Mandalas and Yantras


Mandalas and Yantras

You may have heard of drawing Mandalas to relieve stress, but do you know anything about Yantras? A similar kind of representation?

Yantras are geometrical drawings use as tantric tools for the worshipping of the Divine Feminine. Mandalas are representations of your inner and outer wolds and a symbol of the totality of existence. You use both Yantras and Mandalas during meditation and in your spiritual quest. 

Mandalas are a lot more popular than Yantras, and you may have been confused thinking a Yantra was a Mandala. At least that was my case. I thought Yantras were simplified Mandalas, with fewer colours and forms. My surprise was to discover the complexity of Yantras and its mystical power.  Let’s find out what Yantras and Mandalas are. 


What are mandalas?

Mandalas are drawings, diagrams or models that represent the Cosmos, the Infinite and the Universe. A mandala symbolises the totality of existence. A mandala is a representation of all the forces in the Universe that create it and make it what it is. A mandala is the entrance to discover the spiritual world.

The centre of a mandala is considered a sacred space. In Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas are tools for meditation, prayer and contemplation. The power of the mandala is in its centre.

The centre of the mandala represents the Universe, and at the same time, it’s you as part of this Universe. 

When you draw a mandala, you do a visual representation of your inner and outer worlds. You can use different materials to make a mandala. A mandala can use various media in its construction such as paint, cloth and sand.

Some traditions will make mandalas utilising a circle that is bounded by a square with four entry points that lead to a central image. The central image represents the goal of the practice- self-realisation or enlightenment.


What are yantras?

Yantra is part of Tantra. Yantras are used to worship the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine in its different Goddesses expressions in the Indian tradition. Some yantras in India are 10 to 11 thousand years old.

Yantra in Sanskrit means ‘tool’. A yantra appears as an image of the Divine. Through the yantra, you can express the qualities of the Creation. Yantra is an image that represents the qualities of God and Goddesses.

A yantra is a visual image with a sound attached to it. It always has a mantra associated with it. The mantra frequency defines the yantra. This vibration is its energy blueprint.

A yantra has a symbolic and geometric aspect. The power of the yantra lies in its centre. This centre represents the centre of the Universe and your inner self as part of the Universe. A yantra is made using geometric shapes or iconography images of deities. 

A yantra starts at the central point called Bindu, from it other geometrical shapes irradiate in layers. The common geometrical shapes are triangles, circles, hexagons, and lotus petals. The surrounding is usually a square, which corners represent the cardinal directions.


Differences between yantras and mandalas

Mandalas of different types appear in various cultures and traditions around the world. Yantras are common in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. 

Yantras are always associated with a mantra, whereas mandalas don’t. Yantras are consecrated to receive the energy with a mantra. You can understand mandalas are expressions of your inner self that tries to communicate with the world and show you that you are part of this cosmic energy.

Mandalas, as expressions of yourself, can be more artistic, have different colours, shapes, as many layers as you pleased. But, yantras follow symbolism, uses three main colours white, red, black.

Mandalas can be of any size, yantras on the other side tend to be small. Yantras are painted and made on a flat surface or in a 3D shape. Mandalas instead can be made of different materials and on different surfaces. 

Yantras tend to use more geometrical shapes than mandalas. Here are the meanings of the geometrical shapes:

  • Yantras use triangles pointing downward to represent the Divine feminine. 
  • Hexagrams represent the union of feminine and masculine energy. 
  • Lotus petals represent purity and transcendence. 
  • Circles represent manifestation.
  • And an outer square to represent the cardinal points.  
  • Yantras use the energy of the mantra and the feminine power of the Deity to get something whereas a Mandala works to help you bring balance and connection to yourself. 

Yantras and mantras

A yantra always exists with a mantra. The visual image exists with its sound.

Yantra balances the right side of the brain of your intuition, and a mantra balances the left side of the mind of your logic and rationality. So, mantra and yantra bring balance to both hemispheres of your brain.

The idea behind the mantra impressed on a yantra is that it gives the energy and power for the manifestation of intention. If you worship the Deity of the yantra, your aim will get manifested. 

A mantra is impressed in a yantra through a spiritual ritual of consecration. The power of the yantra is enhanced by the mantra, which gives it a specific vibration that has a particular purpose. 


What are yantras used for?

Yantras have two qualities aesthetic value and symmetry.

You can use Yantras for a lot of benefits:

  • In meditation to focus the mind 
  • Protection like talismans. Here the deity the yantra portrays is called upon to bring protection to the person worshipping. 
  • To develop oneself abilities
  • To attract wealth
  • For prosperity
  • For success

Conclusion

Now, you have a better understanding of what Yantras and Mandalas are. They have similarities, but they also differ significantly in their meaning and intention. 

You can use both if you are following a spiritual path or if you are more inclined to the artistic aspect Mandalas can nourish your creative spirit. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use yantra?

A yantra needs to be consecrated before you use it, and you should also perform a small ritual to connect to your yantra. Read more

What is a personal Mandala?

A personal mandala is one that you create. You focus your attention in your drawing, as you move along your mandala, you express your innermost desires. Read more

Maria Mendoza

Hi. I'm Maria. I am a yoga instructor. I've created this blog to share my knowledge and experience with people who are interested in yoga and those who want to make yoga a part of their life. Through my articles, you can learn how to begin Yoga and discover the meaning of Yoga. Learn about Asanas, Pranayamas, Mudras, Mantras and Bandhas. Start your Yoga practice today.

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