What is Tantra?
Tantra is one of the many spiritual traditions of ancient India, which influenced Hinduism and Buddhism over a period of a few hundred years. Before influencing these religions, Tantra had already diversified into different traditions, but each tantric tradition had at its core the awakening of consciousness and the pursuit of enlightenment.
Tantra Yoga offers an entire philosophy (because Yoga translates as Philosophy) by combining different teachings from the different Schools of Thought (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta). When these combinations differed, they gave rise to different traditions. One of these traditional systems is Non-Dual Shaiva Tantra (NST) philosophy. In this context, the Shaivism Tattvas offer the most comprehensive exposition of reality.
My Tantric Yoga Journey
Over 25 years of tantric practice has taught me that we have to understand "consciousness" to comprehend this philosophical subject. However, there is no consensus on consciousness! No definition is accurate enough, no description is complete, and no explanation is satisfactory. We popularly agree that it emanates from the mind but closer examination will show that we are actually conscious of the "concept of mind." Therefore, consciousness creates the mind and not the other way around!
Brief History of Tantra
In India, tantric yoga and the tantric tradition became prevalent from the 6th century AD. Buddhism did much to revive the ancient tantric rituals. By the 10th century, Tantra along with tantric Buddhism had spread everywhere. It must be remembered that the geographical spread of "India" was from Afghanistan to Burma. In terms of diversity, Tantra was as eclectic as it was stupendous.
Tantric deities were created and worshiped; even Buddhism could not escape the tantric traditions of idol worship and went on to have gods and goddesses in their magnificent sculptures. This tantric technique creates a powerful entity within the body. In this context, even the non-idol-worshiping religions of the world can't escape idol making!
Hinduism is a word but it is not truly a religion, it's a way of life. Once upon a time, every person living in ancient India was a Hindu. Even today, everyone living in India is a Hindu in the sense that she/he is an Indian. Without being mired in politics, let's just say that ancient Hinduism had several religions in its ambit. For example, Vaishnavism and Shaivism were separate religions.
This is not hard to imagine, look at the different denominations of Christianity and Islam.
The Mind creates Reality!
I want to combine tantric practice with the Science of Consciousness, and modern Psychology to provide a system of living. In this website, I explain tantric techniques that will awaken our senses and broaden the mechanisms of our intellectual awareness. I'm attempting to explore scientific and neurobiological research into the mind to demonstrate "how we think" and "how we perceive reality." Are we different from any advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
The Vama Marga (Tantric Sex)
Nowadays, any tantric practitioner would want to know about the sexual aspects of this philosophy. So, let's get it out of the way for now! If you are here to learn more about the practice of tantric sex, then you are at the right place. However, this site does not focus only on "tips and tricks" of tantric sex nor does it provide you with "tantric sex positions." (For that, I refer you to the Kama Sutra.) In this text, everything is portrayed as a technique, but they are techniques of the mind.
In the Vama Marga, sexual pleasure is pathway to enlightenment! Therefore, tantric sex is a means to awakening and eventual Samadhi. However, tantric sex also means going beyond the physical act of sexual intercourse and into the domain of sexual energy. A simple example: Tantric sex does not concern itself with postures to please a sexual partner; it tells you how to please a lover. It's evident that the distinction is not subtle! There is sexual energy between lovers, but there is only sex between sexual partners!
The food instinct and the sexual instinct drive all creatures. The sexual instinct is so strong in the May Fly that it doesn't even have mouthparts. All it does - after achieving adulthood (incomplete metamorphosis) - is to seek out a mate, have sex, and die. The sexual instinct is just as strong in humans "driving" the cultures of most human societies. In that sense, we are unique because we are equipped with the ability to have sex for the sake of enjoyment. Tantric sex takes this wisdom and converts it into a "way of life" and a pathway to existential evolution.
Tantric sex advocates sexual pleasure but not at the cost of everything else. The pursuit of orgasms is not restricted to the sexual act: the tantric orgasm demands more! Multiple orgasms, long-lasting orgasms, non-ejaculatory orgasms... all find a place on the tantric path. If anyone tells you otherwise, don't believe him or her! However, the orgasm can be made to last for hours if not days simply by following a few techniques.
