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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

A mantra is a mystic formula which is generally used for upāsanā[1] and japa.[2] There are several ways of making a mantra efficacious before using it. The first of it is called ‘janana’ or extrication of the letters of the mantra from a specially drawn ‘yantra’ or mystical figure. This is the Mātṛkāyantra’.

It may be drawn either by the filaments of certain flowers or candana[3] or bhasma.[4] The base is a plate of either gold or silver or copper. The yantra consists of eight petals surrounded by a square with gates.

In the center there is a small circle and radial passages spread from it to the petals. All the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are incorporated in it in a particular order. The actual method of deriving the required mantra from this yantra should be personally learnt from the guru.


  1. Upāsanā means worship and meditation.
  2. Japa means repetition.
  3. It means sandal.
  4. It is a holy ash used in the worship of Śiva.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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