सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Mantra, Yantra and Tantra>"


Mantra, Yantra and Tantra


In General

The Mantra Yantra and Tantra are the three aspects (phenomena) of Agama. Mantra, Yantra and Tantra are closely knit. Mantra is the energy. Yantras are geometric shapes that define the workings of various kinds of energies. Tantra deals with the philosophy and methods for redirecting and channelizing the energies to guide the spiritual evolution of the sadhaka.

The Agama shastras are based in the belief that the divinity can be approached in two ways. It can be viewed as nishkala, the formless or absolute; or as sakala having specific aspects. The Agama methods are worship of images of God through rituals (Tantra), symbolic charts (Yantra) and verbal symbols (Mantra). Agama regards devotion and complete submission to the deity as fundamental to pursuit of its aim; and hopes that wisdom, enlightenment (jnana) would follow, eventually, by the grace of the worshipped deity. The Agama is basically dualistic, seeking grace, mercy and love of the Supreme God represented by the personal deity, for liberation from earthly attachments (moksha).

The symbolism behind this method of worship is that God pervades the universe and that the entire creation is his manifestation in myriad ways. All the forms of his manifestation are but aspects (vibhuthi) of the Divine. Any name, any form that appeals to the heart of the worshipper is gracefully accepted as a representation or manifestation of the Divine. Following that, one’s chosen form of the divine (ishta-devata) is regarded as a concrete and a specific expression of the formless.


Mantra is the sound-form of God and is often used synonymously to Devata. It is the means/basis for both Yantra and Tantra.


Yantra is basically a contrivance, charged with the power of a mantra. It could be a geometric shape as in case of devata yantra or just any instrument as in case of an astra. It is the tool. The nature of Yantra depends on its purpose sought to be served. Each devata is said to have a Yantra, a specific geometric shape that represents the nature of devata and a world model. For temporary purposes and worshipping, it could be drawn on clean floor with turmeric or some other powder, or for installations it could be carved on metal plates. The Yantra is worshipped and charged with corresponding mantra. It is treated like the devata, and is worshipped as the devata. The worship of yantra includes the worship of presiding Devata along with the consort, associate and subordinate Devatas and is an elaborate ritual consisting of propitiation of each of those.


Tantra is the practitioner’s manual. It combines mantra, yogic methods and philosophy (Tatva-Mantra samanvaya). It elaborates procedures that a sadhaka should follow, at each stage of his sadhana. Thus Tantra is the primary subject in Agamic literature. The word Tantra is in general used to refer to practices, and the subject dealing with those practices is called Tantra Sastra. To bring the spiritual knowledge of scriptures into the practitioner’s experience through well defined and time tested practices, is the essence of Tantra Sastra. For this reason, Tantra Sastra is variedly called Pratyaksha Sastra (the science of real experience), Sadhana Sastra (the science of spiritual practice) and Upasana Sastra.

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