciousness). The consciousness has three states – waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. There is a fourth state of self-awareness called turiya. The consciousness in this state goes several physiological changes, increasing inner wakefulness known as restful awareness. This state is also known as Samadhi. It is at this state the duality ends and connection to the God begins.
Reaching this state requires a “reprogramming” of our brain. Our brain is divided into two hemispheres – left and right. The left brain is rational, analytical, and verbal. The right brain is a sensitive, creative, non-verbal, and abstract thinker. The rational side of the brain (left brain) gets convinced for the reprogramming if a logical reasoning is available. However, the creative side of the brain doesn’t get convinced even if the left hemisphere is convinced. Our ancient sages were aware of the conflict between the two sides of the brain – the duality – and hence, they had developed the tools to bring a non-duality in the consciousness.
A Yantra, however, is not just a mystical diagram used in meditation. It was devised by ancient seers by carefully considering the brain science. It is a specific arrangement of geometrical symbols like a square, circle, triangles. The geometrical symbols are comprehended by the right hemisphere of the brain and activate it. The right hemisphere is non-verbal. Therefore, Yantra meditation offers inner silence and help to move towards tranquillity and self-awareness. The geometrical patterns used in Yantras are symmetrical, thus producing a symmetrical activation on both sides of the brain hemisphere producing similar effects. An example of a Yantra is shown below:
As we have seen above, Yantra represents the energy of a deity. Based on this, many types of Yantras can be classified into following:
Shakta Yantra – a Yantra which represents the form of Divine mother, Adi Shakti – the primordial feminine energy. For example, Kali, Durga, Bhuvaneshwari, Tripur Bhairavi Yantra, etc.
Vishnu Yantra – These are related to Hindu God Vishnu. For example, Vishnu Yantra, Ram Yantra, Shri Gopal Yantra, Hanuman Yantra, etc.
Shaiva Yantra – It is related to Hindu god Shiva. For example, Bhairav Yantra, Maha Mrityunjaya Yantra, etc.
Astrological Yantras – It is used to worship the Navagraha or Nine astrological bodies in Hinduism. For example, Sun Yantra, Moon Yantra, Mangal Yantra, Shani Yantra, etc.
Architectural Yantra –It is used for the architectural plan of the temples.
Numerical Yantra – It is not made of geometrical symbols but of numbers.
Some of these types are always used in conjunction with the mantras – the verbal chanting. As we know the left hemisphere is verbal, the mantras stimulate the left brain, whereas Yantras, being composed of geometrical shapes, stimulate the right hemisphere. Therefore, the combination of a types of Yantras and mantra activates a Yogi’s mind holistically and lead toward the path of liberation and self-realization.