Image via Tumblr

In Hinduism a yantra (Sanskrit = Mechanism, technology, instrument)  is a diagram for meditation depicting beliefs about the chakras, larger cosmic planes and the dynamic totality of all existence. The idea also creeps into Tantric Buddhism.

Yantras are also used in ritual worship, temple rites, astrology, body art/tats, and to enhance a seeker’s paranormal powers. Yantras are usually drawn, printed (as on note paper), painted or engraved on rock or metals.

Concerning paranormal powers, the yantra is upheld as a good luck charm, repelling evil spirits and avoiding disaster.

In architecture, an entire Hindu temple structure may mirror the form of a yantra, representing and emboding the sacred, otherworldly powers it was built for. Many Hindu temples are, indeed, based on archetechtural manuals advocating a yantra design.

Perhaps the essence of the yantra is found in Oscar Wilde’s notion that

Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward; the soul made incarnate; the body instinct with spirit.”¹

#14 Sri Yantra Mandala SHANKAR by shankar gallery, Richard Lazzara, via Flickr

¹ Cited in Peter Fingesten, “Spirituality, Mysticism and Non-Objective Art,” Art Journal, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Autumn, 1961: 2-6), p. 2

Primary Sources and Further Reading:

  • The Encyclopedia of Religion. Eliade, Mircea (ed). New York: 1987, Collier Macmillan, Vol. 15.
  • Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid. The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion : Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen. Boston : Shambhala, 1994, c1989.

Related Posts » Mandala, Numinosity



What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.