Yantra refers to any kind of instrument
or machine that aids an enterprise, but the meaning has expanded to
refer to religious enterprises as well.
Just as mantras balance the body and
mind through sound, yantras provide balance visually. They are geometric and include floral designs. The shapes
are believed to have a powerful quieting effect on the mind, and so
are used in yogic meditation practice. Yantras are often associated
with a particular deity and may be worn as a talisman.
Among the shapes used in yantras are
squares, triangles, circles and floral patterns, but more complex
symbols may be employed, each with significance. A lotus flower symbolizes the chakra energy centers; a bindu (dot) signifies both the point of creation and the infinite cosmos; a triangle denotes extroversion or masculinity with an upward point, and introversion or femininity with a downward point; and a swastika symbolizes luck and prosperity.