WHAT IS TRUE TANTRA IN NUTSHELL ? PART-01TRUE TANTRA-10
WHAT IS TANTRA?--
1-The word “tantra” creates many misconceptions in the modern mindset of immorality, sex and clandestine(done secretively) activity. Tantra as being an Instrument of Life there is a need to redefine tantra, restoring it to its original scope and dimension as an ancient technology for ultimate transformation.
2-Tantra shastra is a secret and most powerful science in the Indian occult tradition. It is a science which Indians have practised for centuries and still do. Although this science was subject to suppression from time to time due to various misunderstandings and allegations, it still lives due to its original operation and method of discovery of the psychic realms.
3-Tantra shastra as a whole is the system which deals with the techniques, mediums and applications concerning the individual power and knowledge which is said to be at the depth of human consciousness.
4-Usually it is thought that only a sannyasin, a recluse, a celibate brahmachari or a total renunciate can be in possession of psychic powers, that an ordinary householder has no access to those powers which belong to the deeper planes of consciousness. However, tantra shastra proclaims boldly that neither food nor character, social nor marital status, stand in the way of developing such super powers.
5-While one section of Indian thought propagated the exclusive cult of renunciation in order to develop powers of higher consciousness, the other section believed that the normal progression of life did not present any hindrance. This section gradually evolved into tantra marga while the first developed into the cult of yoga.
6-In tantra shastra one will find every practice integrated and adjusted with the attitude and behaviour of the average person who is compelled and advised to follow the natural steps of life. Therefore, wine, meat, marital relations, grain and fish are accepted in the general constitution of the shastra. Much misunderstood, this constitution of tantra shastra clarifies that this does not present any obstacle in the awakening of shakti, rather it helps.
7-In bhakti shastra also the normal progression of life and the demands of nature are not at all denied, rather they are combined and adjusted with life. If one looks at tantra shastra in this light, one finds a happy combination of occult techniques and devotional attitudes. As such it is absolutely necessary that along with esoteric rituals and ceremonies, the practitioner should also surrender to shakti, the divine power.
WHO IS THE PRESIDING DEITY OF TANTRA?--
1-The presiding deity of tantra shastra is Devi, the so-called feminine deity to whom all mantras, mudras and other elements of worship are devotionally dedicated. The act of bathing, dressing, sitting for worship, offering various ingredients, sacrificing animals, cohabiting with husband or wife or companion, accepting the offered foodstuffs and many other acts are performed in the spirit of total dedication and devotion.
2-The sixty-four tantras are thus designated to suit the various temperaments of individuals walking, faltering and advancing on the different levels of human evolution.
3-The purpose of all tantric systems is one, and that is to evolve and express the mother aspect which is probably the nucleus and centre of total consciousness in living beings, the central sphere of individual awareness which is shakti or energy.
4-Tantra shastra does not confuse this with the so-called maternal instinct, nor does it develop an emotional mother complex. The term ‘matri’ symbolizes the greatest power in man; it does not symbolize the mother in the ordinary sense.
5-Tantrics are worshippers of shakti even in the case of those who worship Shiva or Vishnu. What is shakti? Shakti is the great process lying almost restless at the deepest sphere of individual consciousness which is capable of creation, progression and destruction. It is that powerful awareness which is lying dormant at present.
6-Shakti is the left half of shiva. Shiva is consciousness; shakti is energy. Shiva is the tongue; shakti is the power of speech. Shiva and shakti live together, but shiva cannot materialize and become active without the active co-operation of shakti. Therefore, shakti is the subject matter of tantra shastra, whether shakti tantra or shaiva tantra.
7- Although shakti is depicted by a feminine frame, termed as a goddess, described as a beautiful lady, the tantras unanimously declare that shakti is the all-pervading and all-embracing existence in a saint and in a sinner, in a man and in a woman, in a believer and in a nonbeliever.
WHAT IS THE METHOD OF TANTRIC SADHANA ?
`1-Tantra shastra has an elaborate and definite scheme of manifesting this transcendental existence in every individual by mantras, yantras, devata, kriyas and mudras, including those most abused five ingredients of tantra. Those elaborate and definite schemes of tantra are employed to develop the deeper individual awareness on the outer plane so that supra-physical faculties can be brought into action. Mantras are meant to create systematic vibrations, yantras are meant to consolidate the energy and other kriyas are to awaken the psychic centres in man.
