has been one of the most neglected branches of Indian spiritual studies
despite the considerable number of texts devoted to this practice, which
dates back to the 5th-9th century AD.
people still consider tantra to be full of obscenities and unfit for
people of good taste. It is also often accused of being a kind of black
magic. However, in reality, tantra is one of the most important Indian
traditions, representing the practical aspect of the Vedic tradition.
religious attitude of the tantriks is fundamentally the same as that
of the Vedic followers. It is believed that the tantra tradition is
a part of the main Vedic tree. The more vigorous aspects of Vedic religion
were continued and developed in the tantras. Generally tantriks worship
either Goddess Shakti or Lord Shiva.
Meaning of Tantra :
word "tantra" is derived from the combination of two words
"tattva" and "mantra". "Tattva" means
the science of cosmic principles, while "mantra" refers to
the science of mystic sound and vibrations. Tantra therefore is the
application of cosmic sciences with a view to attain spiritual ascendancy.
In another sense, tantra also means the scripture by which the light
of knowledge is spread: Tanyate vistaryate jnanam anemna iti tantram.
are essentially two schools of Indian scriptures - "Agama"
and "Nigama". Agamas are those which are revelations while
Nigama are the traditions. Tantra is an Agama and hence it is called
"srutishakhavisesah", which means it is a branch of the Vedas.
Tantric Scriptures :
main deities worshipped are Shiva and Shakti. In tantra there is a great
significance of "bali" or animal sacrifices. The most vigorous
aspects of Vedic traditions evolved as an esoteric system of knowledge
in the Tantras. The Atharva Veda is considered to be one of the prime
& Terminology :
are 18 "Agamas", which are also referred to as Shiva tantras,
and they are ritualistic in character. There are three distinct tantrik
traditions - Dakshina, Vama and Madhyama. They represent the three "shaktis"
or powers of Shiva and are characterised by the three "gunas"
or qualities - "sattva", "rajas" and "tamas".
The Dakshina tradition, characterised by the "sattva" branch
of tantra is essentially for good purpose. The Madhyama, characterised
by "rajas" is of mixed nature, while the Vama, characterised
by "tamas" is the most impure form of tantra.
for Worldly Pleasures :
is different from other traditions because it takes the whole person,
and his/her worldly desires into account. Other spiritual traditions
ordinarily teach that desire for material pleasures and spiritual aspirations
are mutually exclusive, setting the stage for an endless internal struggle.
Although most people are drawn into spiritual beliefs and practices,
they have a natural urge to fulfill their desires. With no way to reconcile
these two impulses, they fall prey to guilt and self-condemnation or
become hypocritical. Tantra offers an alternative path.
The Tantrik Approach To Life :
tantrik approach to life avoids this pitfall. Tantra itself means "to
weave, to expand, and to spread", and according to tantrik masters,
the fabric of life can provide true and ever-lasting fulfillment only
when all the threads are woven according to the pattern designated by
nature. When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern.
But as we grow, our ignorance, desire, attachment, fear, and false images
of others and ourselves tangle and tear the threads, disfiguring the
fabric. Tantra "sadhana" or practice reweaves the fabric,
and restores the original pattern. This path is systematic and comprehensive.
The profound science and practices pertaining to hatha yoga, pranayama,
mudras, rituals, kundalini yoga, nada yoga, mantra, mandala, visualization
of dieties, alchemy, ayurveda, astrology, and hundreds of esoteric practices
for generating worldly and spiritual prosperity blend perfectly in the