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Meaning Of Yantra In Hindu Religion

The term yantra is derived from the root yam, to control. Yantra has various meanings in Hindu religion – restraint, curbing, binding, fastening, forcing, etc. Besides it also denotes a fetter, band, tie, and rain.

In Rig Veda (Savita yantra X.149.1), it is used in the sense of a bend or fetter. In Manusmriti, yantra is also used in this sense. This term, in its most general sense, means an instrument or that by which anything is accomplished (like kupa yantra water wheel) – Mricchakatika III.309.6). Chakrapanidatta, the commentator of Charaka Samhita defines yantra asatantram sariram, tasya yatram sirasnavyadirupam tantrayantram (Indriyasthana XII.43-45) – Tantra means ‘a body’ and yantra means ‘joints’ (yantram sandhayah – Sutrasthana XII.43-45) – Tantra means ‘a body’ and a yantra (means ‘joints’ (yantram sandhayah – Sutrasthana XII.8). In Ashtangahridaya (Sotrasthana XXV.3-28), yantras are termed as (different types of) instruments. According to Suryasiddhanta (XIII.19-24) various yantras (instruments), like Yasti yantra, Chaya yantra, Kapala yantra, Toya yantra, etc, were used for measuring time. Mayamata, a text on architecture, uses the term yantra in the sense of device and machine as jala yantra.

From tantric point of view, yantra means an amulet, i.e., a mystical or astronomical diagram used as an amulet. This diagram is engraved or drawn on metal, paper, stone, wood or other materials, which are worshiped in the same manner as an image.