The most popular answer to the question ‘What do you think is Tantra?’– will usually result in shy smiles and muffled answers about it being something to do with “Sex”. People usually associate this word with something erotic, something that is forbidden, veiled as religious or spiritual but is about the taboo “sex”. Often when we don’t understand something we quickly put a label to it since it is mysterious, it is negative and a taboo.
Tantra is a Path or a sadhana for self realization or enlightenment.
Tantra is a spiritual Indian tradition. Tantra literally means “to weave” in Sanskrit. It is a way of using one’s mind, body, energies & senses to expand his consciousness, transcending any perceived or actual limitations of the mind and body. It is basically weaving of many spiritual practices like Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Mantra, Bandha (energy lock), Chakra (Energy Centre), Meditation & dance to help one reach his highest potential. It is awakening of all the energies in your body, purifying your energy channels to be fully aware of all aspects of your life, to embrace those aspects and live consciously. Tantra is the path of Supreme Awareness. However, the real meaning of Tantra got warped along the way over the years. It sort of became a Hedonism and got reduced to a mere discipline of sacred sex. Tantra celebrates sexual energy. Sex is the most natural & sacred thing and Tantra encourages to use this energy to reach super-consciousness. That being said, Tantra is not just about Sex. Sex is just a facet. Just like Yoga is not only asanas, it is so much more than that!
Like Yoga, Tantra suddenly started catching fascination in the West. Some self-taught individuals or people who only partly learned about Tantra made it all about sex. Even some Indian practitioners & gurus distorted & took their ideas to Western scholars, repackaged Tantra as something that would invoke eastern mystery and could be sold to curious western disciples.
People were already aware about the sexual carvings in the temples of India, the Kama Sutra and somehow Tantra started getting linked to eroticism. Thus, was born Neo-tantra, which is far from the ancient philosophy of Tantra.
It is a blend of techniques of massage, yoga, Ayurveda, techniques from Indian erotic manuals like the Kama Sutra which aims to help people achieve better orgasms and enhance the sexual intercourse experience.
The advent of Neo-tantra in the West can be attributed to Pierre Bernard who in 1905 established the “The Great Oom” which is the Tantrik order of America. He widely propagated the idea that Sex could be used as a mechanism to achieve spiritually elevated states.Somehow, you will notice this is the truth. If you practice under guidance, with the pure intention of meeting your inner godliness and if you practice the rituals along with the ancient meditations, you too will agree. But we need to be aware that tantra is not only about sex or great orgasm. It is about freeing yourself from this desire of sex or to be with someone.This gradually became a widely believed notion because of the teachings of Anand.
Even a Victorian era occultist called Aliester Crowley saw Sex as a magical power and because off him too, the association of sex with Tantra became cemented in the Western imagination. That’s why, in western culture and some part of India, even today tantra is popular and sometimesmistakenedwith black magic.
Neo-tantra became a means of holistic healing of sexually repressed people or people who simply wanted a better love-making experience. Like Yoga, it felt exotic to the Westerners and Neotantra became a part of the flourishing Wellness Industry.
It’s just not in the West, but in India too, Tantra is associated with sleazy massage parlors, classifieds and wall posters full of tantriks offering miracle cures, sordid sex scandals that have tainted the true essence of Tantra. Tantra is just reduced to sacred sexuality.
In one line – Tantra is ancient science of mediation which can help you to reach your source.
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