Figure - Śrī Gopāla Yantra
Gopāla is an epithet of Kṛṣṇa in the form of a young cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana.
Yantra - consists of the root yam - "to sustain, control or hold". Meanings for the noun derived from this root include:
• "any instrument or machine" (i.e. that which is controlled or controls. For instance the body is said to be a yantra)
• "any instrument for holding, restraining, or fastening" (for instance a symbol which 'holds' the essence of a concept, or helps the mind to 'fasten' on a particular idea)
• "a mystical or astronomical diagram" (usually a symbol, often inscribed on an amulet) sometimes said to possess mystical or magical powers.
tra - is an Indo-European suffix meaning ' instrument', found in Latin 'aratrum' and in mantra and tantra, hence a literal translation would be "instrument to control".
The configurative architectonics of Śrī Gopāla Yantra is delineated in the concluding portion of the seventeenth chapter of Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa titled "Pauraścaraṇikaḥ"
(Deliberation on Yantra)
(in the Sanat-kumāra-kalpa it is stated)
arcanārthe mune vakṣye yantraṁ śrī-karam uttamam |
sva-gṛhe vā vane cātha viṣṇor āyatane’thavā ||261||
O' Sage, I shall now describe to you the understanding of a yantra, which when worshiped awards wealth to the worshiper. First, one should settle on a place in his house or in the forest, or a secluded space within a temple of the Supreme Lord.
sthānam ekāntam āśritya śodhayed gomayāmbhasā |
tatra saṁsthāpayet pīṭhaṁ kṣālitaṁ śuddha-vairiṇā ||262||
This place should be cleansed with cow dung and pure water. After cleansing, one should be cleaned with cow dung and pure water. After cleansing, one should construct a platform there.
vilikhya gandha-paṅkena likhed aṣṭa-dalāmbujam |
karṇikāyāṁ likhed vahni-puṭitaṁ maṇḍala-dvayam ||263||
One should draw on the platform with sandalwood paste a lotus flower having eight petals. Then, within the whorl of that lotus, one should draw triangles forming a hexagon.
tasya madhye likhed bījaṁ sādhyākhyaṁ karma-saṁyutam |
tataḥ śiṣṭair manor varṇais taṁ kāmaṁ veṣṭayet sudhīḥ ||264||
In the middle of the hexagon, an intelligent devotee should write the kāma-bījākṣara, along with his personal ambition. One should also write “klīṁ kṛṣṇāya namah”. Then a learned scholar should surround the kāma-bījākṣara with the other seventeen syllables of the eighteen-syllable mantra.
śriyaṁ ṣaṭ-koṇa-koṇeṣv aindra-nairṛta-vāyuṣu |
ālikhya ca likhen māyāṁ vahni-vāruṇa-śūliṣu ||265||
One should write the śri-bījākṣara on the eastern, south-western, and north-eastern sides of the yantra, and he should write the māyā-bījākṣara in the south-eastern, western, and north-eastern sides[i].
mantraṁ ṣaḍ-akṣaraṁ tatra vilikhet ṣaṭsu sandhiṣu |
akṣaraiḥ kāma-gāyatryā veṣṭayet keśare sudhīḥ ||266||
One should write the six-syllable kṛṣṇa mantra on the six joints of the yantra. The syllabic letters of kāma-gāyatrī mantra should be written around the petals of the lotus.
kāma-mālā-manor varṇair daleṣv aṣṭasu mantra-vit |
likhed guhānanair bhaktair māntrikāṁs tad-bahir likhet ||267||
Using nicely prepared homemade ink, a learned devotee should write the forty-eight-syllable kāma-mālā-mantra on the eight petals of the lotus so that each petal has six letters. Outside the lotus, one should write the fifty-one, mātṛkā varṇā.
bhū-bimbaṁ ca likhed bāhye śrī-māyāṁ dig-vidiksu ca |
evaṁ yantraṁ samālikhya jāta-rūpa-maye paṭe ||268||
Outside these mātṛkā varṇā, one should draw a bhūpura-maṇḍala. Outside the bhupura -maṇḍala, one should write Bījā akṣara Śrīṃ̇ in the four directions, beginning with the east, and outside that, one should write Hṛīṁ in the four corners, beginning with the north-east. Outside Śrīṃ̇, one should also draw a symbol representing a vajra.
rājate tāmra-paṭṭe vā bhūrje kṣauma-maye’pi vā |
sūkṣma-tantu-paṭe vāpi pratiṣṭhāpya samīraṇam ||269||
After preparing the Yantra by writing on silver, copper, gold plate or leaf, one should invoke life into the Yantra by chanting the appropriate mantra.
hutvā sahasram ājyena yantre sampātapūrvakam |
arcayitvāyutaṁ japtvā dhārayed yantram uttamam ||270||
Thereafter, he should perform a fire sacrifice by offering one thousand oblations of ghee. Then, he should worship the yantra and chant his mantra ten thousand times as japa. After completing the ritual, one should wear the potent yantra.
trailokyaiśvaryam āpnoti devair api supūjitaḥ |
ākarṣaṇaṁ sura-strīṇāṁ nāga-loka-nivāsinām ||271||
By wearing this yantra, one achieves all the opulence of the three worlds and is venerated by the demigods. The consorts of devas and nāgas become attracted to one who wears this yantra.
piśācayakṣa-rakṣāṁsi krūra-bhūta-gaṇāś ca ye |
duṣṭa-sarpādayaḥ sattvā hy apasarpanti dūrataḥ ||272||
Yakśa , Rākśasa (demon), Bhūta (ghost), hobgoblins, wild animals, and serpents run away to a great distance from one who wears this Yantra.
antra-rāja-dharaṁ dṛṣṭvā vidravanti ca bibhyati |
bahunā kiṁ ihoktena sarva-loka-sukhāvaham ||273||
Miscreants run away in fear when they see someone wearing this king of Yantras. Everyone becomes happy by the influence of this Yantra and so, what more can I say?
strīṇām ākarṣaṇaṁ sadyo rājñāṁ vaśyakaraṁ bhuvi |
yoga-siddhi-karaṁ puṁsāṁ bhava-sāgara-tārakam |
bhukti-mukti-pradaṁ divyam iti proktaṁ ca vedhasā ||274||
This Yantra attracts all kinds of females, keeps the rulers of men under control, awards mystic perfection to great yogis, delivers one from the ocean of material existence, awards on material enjoyment and liberation and ultimately enables one to return to the transcendental abode of the Lord, Śrī Vaikunṭḥalokas. This is confirmed by Brahma.
[i] The eight directions are East (Indra) at 0o, SE (Agni) at 45o, S (Yama) at 90o, SW (Nairāta) at 135o, W (Varuṇa) at 180o, NW (Vāyu) at 225o, N (Kubera) at 270o, NE (Īṣāna) at 315o.