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Yantra (यन्त्र) is the Sanskrit word for a mystical diagram, especially diagrams or amulets supposed to possess occult powers in astrological or magical benefits in the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions. Traditionally such symbols are used 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 orastrological or magical benefits in the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions.

Shapes and patterns commonly employed in yantra include squares, triangles, circles and floral patterns but may also include more complex and detailed symbols, for instance:

  • An upwards triangle which according to Tantra denotes energy, or more specifically action and service (seva). It may also denote spiritual aspiration, the element of fire, or Shiva. It is also said to represent the static substratum of the cosmos;
  • A downwards triangle which according to Tantra denotes spiritual knowledge. It may also denote the creative power of the cosmos, fecundity, the element of water, or Shakti;
  • Geometric element meanings:  

  • Circle = Energy of the element water
  • Square = Energy of the element earth
  • Upward-facing Triangle = Energy of the element fire; energy
  • Downward-facing Triangle = Energy of the element water; knowledge
  • Diagonal line = Energy of the element air
  • Horizontal line = Energy of the element water
  • Vertical line = Energy of the element fire
  • Point = Energy of the element ether

Yantra is the Sanskrit word for “instrument”

  • "any instrument or machine" (i.e. that which is controlled or controls. For instance the body is said to be a yantra)
  • "any instrument for holding, restraining, or fastening" (for instance a symbol which ‘holds’ the essence of a concept, or helps the mind to ‘fasten’ on a particular idea
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