2-Tantric sadhana consists of many ways to awaken the kundalini. It is a very powerful method and therefore there is always a possibility of misuse of those powers. The other methods are very tedious, strenuous, time-consuming and far-fetched; there is practically no possibility of misusing powers arising from methods other than tantra. Man does not have the patience to wait that long for the desired awakening, so most aspirants leave their practices half way.
3-Since tantra sadhana is direct, immediate, convenient, unrigid and palatable (pleasant to taste), the practitioner achieves speedy success in it. Therefore, tantra is a living science in India, not at all obsolete, never dead. There are centres of initiation for serious-minded aspirants where tantric practices are taught. It is practised in absolute secrecy by various groups under the guidance of their own tradition.
WHAT IS THE DEESCRIPTION OF TANTRA
1-LITERAL MEANING; -The word tantra is a combination of two processes, ‘tanoti’ and ‘trayati’, meaning expansion and liberation. The root ‘tan’ stands for the word tanoti and the root ‘tra’ stands for the word trayati. The word tanoti means to stretch, to extend, to elaborate, to expand. The word trayati means to liberate, to free, to separate. So it is clear that tantra is a process of expansion and finally absolute freedom in the highest existence.
2-Many of the tantras are purely vedic in origin. You can conveniently put them into two progressive categories of shruti (revealed scriptures) and smriti (transmitted by memory).
3-Tantras that have their existence in shruti and follow the vedic tradition implicitly are shrauta tantras. Those tantras having all respect for shruti but which adjust with the ever-shifting social concepts are known as smarta tantras.
4-The shrauta tantras, that is to say the vedic tantras, were replete with an absolute sense of purity and orthodoxy. As a result, there developed a tradition of moral restraints such as ahimsa or non-violence and the like. However, those who were used to performing animal sacrifices and other such older customs did not agree with orthodox purity or ahimsa.
5-Thus the vedic tantras were naturally divided in the course of time into two groups: one followed the path of ahimsa, the other followed the tradition of animal sacrifices, drinking wine and the like. However, in those days they did not use the word tantra; they used the word yajna.
6-Later, these natural divisions of vedic tantra developed into two main orthodox currents, namely shakta tantra, worshipping Shakti, and shaiva tantra, worshipping Shiva.
WHAT IS SHAIVAS TANTRA?-
1-Shaivas lived an austere life, which was not enjoined in the original vedic tantra, and they also refrained from sacrifices, wine etc., which was accepted by popular traditions of shaktas.
2- The shaiva tantra which systematically developed around the central concept of Lord Shiva with austerity as its backbone, yoga as its creed, renunciation as its policy and samadhi as its summum bonum.
3-Worshippers of this cult can be seen among all sections of Hindus. There are twelve main centres and many temples where shaiva tantra is practised as a daily ceremony.
WHAT IS SHAKTAS TANTRA?-
1-Shaktas continued their system around the concept of shakti, lived a life of comfort and luxury like the vedic worshippers, and pursued the path of sacrifices, wine etc. Due to the pressure of repeated criticism, it became necessary for the followers of shakta tantra to evolve a spiritual philosophy to prove the propriety and effectiveness of their system. Thus the main stream of tantra was divided into three groups.
2-- The shakta tantra which was a kind of original vedic tantra later developed into a classical system of shakti worship. However, they did not discontinue the primitive tradition of sacrifices, wine, fish, honey, marital or extramarital cohabitation, and occult mantras. \
3-There are sixty-four main centres or shakti peeths besides numerous temples where shakti tantra is practised in daily as well as occasional ceremonies. There are also sixty-four tantric texts belonging to this stream.
The refined vedic worship which is widely practised even today in the form of yajnas, rudri and other karmakanda rituals.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT TANTRA & LEFT TANTRA;-
1-It is this tantric tradition which again divides into left tantra and right tantra, or vama tantra and dakshina tantra.This division take place because one cannot belong purely to one creed; one is always influenced by the next door neighbour’s thoughts.