The simplest tantric sex technique is to prolong foreplay for days. Alternatively, indulge in a tantric sexual massage (erotic massage) that does not culminate in an orgasm. (Hundreds of sites and videos demonstrate techniques and methods to prolong a massage. Many even involve rituals that enhance the pleasure of the tantric massage.) In these situations, the orgasm translates into a lasting sexual energy that goes way beyond any kind of temporal ejaculatory orgasm.
Humans do not allow themselves to be equated to animals. We are superior! We are beyond animals! However, we can only go so much higher in the "order" of things; eventually, another dimension needs to be created to capture the essence of our exalted mindfulness. This is where the Spirit is created. This is when the Soul comes into play! Some wise men have suggested that humans will have lesser and a greater degree of this Spirit, but the path to spiritual growth is the same for all.
Other wise men deny the Soul to animals, making it the sole domain of humans. Whichever side of this spirituality you find yourself, the tantric traditions do not discriminate between humans and animals. It only discriminates between more-aware and less-aware creatures.
Not surprisingly therefore, animal symbolism plays an important role in describing the different levels of enlightenment. For example, Kundalini Yoga is often portrayed through snakes! Therefore, the tingling sensation of an orgasm in the physical body can be elevated sacred sex. How we live our life before the actual sexual act, how we think and feel before the sexual act, and what we believe in before the sexual act, can transform the sensation of the orgasm!
Spiritual Growth through Sacred Sexuality
In tantric sex, the orgasm explodes in the mind. It is a state of sexual energy that can be realized in dreams, at times when you least expect it, or at prolonged leisure. It can be the culmination of a ritual where the practitioner achieves sacred communion with the divine goddess! The spiritual practice of tantric sex is a valid pursuit so long as it doesn't remain purely on the physical level. It is said:
Love is Divine, but Lust is Pure!
Tantric sex exhorts us to find Divinity in Lust and Purity in Love! Finally, one can't achieve any of the things that tantric sex promises without comprehending the full range of reality. That's where the Shaivism Tattvas come in. Shaivism Tattvas help us achieve intimacy not only with our physical environment but also with a loved one.
Sexual practice enables union between the male and female organs and bodies and through this union; a form of energy is released. Sex is also a way to express the feelings and emotions, which have been buried within each one of us. Sexual energy makes our body operate to its optimum level and gives rise to the orgasmic response. In sexual union, there is a state of bliss, which cannot be described in words.
The expression of love, passion, joy and satisfaction is completely infectious and contagious. That's why it has been termed as "the great unifier." The feeling that such union is an unending source of happiness is felt by all, irrespective of religion, caste, color, or creed. The roots and traditions of this yogic system have always embraced the promotion of sexual union and the satisfaction of the sexual urge as a form of spiritual communion.
Additionally, any form of sexual union, which has been removed from its natural context, has been considered evil by this system. This spiritual heritage of Tantra Yoga, which has millions of devotees worldwide, has taught the way to merge the sexes, both of them being innately same. They both give birth to the 'I am' phenomenon. Sexual union is a process of giving and receiving and there is no difference between the genders. In this respect, the universal, the material, the man and the woman are given equal place.
Culture and Sexual Energy
At the same time, the concept of caste has never entered into this realm. The 'I am' phenomenon has nothing to do with caste or status or gender. This is because the principle of unity is inherent in every individual and the notion of caste has no place in the Tantric tradition. It also teaches the fact that the mystic ecstasy f the divine is the base that transcends all religious, caste, regional and gender boundaries. It is equally applicable to both genders. It is at the level of the heart that the divine consciousness manifests.
When it transcends all these boundaries, it also transcends God! Tantra Yoga does not promote communal harmony, in the sense that its objectives cater to the individual. The tantric path is not for communities to walk on but for individuals. It believes that the purpose of existence is to elevate the consciousness of the individual to a level where he or she can be inspired to make the right choice. In other words, it presents the simple fact that if you are happy all the time, you will get bored!
