Yantra is a symbolic diagrammatic representation of a Deity, or parts of human body, various aspects of life – both spiritual and material, the shad chakras, the nadi centers etc.
In the olden days people used to draw a yantra at the pooja place, on the ground or on a wooden board or metal piece, with rice flour or wheat flour or sindoor. This was very convenient but while doing pooja it can easily get erased. A longer lasting method was to make a yantra by engraving the yantra on a copper or brass plate. The rich class used silver or gold plates. They had to go through all this trouble because in those days there was no paper or printing. The metallic materials are used essentially to enhance the longevity and the visual presentation. In some cases for certain specific purposes yantras made of gold, silver etc are prescribed. Today, for regular normal worship the best is to get a good printed yantra and laminate it.
If the purpose of your buying a yantra is simply to hang it at the pooja place, or wear it, or do a simple worship with a stotra or mantra, then you are better off buying a picture or an idol of that God than a yantra, because, for example, the photo of Lord Shiva is more familiar to you and invokes more bhakti feeling than His yantra.
However, If you want to do a proper Tantrik worship (which gives quicker and better results), by ritualistically following all the anganyasa, karanyasa, mudra, avahana, pratisthana, offerings, rituals and worship the various places of the yantra with the prescribed beeja mantras, then a yantra is more useful. For proper Tantrik worship you have to do the pratisthana yourself and by following all the rules do a 100,000 times mantra japa within 44 days (one mandala). Normally people do 125,000 times mantra japa in 48 days – the extra number to take care of any mistakes in pronunciation or counting.
Even if you cannot do a full ritualistic pratisthana etc, at least you must worship 108 times daily with the prescribed mantra.
Now a days a lot of self proclaimed Mantriks, Tantriks and web pundits are promising the sun, moon and the stars to gullible people with all kinds of nonsense.
“We will send you an energized, mantra-charged and Tantrified karya siddhi copper yantra for just Rs.2500. You wear it around your neck in red thread and go to the person and your business deal will be through as you want it.” – says one sales line. Well, if it really works then why can’t the fellow wear it himself and go and hook Bill Gates for a billion Dollar deal?
“We will do the pratisthana and give you a Vasheekarana yantra with vasheekarana mantra on a sliver pendant for Rs.5000/-. Wear it on your right arm and the girl you want will come under your control.” – promises another cheat.
Really? Then tell me, how come Miss Universe is still single?
Don’t get conned by such nonsense and waste your money.
The Tantrik worship of yantras with mantras does exist. Lord Shiva gave 64 yantras, with specific mantras for them, to mankind to attain various siddhis. To his consort Devi He gave the Sri Yantra, which is equal to all other 64 put together. Out of these other Rishis created more variations. If worshipped properly observing all the rules, they do work. If not they don’t. In fact if not worshipped properly quite a few of them may misfire and cause all kinds of troubles. Doing a Tantrik worship of a yantra is bloody tough and very few can do it properly.
Even in regular Vedic poojas a lot of remedies and specific goal oriented poojas, mantras, stotras are given which you can do yourself. For example, let us say you have a hearing problem. As a remedy you can do a simple pooja and recital daily yourself. Keep a picture of Lord Vishnu or Krishna and worship His ears portion with the Vishnu pooja verse “Om Kanja lochanaya Namah – Karnam poojayami“. Or if you are seeking wealth worship His chest (His Vaksha sthala – where Goddess Lakshmi resides) with the verses 64 & 65 of Vishnusahasranama as follows:
“Anivarti nivrutatma samkshepta kshema-kruchivah
Shrivasta-vakshah shrivasah shripatih shrimatam-varah ..64
Shridah shrishah shrinivasah shrinidhih shri-vibhavanah
Shridharah shrikarah shreyah shriman loka-trayashrayah ..65
Here Shri means wealth. This is also an effective cure if you have heart trouble as you are worshipping the heart of the God.
Lord Krishna advised Arjuna, “Worship that part of my body corresponding to what you seek”
A few other examples of similar worship:
Suppose you are having eye trouble. Worship Devi Kamakshi picture or idol, the eyes part, with Her Vedic pooja pooja verse, “Om Chakravartinyai Namah Netra-dwayam (both eyes) poojayami“.
Suppose you are having stomach related troubles. Worship Devi Kamakshi picture or idol, the stomach part with Her Vedic pooja pooja verse, “Om Chakranadhayai Namah udaram (stomach) poojayami“.
You can do similar worship with the deity of your choice .
By all means buy a yantra, keep it at pooja place and do a simple pooja or Japa. It is the equivalent of worshipping the Deity’s photo or idol and will do you good. But don’t swallow the hype expecting miracles and throw away your hard earned money. A good 4” x 4” brass yantra, of any Deity, is available in the Indian religious shops for Rs.25/- to Rs.50/-. You see, in the olden days getting a proper yantra was difficult as these were made only by the learned Vedic pundits with a lot of reverence and faith. Now a days the Muslim businessmen of Moradabad brass works and the Sardarjees of Jullendhar die casting works are mass producing them to sell to the pundits and the website owners!!