In Hinduism, a yantra is a geometrical diagram representing the universe. It is used in Hindu worship and meditation, especially in Tantrism.
The best known yantra is the Sri Yantra or Sri Cakra, which is especially used in the Sri Kula tradition of Tantrism. It is made of nine intersecting isosceles triangles of different sizes: five "female" triangles pointing downwards to represent Shakti and four "male" triangles pointing upwards representing Shiva.
In the middle of the Sri Yantra is the power point (bindu), the highest, invisible, elusive center from which the entire figure and the cosmos expand.
The triangles are enclosed by two rows of 8 and 16 petals, representing the lotus of creation and reproductive vital force.
The broken lines of the outer frame denote the figure to be a sanctuary with four openings to the regions of the universe.
The Sri Yantra is considered the visual equivalent of the Sri Vidya, a mantra of 15 syllables. Each syllable represents a goddess who is located within the Sri Yantra.
- - John Bowker, ed., Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions (2000).
- "Hinduism." Encyclopædia Britannica (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica Online.