The Tantric goddess Kali was widely worshipped in Bengal. She was heralded as a ruthless yet compassionate Mother by the Bengali mystic and poet, Ramprasad Sen. His verse resonated at a time of crisis in Bengal. Devotion to Kali as an icon of strength increased, promoted through poetry.
Tantric texts refer to the concept of "one partner" which embodies the idea of oneness. This concept enables the person to transcend his or her immediate feelings, thoughts and emotions and reaches the higher levels of enlightenment. You and your Awakened Self are partners in this journey. When you have another human being as a partner (in the social sense of the word), then you and your human partner become One and Self Realization with the Enlightened One becomes the goal.
It does not give much importance to God - at least, it does not consider God to be the highest level of divinity. It has always advocated that humans can go beyond God. Its essence is to bring harmony and union between the sexes in all circumstances. If there is a conflict between the sexes, it will not come up because it will have been healed. When one sex is sexually unsatisfied and the other is trying to fulfill the spiritual need, it will be reconciled.
No sex is allowed to exist except within the relationship between the sexes, both of them being innately equal. This has been the background of this philosophy for centuries. When the sexual attraction between a man and a woman is metamorphosed into a mystical union of sexual organs and energy, a transcendent and eternal bliss will occur. This is the art of making the man and the woman fall in love as divine partners in a sexual union. Tantra also allows you to both explore and expand all aspects of your personalities, so that you begin to know the other person inside and out.
If you're interested in practicing Tantra, then initiate a conversation with your partner. For women, exploring our own bodies and understanding what gives us pleasure is an important part of preparing for practicing Tantra with a partner. If the partners want to, they can sit in the Yab Yum position (sit cross-legged in each other's laps) and begin deep breathing. Deep breathing is a vital part of Tantra. By focusing on your breath, you allow yourself to be present in the moment and even visualize multiple orgasms in this posture.
The Sanskrit word Shakti refers to the feminine energy of life. Shakti is constantly available to empower the feminine energies within us. In the Yoga traditions, we understand that there are three energies: the masculine energy (Prana), the life energy (Aditi), and the feminine energy (Shakti). All of us have these energies to greater or lesser extent. Think of it this way: both men and women have male and female hormones to a greater or lesser extent. If you think of the three energies as opposites of each other, then you can see that all of us are drawn to each of the energies, which brings about an inner balance and true freedom.
Life energy, or "the spiritual energy,” has a direct connection with the divine source of the universe. This is in the domain of the Occult and should not be confused with popular notions of God. The spiritual aspect of our life energy, or the feminine energy, is what we can feel when we meditate or perform mindful exercises.
We also know that the energy is present within all things. The energy that we call the divine is a vibration that can manifest within our physical world. One example is music: different songs or different types of music can affect our moods differently. This energy is, in fact, within every living thing.
We can feel the subtle spiritual energy, known as Shakti, which is present in all things including plants, animals, minerals, the air, and the stars. In order to bring about positive energy you need to provide yourself with a source of pure Shakti, like the ever-present abundant feminine energy in a flower. You can't make a flower flourish by using pesticides and chemical fertilizers! You have to provide the proper environment and attract the right element.
Why is Shakti Feminine?
Shakti represents all aspects of the feminine, including, but not limited to a woman's spiritual energy, creativity, intuition, serenity, nurturing, and psychic ability. It is the expression of the feminine on the physical plane. Many techniques are available to stimulate this energy within us. These techniques - unfortunately - have been kept secret! The power emanating from these techniques will obviously corrupt some of those who acquire it and want to hold on to it.
What Is Tantric Worship?
One of the first things you'll need to understand about this form of worship is that it is not only about sex. It's also not any type of religion, which is why many people think that it's something negative. Religion has the habit of turning our innate human desires into something negative. However, as humans, we also want our connection with the divine to be physical. Therefore, it does not take long to want to connect lust with the divine.
This is how narrow-minded and self-destructive cults come into being. In this worship, we don't really connect with the divine/God in any way. We're merely connecting with our own deeper self and sometimes even trying to connect with other beings. Nevertheless, because we have deluded ourselves into the act of worship, we're distracted from our true spiritual purposes.
Therefore, tantric worship is spiritual in its nature but it is not a religious worship. It is highly specialized and personal. Anyone can perform this kind of worship —no matter your age or sexual proclivities are. Your entire life can be a sacred space for contemplation and worship.
