What is tantra anyway?! To order your own copy from our Store download here. Kamala Devi offers a brief Answer to the big Question: What is Tantra, Anyway?
The logical head bangs itself against a concrete wall trying to answer the unanswerable. Like Zen, the Tao and Buddhism, Tantra is a path to enlightenment. But understanding the spontaneous nature of this non-linear path will challenge the mind. Our favorite textbook definition of Tantra points to its Sanskrit roots.
Thus, Tantra can be interpreted to mean liberation through expansion. Nor does it occur between the legs. Tantra is about how we live, how we breathe, eat, sleep, work, play and love. And the practice of Tantra is a practice of living life in a way that creates power and magic and divinity. It is any practice that supports us in embodying our divinity. Tantra is like a wise old tree with a vast and deep root system.
Some of its more developed branches include: This list is in no way exhaustive or complete, but we can conclusively say that Tantra, like yoga, is not a religion. There is even a resurgence of teachings that Jesus practiced Tantra with Mary Magdalene.
And this lineage sources back to the Egyptian Goddess cult of Isis. Tantra does not exclude any portion of the human experience — it includes the full spectrum of humanity. It embraces not only the light but the shadow. Tantrikas give permission for every experience, especially the shadowy aspects of self that are not usually accepted. Embracing the shadow is embracing our humanity. When we shine the light of acceptance on our darkness it always transforms.
Instead of judging or preaching, Tantra meets people wherever they are and offers tools for them to expand. The different types of Tantra appeal to different types of people who have different needs. White, Pink and Red. White Tantra orients around the subtle practices and philosophies. Physical touch and sexual practices are not necessary in order to advance on this path.
Tibetan Tantric Buddhist monks, for example, can engage in profound love making rites with deities through meditation and visualization. Vajrayana Tantra involves many powerful concentration exercises that bring universal awareness down from the crown chakra into the heart, without activating the lower chakras. Pink Tantra embraces both the spiritual and the sexual aspects of the practice. This is the path where the heart is opened and lovemaking is practiced with honor and reverence.
It is a merging of embodied souls, for both pleasure and enlightenment. This path can also encompass transcendental lovemaking, Taoist sexual healing arts and the sweet, sensual exercises in modern Tantra pujas.
This path is sometimes referred to as violet, the middle Tantra or the full path. Red Tantra consists of many passionate sexual practices. Traditionally the color red connotes femininity, potency, passion and sex. This path can be liberating for the sexually repressed and may also hold interest for the sexually obsessed. The fiery Kundalini practices of Red Tantra use taste and touch to experience the primal sexual impulse that can create intense purifications and awakenings.
Practitioners of Red Tantra see the sacred in the profane and instead of bringing the Kundalini energy up to the crown, they draw spiritual energy down into the root, sex and power chakras. There is also the lesser talked about branch of Tantra known as Black Tantra which will not be addressed in this book. This is an aboriginal Shamanic practice, like black magic, which transforms physical energy with or without the consent of all parties involved.
It is both feared and revered for its power. The Aghori are an example of an extremely secretive Hindu sect of Black Tantra practitioners. Aghori is a Sanskrit word that means non-terrifying. The practitioners have been known to cover themselves with ash from graveyards and use human bones in their rituals.
After years of advanced Tantric practice, many yogis begin to experience siddhis or supernatural powers. These powers can be used for personal gain or for service. Throughout India today, people seek Tantrikas for hire, like wizards or witch doctors.
Of course, powerful karmic consequences can result from using sexual energy to manipulate others. Many people who begin to play with these superpowers often get lost on their path. Instead of advancing towards enlightenment, Black Tantra may lead people further away from enlightenment. Out of fear or ignorance, many people confuse the two. Sex Magic is controversial not only in our puritanical Western society, but also in Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist and other Tantric belief systems.
Most maintain that sexual energy is to be preserved for spiritual advancement not material gain. Throughout this book, we assert a non-dualistic philosophy that does not judge material or sensual pleasures. We teach practices that cultivate sexual life force energy for healing, pleasure and god realization.
We offer this method with pure intent and maintain that the practices within this book are safe and heart-centered. If you feel yourself expand in love then you are sincere in your practice.
The modern resurgence of the message that sexual liberation can lead to spiritual liberation is often referred to as Neo-Tantra. Various gurus, travelers and teachers have been spreading the word by way of weekend workshops and evening pujas. Some teach techniques for better, longer, more satisfying sex, while others seek enlightenment, liberation and God-realization.
The more practical Tantric practices adopted by Western Tantra include balancing chakras, raising the Kundalini, Goddess worship and expanding orgasmic energy. Traditionalists criticize Neo-Tantra and warn that these New Age practices are incomplete without the use of gurus, mantras, yantras, tapas and other disciplines. We maintain that regardless of its many manifestations, Tantra can also be an embodied spiritual path that continues to evolve and spontaneously inspire practitioners at whatever level they are ready.
Shamanism is believed to have originated in Siberia. Archaeological evidence of Shamanism has been found from 40, years ago, and Shamanic practices have existed in every culture throughout history. Shamans have been known to: Heal human suffering, interpret dreams, reveal prophecy, reverse disease, control the weather, project their spirits out of their bodies, exorcise spirits from other bodies, channel animal guides and spiritual entities, shape shift, and time travel.
Trance is induced through singing, dancing, drumming, meditating, breath control, fasting or ingesting natural psychoactive drugs. Both Tantra and Shamanism use specific principles and practices for sexual healing and enlightenment. Some of the basic tools include breath, sound, movement, prayer, chanting, lovemaking and ritual. Tantra is also about cutting through the illusion, veils, dreams and maya so we can break free of the nightmare of the collective unconscious.
Do you remember the last time you felt totally connected? In other words, non-duality is the philosophical perspective that separation is an illusion. The pot is then used to carry water, and though it has a specific function, it is not separate from the clay. Even after the pot is broken, the clay remains. Advaita points out that the clay exists in the past, present and future.
Though it may change shape and function, the individual pot is always made of clay. Another Tantric approach to the non-dual nature of reality is the practice of self-inquiry. In order to transcend the ego and experience union with the absolute, the guru Ramana Maharish advocates that we ask ourselves, Who am I?
Through a devoted pursuit to know oneself, seekers discover that they are not separate from the one who is sought. Take a deep breath, now, and notice the words you are seeing on this page.
If you are looking at these words, where does the looking stop and the looker begin? Can you pinpoint where your eyes are reading? Where does your comprehension stop and YOU begin? Consider the possibility that the words being seen, the seeing and the seer are all one. In the sincere contemplation of self, the ego ultimately dissolves into oneness.
We challenge you to continue this contemplation throughout every action of the day. You may get enlightened, but you may also get a headache. Tantra is a non-dual spiritual practice that embraces and transcends the illusion of separation.
Instead of seeing the body as the opposite of spirit, the body is accepted as a spiritual vessel. Rumi illuminates this teaching in his poetry: Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks Sexual excitement carries within it the impulse for two to become one.
One does not have to practice Tantra to experience the urge to merge, but a true Tantrika understands that this primal impulse to copulate is also the desire to commune with God.
Wanting to connect with the beloved comes from wanting to acquaint our selves with the divine. It is a cosmic game of hide and seek, a divine play.