2-Some shaktas also realized the glory, purity, nobility and grace of the shaiva system, whose highlights were austerity, purity, yoga and samadhi. As a result they worshipped shakti with the spirit of shaivism and refrained from meat, etc. They became practitioners of right hand tantra. Other shaktas continued their usual practices and were known as the leftist or vama path.
3-There were those shaivas who were influenced by the behaviour of the shaktas. They felt it was meaningless to perform austerities and yoga practices when the gain was easily obtainable through animal sacrifices, etc. So they combined Devi worship into their system because they found in it the fulfilment of emotion and ambitions.
4-Worshippers of Shiva were not supposed to practise animal sacrifices, etc., but they accepted it and followed the traditions of shakta tantra side by side with the traditions of shaiva tantra.
WHAT IS TANTRIC PHILOSOPHY?-
1-This development was spontaneous, though subjected to organization in the course of time. Different creeds were organized but the central purpose remained the same – the awakening of something in man which was unknown but not unheard of. It is true that there might have been people who joined the creed without any spiritual purpose, but such people were very few.
2-Most people in India joined these different traditions with the definite purpose of awakening the sleeping power and harnessing it for a higher purpose.
From time to time each and every system underwent changes and adjustments with reference to the ceremonies and the original elements of worship. While the reference to animal sacrifice etc. was literally accepted in older traditions, in later traditions it came to mean a process of sacrificing the animal in man. Thus came the reinterpretation of tantric philosophy.
3-Here wine did not mean anything except the amrit or nectar which is produced internally through certain esoteric methods. Again maithuna did not mean cohabitation as is generally understood. It meant an act or a state of union between the individual and the collective consciousness, jivatman and paramatman. Thus the whole picture changed.
4-Further, mantra did not mean vedic mantras, audible pronouncements. Mantra came to be understood as a process of contemplation on an esoteric sound in order to break through the fetters of the lower consciousness. The root 'Man' means a process of contemplation, and 'tra' means freedom, liberation, elimination, release and the like. So, mantra came to mean a process of chanting certain syllables in a particular way in order to bring about the fusion of empirical (actual), existence with transcendental existence.
5-Thus the entire philosophy of tantra undergoes a process of sublimation. Although you will not find any change in the mantra “I offer this animal” that is recited, the attitude becomes sacrificing the animal instinct in human awareness. 6-Lord Shiva becomes Pashupati or ‘master of the animals’. While the worshipper chants the mantra of sacrifice, he becomes aware of the possibility of mastering the animal instinct.
7-How to kill that animal and how to transcend the lower awareness? It is possible that one can soar high in spiritual life without suppressing the natural life one has developed through the course of evolution.
8-Here tantric sadhana becomes a true life boat. It does not ask anyone to deny the natural demands of life. You have to spiritualize them and thus exhaust the samskaras. If you cannot give up your old habit of drinking, it does not matter. You continue it as an ingredient of your tantric worship.
9-A non-ethical system-People in general are intellectually ethical. This is a condition in every part of the world. The intellect is clouded by the socialized ethics of the world. At the same time everyone is violating this philosophy. A large percentage of the world population is always indulging in what it considers to be unethical and immoral. Consequently, everyone without exception is suffering from self-imagined agonies. This is where psychological and psychosomatic diseases have their origin.
10-Tantra advises us not to consider these acts as immoral and unethical, but to accept them and spiritualize them. When you know that everybody is leading a particular kind of life, indulging in wine, sensuality meat-eating, etc., what is the use of asking them to renounce everything for fear of hell or for the sake of heaven? It is sure that neither fear of hell nor craving for heaven can make one renounce the pleasures of life. Rather it creates conflicts and psychological cobwebs in man’s personality.
11-The point is how one should utilize these and other natural expressions of individual consciousness for higher awakening. Tantra shastra has definite methods, techniques and rules for practising the fivefold items, unknown to many mystic traditions in the annals of ancient and modern history.
12-The professional teachers of ethics and morality, the self-styled preachers and devotees of ahimsa will never accept this view of tantra. But it has been proved absolutely that everyone, whatever their weaknesses, has equal opportunities to develop the spiritual power within. Such a person will march through tantric sadhana and sooner or later find himself on the path of yoga. This is what everybody wants.CONTD. ...SHIVOHAM...