Every act you perform will be sacred! Since your perspective will change, even music becomes sacred. Any music will become a resonance from the universe! This does not mean that Rap will suddenly sound amazing. You will actually become more discerning in your taste and discover Vedic chants, Gregorian chants, and Tribal chants more interesting. This form of worship can be anywhere and anytime. If you can put your mind to it, you can do this without any elaborate ritual, shrine, or idol.
However, in the early stages, you may want to use a symbol or a mandala as a crutch. Such art forms enable us when we are in the beginner stages. Slowly, you will recognize the divine beings in all of our lives and experience the many natural blessings they bestow upon us. As you bring the divine energy to your conscious awareness, you are preparing for your true journey. Thus, this worship allows one to establish a deeper connection with one's body.
Worship is an essential technique to tread any spiritual path.
If you aren't in touch with your true nature, you will never be in touch with your true purpose and will always be in a position to fall short of your true calling. There is no exception to this rule. Remember, Tantra means "technique" and therefore is not something restricted to one religion. There have been instances of Christian priests exploring these techniques to augment their spirituality.
Towards a Christian Tantra
A former Jesuit John Dupuche, who published "Towards a Christian Tantra" exemplifies this, because Tantra means "technique," so this practice can be conceived of as a “way of doing religion” - a structure or template that can accommodate any content. Therefore, this form of worship is the ultimate technique: it's a way of honoring our True Self and making room for higher minds within. Again, this divine source is not God!
Rev. John Dupuche
What is Kundalini?
This word comes from "kunda" which literally means pit. Kundalini is the primal, unconscious force that lies deep within; therefore, the word symbolizes our deep unconscious states. Some people incorrectly think of this as a "coil" symbolizing a coiled serpent. This may be because the brain looks like a serpent coiled around itself. It's quite possible that ancient Yogis dissected human bodies and studied them. This shouldn't come as a surprise because Ayurveda also has established techniques for surgery.
What does Kundalini mean?
Kundalini signifies the many unconscious states of our body. The autonomic nervous system controls our body without our conscious intervention. Therefore, we are complicated machines, but Kundalini Tantra Yoga gives us access to this complicated machine. In this context, Kundalini Yoga is considered the most important discovery of traditional Yoga Philosophies. Kundalini Yoga forms an important part of tantric texts and traditions as it gives us many techniques to stimulate and activate different aspects of our unconscious mind.
What are Chakras?
Chakras literally mean circles or wheels, but in Kundalini Yoga, they signify whirlpools. This spiral also symbolizes an ascending spiral into higher consciousness or a descending spiral into our deeper consciousness. Different chakras are associated with different parts of the body along the spinal cord. While different scholars describe Kundalini Yoga differently, they all agree that the alignment of the chakras is along the spinal cord.
It's easy to accept the different interpretation, if you consider the chakras to lie in the generic region. You don't have to accept that each chakra is associated with a specific vertebra, organ, or gland but is an essential representation of that region of the body. Therefore, they are real only to the extent that they represent that "region of the body."
There are many facets of Tibetan Buddhism, but one of the most important is Tantra. A spiritual path focuses on the erotic union of man and woman, and has many fascinating interpretations. Hinduism has its original base in this philosophy and it was practiced for many centuries in the Indus Valley Civilization. Eventually, its influence spread across various Indian communities around the world, from Egypt to Tibet. In fact, it has been part of all ancient religions. Essentially, this system has three basic levels: religious faith, an atheistic philosophy, or a spiritual practice. In this context, ritual and worship are not necessarily only religious.
You may perform an atheistic ritual. You could be spiritual without having any belief in god! All these possibilities exist, and various combinations of these possibilities are manifested in the religions of the world today. In some forms of this system, it is a religion, but it is manifested mostly as divine or non-divine philosophies of sex or spirituality. It became an expression of these beliefs and practices through the centuries.
When Hinduism came into being, it was partly because this system had evolved into a set of religious doctrines. The translations of the text in Sanskrit have been changed to suit current beliefs and practices. However, some early translations were clear enough for all to see. These helped bring this practice to Western cultures.
