TANTRA and TANTRISM OF THE INDIAN TRADITION
"The Divine nature of the human being and the adoration of the body as a sacred temple"
Article edited and written by Maya Swati Devi, Italian tantric teacher
Tantrism is the set of spiritual teachings, ritual methods, meditative practices and yogic techniques with which introspective mental skills are refined, reaching full control over the body, word and mind and obtaining the purification of internal energies and physical and mental building blocks: through this subtle change the practitioner transmutes and evolves realizing his essential and innate nature which is indestructible and pure like diamond.
Tantra is the "way" that recognizes the majesty of life in all expressions of being.
It is the sublime Art which celebrates life and which is based on the laws of human nature, the primordial and divine one.
Tantra is not a religion but a culture and a spiritual science devoid of dogmas imposed with a holistic approach to the study of the universe from the individual's point of view.
A science that includes methods to enter the subconscious and dive into the depth of the unconscious to cleanse the personality, the deep complexes and the fears that prevent us from living.
It is a process of inner evolution, which is accessed only by initiation and where emotional, aesthetic and sexual impulses are a precious source of spiritual energy; the deeper levels of consciousness, unreachable through conceptual thinking, are obtainable directly through the use of appropriate symbols; the actual practice that engages body, word and mind is the only way to highlight the values that are already implicit in the individual.
Tantra, unlike Western beliefs, does not teach the art of sex or how to improve one's sexual performance but can give a high value and meaning to the concept of sexuality by entering, with the practice of rituals, into a sacred dimension, where for Sacred is meant. " Love and respect for the multifaceted transfiguration of gestures, sounds, shapes, life ". Tantra teaches you to free yourself from inhibitions and accept life in all its fullness by awakening all human and cosmic energies.
Sexuality is the most natural and most powerful human instinct, and Tantrism considers it an inalienable part of the human being: an impulse or force that is not only physiological or biological, but which permeates the whole emotional and intellectual life of the individual and facilitates mutual interaction. Sexual intercourse shakes the human being understood as an individual and eliminates his selfishness. In partners the idea of the other as an isolated entity disappears, and gives rise to a balance in which there is no subject who manipulates nor an object to be used but there are units (transcendence of dualism) and perfect reciprocity of values. Sex is not removed, but is used to transform it into higher psychic activity in order to obtain transcendent awareness (prajñõ).
The real tantric practitioner (Sadhaka) transmits sexual energy into Love. The path of tantric sacred sexuality is a path of love and acceptance towards oneself and the other. Sacred sex harmonizes the polarity of energy (Shiva and Shakti) and through it one goes beyond the limitations of one's self by experiencing the sense of unity with creation. By infusing spirituality into the love relationship, and entering into a higher consciousness, the body and passion are brought to a new dimension of awareness. Sex is transformed into Love as it is the direct way to transcend this world with its limited dimension. . Love is transformed into light, into meditative experience, into the supreme and extreme great mystical gesture
The couple who practices tantric sexual union, as if it were a true ritual, uses the physical energies of the man by combining them with those of the woman to achieve a state of complete harmony with the Absolute. In Tantra physical enjoyment must not be short and forced, but continuous, spontaneous and achieved without pressure.
Sexuality, and therefore the body, is a fundamental element through which one learns to love oneself, to awaken one's vital energies and then pour them into union with the other.
In the sacred union the female being is transfigured into a living symbol and an earthly manifestation of the Divine Mother of the Universe (Para Shakti), while the man embodies the Male Principle (Shiva). The woman, who is able to giving life through the sacred act of birth is Brahma, one of the three deities of the Hindu Holy Trinity who must be honored and respected for this. She attracts, absorbs and contains the latent energies of the Cosmos; when combined with male electricity, female energy becomes dynamic and positive leading to an alchemical reaction during which the two partners harmonize on multiple levels developing extra-sensory abilities. Woman in Tantrism is energy of transformation, change, evolution and man is pure consciousness.
Tantra is a spiritual way of liberation and reintegration with the absolute which follows any path, form, practice or expression of this "Whole" of which man is only a spark, a small representation of the Universe and the divine.
THE TANTRIC PATHS
"Do not throw this nectar indifferently. It is from this substance that the yogi has his origin. His nature is the highest ecstasy. It is indestructible and splendid and is as penetrating as Heaven" Hevaraja Tantra
The three schools of Tantra:
Samayachra techniques, practices are mostly "internal", based on concentration and visualization techniques, movements of internal awareness, etc.
Many of the practices of Tantra yoga fall within Samayachara. Samayachara is widespread among many of the Dashnami Sannyasi (those established by Shankaracharya), although some also use typical Kaula rituals.
According to many of the spokesmen for Samayachara, their practice is the most "elevated", the most "sublime", the most sattvic.
In Kaulachara the techniques are mostly "external" using yantra, complicated rituals, etc. even if willing or unwilling the process, albeit "external", is nevertheless internalized by the practitioner who knows the correlations.
Mishra occupies an intermediate position between the two. Mishra is not widespread, there are few or almost no traditions
There are two fundamental ways in which the teachings of traditional Tantrism are divided: DAKSHINA MARG or VAMA MARG .
