From the beginning of time; human mind was intrigued by the creation and its creator. Much of their attempts for apprehending the creator were futile. They had a minimum understanding of the natural forces so they imposed godhood (mainly in Tantra) onto those invisible forces and eventually gave them a shape on the basis of their qualities. If the forces are destructive; they made an idol which had a fierce look with terrifying weapons. The softer ones which proved to be beneficial for them like rain which helped in harvesting or earth which provided food for them had a present appearance.
Human always wanted a tangible and visible presence of the imperceptible God who believed to live above the clouds. They sought for personal gods to whom they can show their obedience to appease the violent forces.
Idol worship is not only predominant in India. It has its roots in most of the religions excluding few which are comparatively newer.
The Vedas has an exceptional understanding of natural forces so they never created any idols. They focused their intellect towards the sun for its live effect can be seen and felt by anybody. They revered the “Agni” or the sacred fire as the representative of sun and offered sacrificial objects for appeasing the creator who is beyond the blazing sun. The Veda’s also praised the natural forces like thunder and lightning (Thunder god is supposedly Indra and his weapon as lightning, Vayu (wind), Varuna (water and rain) etc.
Vedanta ultimate declared the true nature of the creator and its relation to us. We are the one and only existing as a whole.
But the highly intellectual philosophy of Vedanta was merely comprehended by the mass so a simple and all embracing method was in need.
Shiva or the Adi Yogi (I shall discuss in my upcoming articles) fashioned a method which has its various levels fitted for all according to their mental maturity.
This method translated the Vedanta into a practical form of spiritual practice which transcends the practitioner from the small circle of idol worship to the ultimate level of “I awareness”.
This method of spiritual practice is known as Tantra because it starts from our physical body “Tan” and elevates it to the highest level by breaking the bondage of physicality.
Today I shall mention three secrets about tantra which most of us may not know.
1. Tantra is not a sexual engrossment
There is a common idea that as tantra is a practice based on our body so the first level pleasure must come from it. Few corrupted people; who proclaimed as tantra guru, injected this perversion into the society which grabbed the mass and entered into the common belief system. Now when we search “tantra” on the internet, we end up with a peculiar and weird form of sexual drama with animalistic distortion.
The goal of Tantra is to elevate the kundalini shakti (Maya) sleeping in Muladhara chakra and unite with the Shiva (Brahman) residing on the Sahasrara chakra (I shall discuss chakras in a separate blog). This is actually the dissolution of Maya in Brahman so that the sadhaka realize his absolute identity.
It is true that tantra starts with our own body and there is a level where sexual union with the counterpart is needed but that is only achieved with utmost control over body and mind. Practicing tantra is not a drama; it is an act of elevating physical cravings by the feeling of dispassion in the moment of intercourse.
It is a situation which is beyond the control of common people. This control comes with years of practice and absolute dispassion. The tantric yogis put themselves into these tests. This test is the final one for a seeker on the path of tantra. Passing this test shall transform him into “Avadhoota”; one who has mounted from the physical plane to consciousness. So, next time when you hear about tantra, do not get swayed by the imprecise beliefs. Have some reverence for those few who have gone to the pinnacle following this path.
2. Tantra is not black magic
In my first point, I have already given the true nature of tantra. The practice of tantra provides enigmatic powers to the “Sadhaka” (the practitioner) to rule over earthly forces. Elevated Sadhaka’s has prescribed few methods by which mankind can benefit themselves but few with impure mind corrupted these procedures and used it against people. We cannot blame tantra for this. Science gave us the nuclear power. The use of it depends on us not on the science that produces it.
Tantra is a wonderful form of spiritual practice which is easy and embraces all by providing appropriate methods to know our true identity.
3. Tantra is not inferior to Vedanta
If Vedanta is theory then tantra is the practical part of it. Tantra encrypted the Vedantic shlokas or mantras into rooted syllables so that it becomes easier for people to remember.
Tantra invented proven and practical methods which with the unity of complex geometrical shapes (Yantra), rooted syllables and meditation heaved the sadhaka from duality to singularity.
It is literally impossible for all to grasp the hardcore philosophy of Vedanta. Adi yogi formulated this tool to bring spirituality within the reach of common mass. It is a priceless gift to us.
So many scriptures on tantra was written.
Sat Chakra nirupana, Gheranda samhita, Tantraloka by Avinava gupta, Agama, Nigama, Maha Nirvana tantra are few among them. It is sacred to all and secret to those who have no understanding about their existence. Tantra got distorted falling into the hands of these people.
If properly understood, tantra brings the light of realization and freedom from all bondage. It can drown those who misuse it by misinterpreting the verses.
I shall write about tantra in my future articles describing the practical part of it which can bring forth the understanding of our true nature.