New Age and Vama Marga
In the West, the Vama Marga is predominantly practiced through sexuality. It is an amalgamation of many different traditions that include Hindu and Buddhist beliefs as well as those of many New Age movements. This blending of old and new is what has led to the emergence of various interpretations. The techniques remain the same but the goals and motivations differ. Some say that natural acts—in the most "raw" form—are already pure and therefore already divine.
Tantric techniques merely augment that divinity. This idea provides the motivation for open relationships, nudist colonies, primary, secondary, and tertiary sexual relationships, etc. Since the sexual act is spiritual, there is no reason for sex to be exclusive. It becomes an expression of one's self and not merely about sexual satisfaction. It also becomes an expression freedom, power, and self- realization. In the context of a spiritual journey or a personal encounter with the Divine, this translates into an act of communion between the physical body and mind.
The goal is to experience the union of mind and body, mind and spirit that result in the ultimate sense of bliss and oneness. Similarly, personal enlightenment and liberation can only be achieved through a reawakening of the senses and a rejuvenation of the mind.
Yantra/Mandala: Means for Visualization
Yantra means a "machine" or a "tool" and their use can be traced back to ancient times. In several Sutras, it is described as the seven-sided mandala, but it can take on any art form: from demon-headed deities to intricate diagrams. Depending on what you wish to achieve, you can use one Yantra or another. The modern version of Yantra is just another term for the concept. There are different practices and different techniques are used to reach different goals.
Additionally, you may not need to use a lot of Yantra and only the lightest practices will be needed in terms of concentration and movement. Just enough focus on its internal organs and basic physical postures is sufficient to make the physical bodywork on its own.
In Kundalini Yoga, in its simplest form, the practice of Yantra is used in movements of the postures. It is there to keep your body aligned and let it flow naturally. Some have even found that using the Mandala in the various asanas is helpful. To this end, it may be added to some Yoga exercises, to change the positions of the muscles. Mandalas are mostly circular shapes. You can add some other forms as well. In addition, you can add some forms such as spirals and petals or any other geometric figures that can help bring the energy through the body to the brain and the Chakras.
The third eye chakra or the crown chakra Yantras are good examples. An evolution in the creation of Yantras was going from geometrical diagrams to fluid diagrams. In this context, Tibetan Buddhists continue to create mandalas at each of their holy festivals or celebrations. Amongst Hindus, Yantras may manifest as colorful diagrams called Rangolis (rang = color; gol = circle/circular). From this, you can see how rangolis and mandalas are so similar.
Not only will you use the Yantra, but you will also use mandalas in other aspects of yogic activities. Such is the simplicity of the mandala/Yantra process. In order to deepen the experience of the Yantra in your mindfulness, you must find the right motivation. In this respect, you will want to add a set of mandalas that will bring the mind into the present moment and start to be focused on those mandalas. The mandalas should help clear the mind and bring you into a state of relaxation.
Yantras therefore help to focus your concentration on an idea or a thought. By focusing on different parts of the geometry, your thoughts are encouraged to progress. This helps to identify an idea with a pattern without turning that pattern into an idol and thereby degenerating into idol worship. These are simply tools, and the end goal should be to create your own Yantras/mandalas.
Visualization can be one of the best ways to deepen your awareness of the subtle energies and their interaction with the body. When the practice of visualization is integrated into the actual Yantra, you will find that the clarity of mind and ability to pay attention to the subtle energies is increased. This can lead to a deeper level of the chakra and awareness of the Kundalini energy.
While Hatha Yoga talks about using "force," the true meaning is within the physical aspects of asanas and breathing techniques. When you introduce the basic tenets of morality, Hatha Yoga transforms into Raja Yoga. Raja yoga is explained in the Yoga Sutras, written by the ancient yogi Patanjali. It is worth discussing this system in some detail, for it throws much light on the obstacles that must be overcome before successfully meditating. The first stages prepare the practitioner’s mind and body for the higher stages. Raja Yoga is for every person, whatever his or her nature. It starts with the very basic requirements for higher spiritual life. It begins by transforming a person’s character in the way necessary for spiritual progress.
