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The Geometrical Symbolism of Yant

The Geometrical Symbolism of Yant

Yant – meaning “Yantra”.

Originally derived from the Sanskrit word “YANTRA”

By bhanupong chooarun / Shutterstock.com

 

What is Yant?

The Thai word “Yant

” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yantra”, referring to a system of geometric symbols and scriptural letters, believed to invoke the powers of various sources; the Universe, Nature, the Deities, the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha or any number of other spiritual forces. Yantra have been prevalent in the cultures of Brahmanism since ancient times. In ancient Siam, Vaisnavism/Brahmanism developed alongside the proliferation of Buddhism in the late 7th century A.D. The art and knowledge of “Yant” inscriptions, was thus widespread amongst the people of Siam, eventually evolving into the myriad variants of Yant that are commonly seen in modern-day Thailand.

 

Yant have been used as a form of protective charm for a long time. They are also used as the main, or supporting element in the creation of many sacred objects, such as Phayant (sacred symbols drawn onto cloth, and used for protection as well as a wide range of other functions), Takrut (a rolled scroll inscribed with yant, usually made of metal or animal skin), Luk Pra Kam (rosary beads), Phong (powder), etc. The Luk Pra Kam, sometimes each even contain a tiny piece takrut, inserted via the hole meant for stringing. Up to 108 of these beads may be strung together, forming a necklace.

Yant are also used in the creation of the Wan and Phong used to create the rosary beads, as well as a plethora of other purposes. (Refer to our article on Phong Ittijay to understand how the sacred letters of Yant are used to create Phong).

Over the centuries, Yant has developed into a complex system, involving specific patterns of letters, numbers, pictures or symbols within a geometric frame. In the modern context, people from all walks of life often carry a piece of yant with them, in the form of a phayant, takrut, or even tattooed onto their body.

 

Yant and their Symbolism

Yant consists of structural lines forming shapes such as triangles, squares and circles, or even the silhouettes of specific things. Letters are written within the boundaries of the shape or picture, and sometimes around them as well. According to ancient beliefs, the structural lines of the Yant represents “The Buddha’s Umbilical Cord” (Sai Rok

of the Buddha – the connecting line to his mother). The lines of script falling within the boundaries of the shapes represent the “Bones” of the Yant.

 

The Khmer alphabet is often incorporated into the designs. Its letters serve as abbreviations, each representing an entire sentence of katha. Different combinations of letters represent Yants that are made up of several different Katha. In place of a letter, a Khmer number may be used as well.

Each line of inscriptions must be written in one, unbroken succession. Stumbling over, or breaking the line, renders the Yant useless. Care must also be exercised when inscribing near the boundaries of the geometric designs, as any writing that overlaps the structural lines of the Yant, will also render it powerless.

In some cases, the spiritual adept writing the Yant must also recite specific katha corresponding to the letter being written. Some may also require further incantations to invoke and awaken their powers. The requisite katha varies from school to school, and across different systems of lettering.

 

Meaning of Yant’s Style

 

1. Circular Design; commonly referred to as “Yant Klom

In Buddhism, the circular shape symbolises the face of the Buddha. In Brahmanism, it refers to the face of Brahma.

(Example of a Yant Klom; the yant above is named Yant Baramee Phraputthajao

)

 

 

2.The triangle style; referred to as “Yant Samliam

In Buddhism, the 3 points of the triangle are analogous to Tri Sarana Khom, also known as The Triple Refuge (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha).

It also refers to Tri Phop

, or the Three Worlds. In Buddhist cosmology, the 31 planes of existence are contained in these worlds, the Kāmadhātu
(Realm of Desire), Rūpadhātu
(Corporeal Realm), and Ārūpyadhātu
(Formless Realm). We will discuss this 31 planes in a future article.

 

In Brahmanism, the 3 points symbolize the Trinity of Siva, Brahma, and Narayana.

(Example of a Yant Samliam; the yant above is named Yant Kao Yod

)

 

 

3.The square style; referred to as “Yant Seeliam

The square form is usually a reference to the four continents described in Buddhism cosmological bhūmaṇḍala

, which also describe the existence of the 3 worlds. In this system of beliefs, 4 continents surround Mount Sumera
: Jambudvipa
, Purvavideha
, Uttarakuru
, and Aparagodaniya
. Alternatively, the four corners may also refer to the 4 elements; soil, water, wind, and fire.

(Example of a Yant Seeliam; the yant above is named Yant Phokkhasap

)

 

See Also

 

4.The picture style; referred to as “Yant Roopphap

The talisman is presented in the form of a picture or silhouette, usually of animals, gods, literary characters etc. The symbolism of each varies according to the shape of each talisman.

(Example of a Yant Roopphap; the yant above is named Yant Hanuman

)

 

 

5.Combination style

In some cases, more than one style may be incorporated into a single talisman.

(Example of multiple styles inside the same talisman; Yant Phraya Hong Thong

)

 

 

Yant may be used in many ways. They may be tattooed onto the body, or inscribed on various objects such as Takrut, Prajiad, cloth. They may also be inscribed onto amulets, belts, clothing and amulets or weapons, imbuing them with special powers.

The intended effects of Yant cover a wide range of efficacies, including Kongkrapan Chatree (invulnerability), Klaew Klard (evading danger), Choke Larp (luck), and Metta Mahaniyom (mercy), etc.

Yant may also be applied onto objects, either in the form of stickers, or written with Din Sorphong

(refer to our article on Din Sorphong) onto a car, or the door of a home/ office, or even used in the ceremonial sealing of coffin lids. They may also be used for personal protection, ensuring the sanctity of your personal property, to charm and hypnotize, cure illnesses, as well as to curse and hurt others. Nearly every aspect of daily life usually has a Yant associated with it.

 

Picture reference: bhanupong chooarun / Shutterstock.com
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