What is Tantra?
Tantra is a Sanskrit word that denotes ‘weave’, ‘to transform through methods’. It is a way of life, art to achieve higher consciousness. Tantra enables a deeper level of consciousness relating to one’s own self and to another. It includes asana, mantra mudra, rituals, bandha, nada yoga, kundalini yoga, astrology, mandala, yantra, chakra work and many other techniques that help in achieving spiritual prosperity.
Tantra is a journey from duality to non-duality, where we start to work with individuality, we then reach duality and ultimately we embrace non-duality.
Origin of Tantra
Etymologically, Tantra originates from the Sanskrit word ‘tanoti’ which means ‘to stretch’ or ‘expand’. Tantra is a practice that helps in expanding the experience of a person beyond the material world to attain a state of liberation and self-realization.
Schools of Tantra:
There are 5 major Schools of Tantra, each having its own scriptures, traditions as well as practices. These forms are-
Tantrik Hinduism & Shaivism:
Vigyan Bhairava Tantra is a key ancient Tantra scripture of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism. It is essentially a dialogue between Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. Tantra Master Abhinav Gupta has adopted it into a book in Sanskrit language and the book discusses the 112 meditation techniques which are useful for finding and realizing our true self.
There are 3 yanas (meaning ‘vehicles’) in Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana & Vajrayana. Tantra is the distinguishing feature of Vajrayana. Tantra techniques in Vajrayana are the specific techniques that are used to attain Buddhahood. Buddhist Tantra teachings are usually esoteric. Karmamudra is a Vajrayana practice of partnered sexual yoga which uses powerful meditation techniques to transform human attributes such as desires and pleasures into means for spiritual transformation and liberation.
Taoist sexual practices in traditional Chinese literally mean “the bedroom arts”. In Taoism, these practices are also known as “Joining Energy” or “The Joining of the Essences” because joining of sexual energies by two partners is supposed to bring them the highest pleasure and spiritual enlightenment.
Tantra as we know is the achievement of liberation of consciousness from limitations, barriers and worldly notions. Shaman means to know. Shamanism has been in practice from 40,000 years ago in Nepal and India. A Shaman is like medicine for a man and woman that help them travel to hidden worlds known only as myths or in dreams. They have been known to heal human suffering, interpret dreams, reverse disease, project their spirits out of their bodies, exorcism, shape shift and time travel.
Osho’s Neo Tantra:
Osho, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was an enlightened mystic and an intellectual guru. He gave his first series of lectures on Tantra in 1965 in Bombay with the renowned series named “Sambhog Se Samadhi Ki Aur”. These series of lectures were later compiled into a book with the same name and the book was translated into English and titled “From Sex to Super Consciousness.”
However, the influence of Tantra exceeds even beyond these schools. The main essence of Tantra is to awaken the Shakti and reaching the highest level of consciousness. Tantra is nothing but a journey. This journey begins when we take the first step, that is Individuality and falling in love with ourselves. Once we complete the first step, we are ready to move on our second step which is to experience the Shiva and Shakti Play (The Maya). It is about activating the inner Shiva and Shakti to unify the inner man and woman. When this is done, the third step is to go above and settle in our Non-Duality. This implies that we go back to the womb of eternal presence where all the bliss is. The Tantra journey comes to an end when we go back to where we naturally come from.
How Tantra works
Tantra believes that the outer world is a reflection of our own inner world. Our mind, body and emotions play a vital role in how the external world appears to us. Hence, whenever we see problems in the outer world, practicing Tantra techniques can make a big difference in bringing positive changes to our life.
In the midst of all our daily responsibilities and the resulting stress, it is important to practice some form of techniques for mental peace and relaxation. The self-realization techniques under Tantra are versatile where we get the option to choose what suits us the best. With the Tantra techniques, it is possible to reach the highest level of consciousness for better health, mind and emotional resilience. Tantra helps us be the best of ourselves. Tantra techniques are very effective in bringing self-transformation with physical, psychological as well as spiritual fulfilment.
Tantra techniques are very effective and easy to follow. They can be performed at any time and in any way without sticking to any rigid rules or procedures. Though following the Tantra techniques at the same time and in a constant way is preferable, slight changes or adjustments will not make much difference. There are some practices which you can by yourself and some which are done with your partner.
Tantric path helps us awaken self-consciousness, which in turn results in more efficiency and focused way of handling the regular daily activities. Tantra is not only about following the guided self-realization techniques blindly. Its ultimate aim is to reach the highest level of consciousness and to free the mind from all the worries.
The practice of tantric journey enlightens our body and mind by suppressing all the negativity and anxiety. Hence, Tantra, as a path of attaining self-consciousness is gaining much popularity these days.
Preparation for starting the Path of Tantra:
Good Food: Food occupies an important area in Tantric studies as it affects your mood or efficiency in various activities. Tantra also recommends foods that can improve your performance and experience in lovemaking sessions. Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina, Banana, Watermelon, Noni juice are excellent super foods for tantric journey. A healthy well balanced diet can ease your journey and better your experience. Yoga and Pranayama Exercises that can control ejaculation have been studied in detail in Tantra. These exercises also help you to correct your breathing rhythm and elongate your life longevity.