Geometry, architecture and iconography have been the most common components in the ancient civilisations of the world. Egyptian, Greek, Chinese and Indian civilisations have extensively used triangles, squares, circles and lotus petals in their architecture. Geometry played a crucial role whether in the simple lines of palmistry, the Egyptian pyramids or the iconography of all eminent civilisations. Scholars unanimously agree that Indians knew of geometry long before Pythagoras or Euclid.
In the Indic sys-?tem of knowledge, geometry, architecture and iconography com-prise the Agama? Shastra. Etymologically, the word? agama means, that? which has been in- herited. Agamas deal?with every aspect of worship from iconic to non-iconic worship, the temple architecture, priest- ly duties and more.
Yantra, tantra and mantra which are based on geometry, com- pose the Agamas. Yantra is a diagram or design, tantra is the technique of the yantra and mantra is a formula or
Employing pictures, idols, icons and geometrical patterns to give form to the formless, has been the practice since time immemorial among all religions.
Yantra is derived from two roots Yam – to control and tra – to protect. The root Yam also means griha, house. Therefore, yantra connotes a house or shelter. Yantra is an instrument, a geometrical design steeped with powers in itself. It is not a static picture. It is a dynamic diagram. Yantra is a design of requisite disposition and controls powers of the mantra. It is considered more subtle and powerful than the anthropomorphic image of a deity. Yantra plays a crucial role, when the main murti of a temple is consecrated; some Agamic traditions prescribe the placement of the yantra of that deity below the murti, before it is formally consecrated.
A statue made by a sculptor, becomes a god in the sanctum only after it is traditionally consecrated by placing the yantra of that deity. This act bestows powers to the statue, thus making it eligible for worship.
Usually, a yantra consists of geometrical straight lines, circles, triangles, squares, rectangles and lotus petals. It is a congregation of energies and an effective symbol of a play of forces and power. Each yantra is constituted with a central point, known as bindu, which carries the essence of all power spread all over the yantra with the centrifugal force. The bindu transforms, multiplies, integrates and spreads spiritual energy not just within the yantra but also to the devotee and beyond. It is thus a psycho-cosmic mechanism effectively relating to inner and outer space. The bindu also reflects and symbolises freedom from dimensions.
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