A yantra (yahn·trah), also known as a mandala, is a geometric design or a magical diagram. In ancient texts, Lord Shiva is supposed to have explained the mystical meaning of the Yantra to his consort, Goddess Parvati: "The Yantra is as essential to a god as oil is to the oil lamp or as a body is to a living human being".
Yantra literally means "Instrument or Machine", which is used for various purposes such as to diminish the ill effects of the nine planets, to attain good health and prosperity, to enhance the quality of one's life, attract prosperity, abundance, love, harmony, peace, enhance learning, promote healing, relieve health problems, for career advancement, achieve desired goals in projects, improve business, remove obstacles and protection from negative forces.
Yantras are constructed with observing immutable laws of sacred geometry, being symbolic representations of energy patterns of a deity and rank amongst the most powerful 'centering' devices for harnessing divine energies. The Yantra is actually more powerful than a picture of a God which, to be energized, requires a Yantra to be affixed at its base or back.
A Yantra always contains a Mantra associated with it. Just as the mind is a part of, yet different from the body, so is the Mantra from the Yantra. The Mantra is the mind consciousness while the Yantra is the form of the deity.
There are many different types of yantras. They cover a variety of planetary protections within ancient Indian astrological mysticism. Individual yantras also represent individual deities and elements of the earth to help protect an individual. The most popular used yantra is the Sri yantra. It represents the Goddess Sri and has 9 inter-locking triangles. It's said to bring wealth to those who use it. Other types of yantras include the Bisa yantra, Durga yantra, Navgreh yantra, Shani Greh Peeda Niwarak Yantra, Sarv Karya siddi Yantra etc.
A Yantra must be first energized with a life force after it has been calculated, designed and created. The energizing of a yantra is completed by specialized priests or individual mantra specialists who have studied the art of yantra and are spiritually qualified to perform a variety of rituals or mantras upon the it. This bestows upon it an allegedly divine power. The single ritual performed to provide a yantra with life force or energy is known as the pranapratistha ritual.
Once a yantra is ready to use, it can be placed within a temple, home or workplace. When an individual has decided where to place the yantra, it has been said that positive changes are experienced almost immediately. Even more changes should occur over a long period of time, depending on an individual's balance of karma. Using a yantra can be a spiritual method, but it may require patience and prayer.
A yantra is usually placed in either a north, east, south or western position, depending on the yantra used. A Sri yantra should be placed in the east facing the west. There are different methods for the worship of a yantra; it depends on the type of yantra used. Worship may consist of prayer, the lighting of incense or the passing on of positive spiritual energy. One may also use an oil lamp, chant and create music.
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