- A yantra is a meditative and ritual drawing or design used particularly in Indian TANTRIC YOGA. It is almost always drawn with colored powder on the floor or ground in a ritual process. It it usually a geometric pattern, with flowers or flower petals. Once it is completed, a MEDITATION is performed, focusing on the center of the yantra, which is most often the BINDU, a condensed point of con-sciousness out of which the universe is seen to evolve.The yantra is usually seen as the subtle form of the divinity; when one creates a yantra one mani-fests an alternative form of the totality of the divin-ity for more focused ritual and worship. In ritual and meditation, one moves outward from the bindu to the other aspects and junctures of the design. Or, one may begin at the outer edge of the design and work inward toward the bindu. The yantra may in certain circumstances be worshipped in and of itself and in other circumstances will form a part of a much larger ritual. As with most tantric rituals, these are rarely performed in public.Sometimes yantras are referred to as mandalas. The SRI YANTRA is sometimes called Sri Chakra. Buddhism and JAINISM also use yantras, though in Buddhism they will generally be referred to as mandalas.Further reading: Madhu Khanna, Yantra, the Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Tradi-tions, 2003); P. H. Pott, Yoga and Yantra: Their Inter-relation and Their Significance for Indian Archaeology. Translated from the Dutch by Rodney Needham (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1966); S. K. Ramachandra Rao, Sri-Chakra: Its Yantra, Mantra, and Tantra (Bangalore: Kalpatharu Research Academy, 1982).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.