Seeing is believing. The many names, varied descriptions and attributes of a deity make it difficult, if not impossible, for a worshipper to comprehend the essence of a deity. The ancient Tantric seers, to overcome these limitations, devised tools for meditation that would empower a devotee. The yantra – in Sanskrit, a machine or device that absorbs cosmic energy – is one such tool, a visual, abstract representation of a deity’s form or body upon which a devotee can fix his gaze. Typically, a yantra is inscribed with mantras, mystical chants that focus the mind.
Every yantra has specific qualities. The Ganesha yantra is believed to establish balance in an individual’s life. Its periphery is a deep green, eight-dimensional square. Meditating upon the green inspires the devotee. Within the square are 8-petalled lotuses arranged in a ring, symbolic of Prakriti or creation. Five petals represent the five elements while three symbolize the gunas or qualities present in all beings. The next ‘layer’ is a six-pointed star that balances the male and female principles. Under the star is a triangle pointing upwards – this is amrit, the divine nectar of immortality. At the epicenter of the yantra is a point – the bindu – that famously represents the start of all Creation. This is Ganesha Himself. The bindu is the focus of meditation. All the motifs around point to it; indeed the eye is involuntarily drawn to and rests on this point. The bindu must be represented as a glowing, golden dot.