Stages of Raja Yoga
1. Yamas (social code)
2. Niyamas (personal code)
3. Asana (postures, states of being)
4. Pranayama (control of prana, life force, cosmic energy)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
6. Dharana (concentration)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (transcendental consciousness)
The inner and higher practices become easier to perform when the external and preliminary practices have been developed to a reasonable degree of perfection. Though the first five stages have been systematically explained in other books on this subject, we will briefly deal with them here.
Yamas or Self-Restraints
These are five in number are closely connected with higher yoga. Patanjali actually was an idealist and intended the practices of Raja Yoga for people who devoted their life to seeking realization and who probably isolated themselves from society. This becomes obvious when he writes in one of his sutras (verses) that they are inviolable and should be followed no matter what circumstances arise, even if the result is serious injury to oneself or others.
This, of course, is not practical for the modern person in society, for sexual relations are a natural part of life, and sometimes one needs to tell a lie under certain circumstances, perhaps to safeguard another person from undesirable knowledge. The five Yamas are as follows:
1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
2. Satya (truth)
3. Brahmacharya (sexual control)
4. Asteya (non-stealing)
5. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
The need for sexual intercourse is nothing but the build-up of energy, vital energy. When one completes the sexual act, the body is drained of this vital force. Energy can manifest in different ways, and sexual energy is no exception to the rule. If this energy is redirected towards spiritual experiences, they will be highlighted and expanded. The reader must find this out for himself.
Niyamas or Observances
These, like the Yamas, are five in number. They are more concerned with the personal discipline of the practitioner. They are intended to prepare the spiritual aspirant for the arduous yogic path that lies ahead. Like the Yamas (which are ethically inclined), the Niyamas reduce mental and emotional conflicts and render the individual’s mind tranquil for concentration.
1. Shaucha (Purity)
This rule needs little explanation. One should keep the body as pure as possible by regular bathing and by eating food that is as pure and nutritious as possible. If you don’t, then you will be more susceptible to diseases both internal and external and this is a great hindrance to meditational practices, for how is it possible to direct the mind inwards to the deeper realms when one’s attention is continually distracted by indigestion or any other ailment?
One’s meditational capacity is related very much to the type of food one eats. If one eats impure and coarse food, then the mind is unlikely to be sensitive enough to respond to the subtle vibrations and experiences of meditation. The subtle states of meditation need a clear and pure mind in which to manifest. This rule also applies to the purification of the mind from disturbing thoughts and emotions. Since this is the whole reason for the Yamas and Niyamas, it implies that Yamas and Niyamas must be practiced.
2. Santosha (Contentment)
It is essential to develop the ability to withstand daily problems without being deeply affected, to be contented no matter what circumstances beset one. Most people have a continually changing mood because of the vicissitudes of life. One moment they are happy, then something occurs and they suddenly become very unhappy. A mind that is continually fluctuating in this way is not suitable for meditation.
For this reason, contentment is of the utmost importance: not external contentment to impress other people, but inner contentment. Easier said than done, you might say. This is true, but by continual development of the other Yamas and Niyamas and a conscious effort to accept what comes to you, no matter what, this contentment will surely come.
3. Tapas (Austerity)
This is intended to strengthen the willpower, by undergoing small austerities such as fasting, maintaining a vow of silence for a few hours and so on. This can help to discipline the mind. Tapas should not involve suppression of the mind for this can do more harm than good. Willpower is necessary in Yoga, for the mind is like a kitten that wanders here and there without purpose. It will try to make you do things you don’t want to do.
4. Swadhyaya (Introspection)
Have awareness of your mind!
5. Ishwara Pranidhana (Surrender)
There is tremendous misinterpretation regarding this Niyama. This does not refer to surrendering to God but to a higher form of yourself.
There are different systems of reality. However, one needs to understand that “reality” here is a composite whole wherein the observer and the observed form one unit.
This is perhaps the most elaborate system of reality. The Tattvas - all 36 of them - help us comprehend ourselves and our environment to much greater and deeper levels.
Through the Powers and Acts of God, we see how reality manifests itself and how our interpretation of reality can be clouded if we're not mindful.