The word Yantra comes from the Sanskrit roots "yam" meaning "to support" and "tra" meaning an "instrument." The Yantra is said to be like the mystical form or body of the Deity, whereas Mantra relates to the mind and Tantra relates to the soul. The shapes and colors and seed syllables of each Yantra is said to be akin to the energetic form of the Deity of the Yantra. The practice of constructing the Yantra manifests the Divine energy that Devata embodies in the physical realm. Meditating on a Yantra will have the effect upon consciousness to elevate one's awareness to the realm where that aspect of Divinity dwells, which in turn carries the blessings of that Devata to the Earth. For every deity, there are specific mantras and beejaksharas (seeds sounds) and corresponding Yantras. Yantras should be drawn according to a specific procedure as a spiritual discipline just like reciting the mantra of a Deity. Each Yantra has its own special requirements for construction.
Yantras are drawn facing a particular direction according to the purpose for the Yantra. For all good purposes, the East is a suitable direction. Yantras should be drawn at one sitting, starting from the center going outward and clockwise. Straight lines are drawn from the South to the North and from the West toward the East. This practice helps the practitioner to become attuned to the vibration of the Devata just as does chanting the mantras of that Deity. As a matter of fact, one is required to meditate on the Deity and recite their sacred Mantras throughout the practice. Yantras are traditionally drawn on specific materials like bhoj patras using special herbal inks or they are engraved onto metal plates. There are few today who know this dying mystical art of creating Yantras. The Yantra created by a spiritual sadhaka in the traditional ways gets imbued with prana (Divine life) at every step during the process, even before Prana pratishtha ceremonies are performed. Prana Pratishtha is the "life-giving" ceremony used to consecrate sacred items of worship. Mere bimbas (stone statues) becomes living, breathing vigrahams (icons of God) through pranapratishtha. It is through pranapratishtha and regular worship that a Yantra is truly empowered and its Divine shakti accumulates and emanates for the benefit of the three realms. There are many Yantras being sold today which are printed or engraved by machines. These do not yield the same benefits. There are various types of Yantras for different purposes. Texts like the Tantra, Agamas, Puranas, and Thirumantiram contain instructions for creating many numerous Yantras for a full range of purposes. There are architectural Yantras used in the design of Temple buildings. There are asana Yantras which are used to bless the seat used for meditation.
There are Yantras used for blessing the water pot used for ritual offerings. There are Yantras which are worn or carried or kept in the home or vehicle for protection and blessings. There are astrological Yantras which are used for mitigating the malefic effects of Nine Planets. There are sthapana Yantras used during the consecration of Temples to help empower the Temple and to open channels to the inner realms so that the Devas may more easily work through the sacred space of the Temple. There are darshana Yantras, which confer blessings upon sight. One such Yantra (Mandala) was created by a Tibetan Lama and circulated online to help protect people from the Covid Pandemic. There are many other Yantras capable of influencing events and people toward various ends. There are certain Yantras used by the Yogis to help them to endure extreme conditions like intense heat or cold. There are Yantras which the Yogis use to become invisible and to communicate with the natural Elements. There are also puja Yantras and three-dimensional Meru Yantras which are used as images for worship. Of these, the Shree Chakra of the Goddess, which is worshipped through a complex process called Navavarana Puja is one of the most popular, though the Sudarshana Yantram is also widely used. Yantras are tools for elevating human consciousness. They can be used for a variety of purposes as their physical form helps to manifest and transmit Divine prana. Because of their immense power, Yantras are commonly used at the time of Temple consecration and the spiritual initiation of disciples. The construction and use of Yantras is a practice which should be taught and initiated by a Guru for best results.
We conduct Yantra pujas for the peace of the world. Most often we color rice with natural vegetable dyes from which the sacred Yantras are created. Then the Deity of the Yantra is invoked at an auspicious astrological timing through a complex process of Yantra Pratishtha. Then various offerings are made to the Devatas and the guardians of the 10 direction to help spread peace and prosperity. These pujas require weeks of preparation to accomplish, but they are uniquely powerful to help ease societal difficulties, uplift human consciousness, and heal what ails people. Attending Yantra pujas conducted this way has great power to deepen one's spiritual practice, increase one's peace and prosperity, to answer difficult questions, and to heal serious illnesses. Yantra pujas have an effect to purify the atmosphere for hundreds of miles around the sacred place where the ceremonies are conducted.