What’s a Yantra?posted on April 11, 2012 in art, tantric art
If you’ve been wondering what the designs are in my newest paintings, well then you are in luck cuz I am here to tell ya! They are called yantras and I’d like to share with you a little bit more about them:
A yantra is a geometric diagram that is meant to be a representation of the divine or the cosmos.
Traditionally, yantras are used as tools for meditation (as a point of focus). One can meditate upon a yantra that has already been created or one can even use the process of creating a yantra as meditation!
Each yantra contains a specific type of energy and are sometimes thought of as being “power diagrams.” The myriad of symbols that make up a yantra (for example, upward facing or downward facing triangles, circles or lotus petals) all have a special significance and can be arranged in all sorts of ways to create a specific, energetic resonance.
One of the most recognizable yantras, is probably the Sri Yantra. This beautiful yantra is made of up interlocking upward and downward facing triangles, representing the unification of the masculine (up) and feminine (down) principles that create the universe.
Madhu Khanna (who I the incredible oppurtunity to interview while I was in India) writes in her book Yantra,
The [Sri] yantra is divised to give a vision of the totality of existence, so that the adept may internalize its symbols for the ultimate realization of his [her] unity with the cosmos.
I should mention that yantras, whose root comes from ‘yam’ which means to “sustain, hold or support the energy of a particular element, object or concept (Khanna)” are also related to mantras—the seed syllable sounds like “om” that you might hear at the beginning of a yoga class. Mantras, seed sounds, have corresponding vibrational images (yantras) that those sounds create. So when you say a mantra syllable like “Sa” it has a vibrational quality that produces a particular color, image and energy!
Many Hindu dieties, such as Shiva, Vishnu and the many faces of the goddess Shakti (feminine creative energy) have their very own yantras as well.
The yantras I’ve used in my most recent paintings are both related to the energy of the Goddess Kali (a form of Shakti). Kali embodies the quality of destruction (destruction that therefore makes space for new creation to begin).
She is like a forest fire that burns to the ground, so that the forest may have the nutrients it needs to support new life.
So that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to the world of Yantras.
****It’s important to tell you that this is a very deep, vast subject (one I personally find incredibly facinating) and what I’ve just shared with you is a very brief description. However you can find out MORE about yantras using the great resources I used for this post. Here they are: