Yantra

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For other uses, see Yantra (disambiguation).
The Sri Yantra diagram.
Enthroned Jain yantra besides Adinath image

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.

In Classical Sanskrit, the generic meaning of yantra is "instrument, contrivance, apparatus". In Rigvedic Sanskrit, it meant an instrument for restaining or fastening, a prop, support or barrier, etymologically from the root yam "to sustain, support" and the -tra suffix expressing instruments. The literal meaning is still evident in the medical terminology of Sushruta, where the term refers to blunt surgical instruments such as tweezers or a vice. The meaning of "mystical or occult diagram" arises in the medieval period (Kathasaritsagara, Pancharatra).[1]

Madhu Khanna (2003: p. 21) in linking Mantra, Yantra, Ishta-devata, and thoughtforms states:

Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially "thought forms" representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1899), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Delhi  see also Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965), The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (Fourth revised and enlarged ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 81-208-0567-4 : "1) that which restrains or fastens, any prop or support; 2) "a fetter", 4) any instrument or machine", [...] 7) "an amulet, a mystical or astronomical diagram used as an amulet"; White 1996, p. 481;
  2. ^ Khanna, Madhu (2003). Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. Inner Traditions. ISBN 0-89281-132-3 & ISBN 978-0-89281-132-8
  • Rana, Deepak (2012), Yantra, Mantra and Tantrism, USA: Neepradaka Press, ISBN 0-9564928-3-5 
  • Bucknell, Roderick; Stuart-Fox, Martin (1986), The Twilight Language: Explorations in Buddhist Meditation and Symbolism, London: Curzon Press, ISBN 0-312-82540-4 
  • Khanna, Madhu (2003). Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. Inner Traditions. ISBN 0-89281-132-3 & ISBN 978-0-89281-132-8
  • White, David Gordon (1996), The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-89499-1 

See also[edit]