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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.

Subjugation (vaśīkaraṇa)
The chapter on subjugation gets straight into things with a description and a drawing of the Mahāmohana Yantra, the first of a total of 25 yantras described in this chapter. These yantras are of different shapes and sizes throughout, and inscribed with bījā and longer mantras. The word “devadatta” often found at the centre of the yantras refers to the unlucky target of the jadoowala’s desires. This yantra, for example, is called the bījāsamputa yantra, the second of the subduing spells in this section.


Attraction (ākarṣaṇa)
Tired of subjugating people or perhaps they’re avoiding you like the plague because you’ve got a reputation as a spell caster? That means you need a clump of attraction or ākarṣaṇa spells to replenish your stock to subjugate. There are only five yantras in this section.

Paralysis (stambhana)
The first yantra in this section is for shutting an enemy’s mouth. The oblong yantra, guarded on four sides by a total of eighteen tridents and by eighteen iterations of the bījā Tha.m, contains a grid of bījā mantras. That’s followed by a yantra intended to prevent a person travelling. The fifth yantra, called vahnistambhana, is intended to stop fires. There is a total of nine yantras in this section.

Creating Enmity (Vidveṣaṇa)
The first yantra is intended to create enmity between a man and a woman. The second is to give your own enemy a hard time. The third is to cause enmity between relatives. There are five yantras in this section.

Death Dealing (mārana)
If your enemy is dead, to paraphrase Stalin, he is no enemy at all. So this chapter has a number of yantras to fell them. If one person isn’t enough for a sādhaka’s homicidal tendencies, other yantras in this section are prescribed for killing a number of people, or both a man and a woman at the same time. This last, fifth yantra consists of a downward pointing pentagram, in the middle of which is an inverse triangle which contains the target.

Driving Away/Uprooting (Uccatana)
This particular chapter gives yantras and prayogas for causing your enemies to up sticks and be off. The second yantra pictures a crow standing on a rock and pecking the ground. You are expected to inscribe the name of your enemy on the wing of the crow. There are seven yantras described in this section aimed at individuals, men or women, or, apparently, whole populations.

Pacifying/Nourishing (śanti)
There are 19 yantras described in this long section which include prayogas for causing fevers to stop, protecting unborn babies, driving away ghosts (bhūtas), causing general good fortune, causing happiness, and other protective applications.

Liberation (mokṣa)
Five yantras are described.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to mike.magee@btinternet.com

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