In the Right Way Tantra (Dakshina), there is an intense and permanent desire for union with a Divine being. An example can be given by what we call astral sex or the erotic experiences that appear in a dream or the adoration of the Great Cosmic Forces that is practiced in some tantric schools. It is the practice of abstinence but also of the permanent transmutation and sublimation of one's erotic potential into higher, refined energies.
The Tantra of the left way (Vama) controls erotic potential through continence and therefore practices sexual union with the perfect control of one's energies which are sublimated by the levels - Chakra (from Sanskrit, rotates) - lower than the higher ones of being human.
Tradition categorically defines the Tantra of the right hand superior to the Tantra of the left hand but many Tantric masters affirm that the West would be practically unable to follow this path which, at least at the beginning, proves too abstract and elevated.
In the "Left Hand" Tantra or Vama Marga, the woman represents the lunar influence, the negative or left polarity, and plays an essential role. In the "Left Hand Way", there is no form of austerity since it defines itself as the way of acceptance, pleasure and bliss.
the tantric path known as Vamachara, or Vama Marg, the form of Tantra which has become "known" in the West in its own way for the simple reason that it involves the use of sexual union as a means of achieving the awakening of the Kundalini energy (maithuna) .
Numerous misunderstandings arose around Vamachara and this initiatory journey has often been misunderstood, distorted and in some cases even infamous. The first misunderstanding has its root in the translation of the term itself (when languages are changed, concepts are often altered). In the western languages "Vama Marg" has been translated as "Way of the left hand", which is literally correct but conceptually misleading as for us Westerners the concept of "left hand" or "left way" has always been associated with something inauspicious, negative, something to be avoided, something "sinister". In Sanskrit vama means "that it is on the left side" and on a yogic level the reference goes to ida, the nadi which according to occult physiology is located to the left of the sushumna and has a "lunar", "female", "aqueous" character (kapha) , and ritually in the tantric sphere it is the woman who sits "to the left" of the man, therefore it is the woman who is "vama" and in this context assumes an important role. For the man initiated at Vama Marg the woman represents the Shakti, the sadhaka sees in each woman the embodiment of the Devi, whose fruitful energies can make experimentation with the Absolute possible.
For this reason, according to Tradition, the practice of Dakshina marg (the way of the bhaktas, known as "Right hand tantra") must be followed for a few years for preliminary purposes, before reaching al Vama Marg, in order to prepare the sadhaka to acquire bhakti (devotion-love) towards the woman, and therefore towards the Shakti.
MODERN TANTRA: A misunderstood path
However of all forms of Hindu Shastra, Tantra is the least known and understood, a circumstance due in part due to the difficulties of its content and to the fact that the key to most of its terminologies and methods remains in the possession of the initiates.
Considering the idea that some Westerners have of Tantra, as linked exclusively to sexuality, it may seem strange that the aim of Tantrism is the expansion of consciousness and the increase of wisdom.
How can meeting my partner, my wife, my lover, my lover generate expansion of consciousness and wisdom?
Often the encounter between male and female is a source of abuse, of power struggles, disappointments, feeling superior or inferior to the other, recurrent quarrels, misunderstandings, loneliness.
We approach Tantra, as with sexuality, in a too superficial and worldly way.
Often we approach the opposite sex either for a simple genital impulse (more men) or for a neurotic emotional need (more women).
Sexuality is still experienced by many men as a fleeting shiver. There is such a desperate need for sex, to underestimate and manipulate the opposite sex to obtain it or, on the contrary, many do not have the courage to propose themselves to the female with boldness, respect and love.
Instead, how many women are satisfied with men who do not love them, holding on to the male on duty, because they fear to be alone.
In a path of personal growth there are many different experiences and perceptions of inner truth.
Some techniques used by the Neo Tantra are primitive and with a very low or tamasic energy, and are used to get rid of stress or taboos and certainly not to be realized.
They have nothing to do with traditional Tantra where the main initiations are Mantra, Yantra and rituals. We need to take into account the context in which these practices were spread. A bigoted context, as America was (and still is) in the late 1960s and Italy imbued with Catholicism and sexual taboos.
This approach not only confused the masses but also gave birth to that New Age Tantra that spread also in Italy in the 80s. The rise of Tantra or Pseudo Tantra Centers in Italy (including massage centers) that spread seasoned new age practices with mediocrity and grotesque practices of brisk and unconscious sex they believe that this is "tantra". Tantra is NOT done but IS.
To practice Tantrism, the primary condition is the conscious presence of one's self. The physical practices of tantra yoga - asana, pranayama, bandha - and the alchemical ones - mantras, meditations, nyasa - can be applied by everyone. By obtaining many positive effects, such as rediscovering and cultivating sensoriality, learning to expand the senses; to develop presence and conscious intimate listening in every moment of life; do not run away from your shadows, but go through them, transform them without fear like the vira (hero) and start riding the tiger; understand that sexual energy is the most powerful energy of creation and resides in the body ".
Nothing is more magnificently creative and meditative than a sacred act of love. At that moment we understand that we are not alone and we are one with the macrocosm.
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