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The worship of images of stone, metal, jewels, or clay leads the seeker of liberation to rebirth. Hence the man who wishes to renounce the world should worship only in his own heart and fear external forms of worship so he may not have to live again – Shilpa Shastra, quoted in Alain Danielou’s Hindu Polytheism
This book is related to abhicāra, or sorcery and deals with the Ṣaṭkarma or six acts often found in tantrik texts. Sorcery is an aspect of tantra which makes people uncomfortable, but it’s directly embedded in most of the texts. Practically every tantra prescribes different methods by which a sādhaka can achieve certain results. For example, in the English abstract of the Tantrarajātantra, Sir John Woodroffe outlines the nature of each of the 15 Nityās, but omits the prayogas associated with each and which are exercised to deliver effects for the sādhaka.
The Yantracintāmaṇi is far from being the only manual of this type. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of others. One I’ve seen is called Kautukaratna Bhāṇdāgāra, subtitled Baṛā Indrajāla, a lengthy 12 chapter work in Hindi packed with magical prescriptions and containing tables and yantras such as the Ṣaṭkarma Chakra, the Śani (Saturn) chakra, the rulers of the 27 Nakṣatras, the directions the Yoginīs move in, etc. As well as yantras similar to those in the Yantracintāmaṇi, this work contains a large number of magical squares. An example shown here is a yantra which makes a person fearless. It’s to be prepared on a Monday and worn on the body. There are hundreds of other examples, many of which have far more sinister objects than this.
The book, published by Khemaraj Shrikrishnadas, is divided into nine sections and illustrated throughout with yantras used for magical purposes.
The six acts, according to this text and to many others, are vaśīkaraṇa (subjugation), ākarṣaṇa (attraction), stambhana (paralysing), vidveṣaṇa (causing enmity), mārana (causing death), ucchātanā (driving away), śantikaraṇa (causing peace, nourishment). However, at the end of the Yantracintāmaṇi there is a section called mokṣa (liberation) – presumably to remind would-be tantriks that one of the goals of sādhana is supposed to be just that. The first chapter deals with some preliminaries including an invocation, how to draw yantras, the materials that should be used and the like.
Creating Enmity (Vidveṣaṇa)
Death Dealing (mārana)
Driving Away/Uprooting (Uccatana)
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org