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 these traditional systems is Non-Dual Shaiva Tantra (NST) philosophy. In this context, the Shaivism Tattvas offer the most comprehensive exposition of reality.
Over 25 years of 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!
And the Mind creates Reality!
A Modern Interpretation
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 tantric sex, then you are at the right place. However, this site does not focus on "tips and tricks" of tantric sex nor does it provide you with "sexual techniques." (For that, I refer you to the Kama Sutra.) Here, I discuss tantric texts like the Vigyan Bhairava Tantra. 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 mouth parts. 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. But, 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.
This yogic system advocates sexual pleasure but not at the cost of everything else. The pursuit of orgasms is not restricted to the sexual act: we need more! Multiple orgasms, long-lasting orgasms, non-ejaculatory orgasms... all find a place in tantra practice. If anyone tells you otherwise, don't believe them! However, the orgasm can be made to last for hours if not days simply by following a few techniques. The simplest technique is to prolong foreplay for days. Or indulge in a tantric massage or erotic massage that does not culminate in an orgasm. (There are hundreds of sites and videos that 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! But we can only go so much higher in the "order" of things; eventually, another dimension needs to be created to capture the essence of out 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 greater degrees of this Spirit, but the spiritual path 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 path does 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!
This is the spiritual practice of tantric sexuality!
When tantriks refer to the orgasm exploding 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! When tantriks seek spiritual awakening through sex, it 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 teachings exhort us to find divinity in lust and purity in love!
Finally, one can't achieve any of the things that this system 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 ourselves and a loved one.
Sex is a form of 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. It is the union of energy that 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 expression of the feeling that such union is an unending source of happiness is felt by all, irrespective of religion, caste, color or creed.
Tantra has always held on to this ancient philosophy. 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, which has seen millions of devotees worldwide, has taught the way to merge the two categories of 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 that there is no difference between the two genders in this regard. In this respect, the universal, the material, the man and the woman are given equal place.
Culture and Sex
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 of 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!
This yogic system will never take any steps to promote the happiness of any sections of society, whether they are men or women. 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! This concept enables the person to transcend his or her immediate feelings, thoughts and emotions and reaches the higher levels of spirituality. It is a is a religion which makes it possible for the individual to experience love and divine bliss.
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.
The Meaning of Shakti and the True Feminine Essence
Shakti (in Sanskrit) 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). So 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. Each energy brings about an inner balance and true freedom.
When you hear the word "life energy," it is the spiritual energy that has a direct connection with the divine source of the universe. This source lies 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 vibrational level 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, that 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. 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 a lot of people think that it's something negative. However, it is actually a very intimate form of spiritual worship that includes a lot of heartfelt reverence for the divine feminine energy of the cosmos.
Religion has the habit of turning our innate human desires into something negative. But, 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. But, 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. It's the kind of worship that anyone can do, no matter how old they are or what their sexual proclivities are. It's truly a form of worship that anyone can perform. Your entire life can be a sacred space for contemplation and worship. If you tune in to the divine within you and be guided by it, then you will be performing meditation in motion; you will be making everything sacred; everything will be a "sacrifice." Each and 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 or 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 you to connect with your soul and to experience that deeper connection, which is a great gift.
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, this philosophy 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.
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. It is the form of worship that can connect you with the divine source and makes you aware of your rightful place in the universe. Again, this divine source is not God!
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 serpent coiled upon itself. 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 it mean?
Kundalini signifies the many unconscious states of our body. The autonomic nervous system controls our body without our conscious intervention. So 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 or 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."
More Than Just a Sex
There are many facets of Tibetan Buddhism, but one of the most important is Tantra. It is is a spiritual path that focus 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 ancient religions of all parts of the world, including some which today are no longer believed in.
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 a ritual that is purely atheistic. 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.
In the West, the Vama Marga is predominantly practiced through sexuality
It is an amalgamation of many different traditions, 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 results 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 the internal organs and basic physical postures is sufficient to make the physical body work 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. Amonst Hindus, yantras may manifest as colorful diagrams called Rangolis (rang = color; gol = circle/circular). From this, you can see how rangolis and manadals 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. As with any Yantra, the practice of meditation and the realization of this awareness of the subtle energies should never be the end-goal of the Yantra. These are simply tools, and the end goal should be to actually 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.