Tantra is a word that is often surrounded with myths, misconceptions and blames. As the western education and binary understanding crept in society’s mentality, even Bharatiya society has started to view Tantra with utter doubt and fear. While, west wrongly associated Tantra with exotic and erotic practices that are believed to be a part of Hinduism.
Since, Tantra is a complex science it is important to know the basics of Tantra first of all and then move on to complexities.
What Is Tantra?
Tantra is a complex and diverse system of beliefs and practices that originated in ancient India and encompasses various aspects of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Tantra has various meanings emerging basically from loom, wrap. It signifies tantu, which is micro element in the universe. Tantra encapsulates various other meanings like control, master, text, practices, etc. As much as Tantra is mystical and metaphysical, it is equally scientific and meta-scientific. It is the micro management of the energies in the cosmos and regulating them to ones benefit. However, every science or practice has its reverse- consequences. And people definitely use it in adverse ways which are harmful.
But Tantra is the supreme and greatly secretive science which demands complete surrender before the devata to gain knowledge. It is so mysterious that only a person capable to handle the energies in a good way is conferred this knowledge.
Schools Of Tantra
Tantra is the surrender before devata with ultimate surrender of ones senses and desires. While, there are many levels of Tantra sadhana, there are various classifications of Tantra.
It is well known that Tantra emerges from the knowledge of Bhagwan Shiva. Mahadeva resides as the ultimate guru and purohita of Tantra. However, various forms of Shiva are worshipped in the stream called Shaiva Tantra.
Since, Tantra is the reverence to the energy, i.e. Shakti. Various forms of Devi are worshipped through Tantra in the stream called Shakt Tantra. In this, ten Mahavidyas are the ultimate source of all kinds of siddhis and knowledge bestowed upon the sadhaka.
Also known as Vaishnav Tantra, Pancharatra Tantra has five gods as the central devatas in Tantra. Through this sadhana Maha Vishnu is invoked along with his shakthi Devi Lakshmi, in a course of five nights.
Is Tantra Vedic?
If we understand Vedas, as some kind of book then we can say that Veda and Tantra are different. But, Veda is the primordial knowledge which got into written form and classified almost 5000 years ago.
However, Tantra is one of the most ancient practice which finds mention in Agamic texts of Hindus. Therefore, in tradition we consider Veda and Agamas as different forms. Agams are the practical of the Brahma –Vidya inscribed in Vedas, if we approach it in a simplistic way. And therefore, they both go hand in hand.
Even Buddhist and Jain Tantra Exist?
There is a prevalent misconception among people that Buddhism is out rightly a different approach than Hinduism. They consider it’s as different from murti-pooja and an abolition of ritualistic practices.
But in reality, Buddhism has different streams and one of the most famous of them which was propagated in Tibet, China and Japan was Vajrayan and Tantrayan. Vajrayan and Tantrayan consider Buddh as equivalent of Maha Shiva and his counterpart Shakti as Tara. Devi Tara is also among one of the Ten Mahavidyas. And in due course of time, whole Tibet and many major centres of India were fully practicing Buddhist Tantra till recently.
Goal Of Tantra
Tantra is about achieving unity with the divine, and it recognizes the human body as a temple of the divine. The various practices in Tantra are meant to purify the body and mind, and to prepare the individual for the ultimate goal of self-realization.
One of the primary goals of Tantra is to achieve a state of “samadhi” or union with the divine. This state of consciousness is achieved through various techniques, including the use of mantras, visualization, and breathing exercises. Tantra also emphasizes the importance of devotion to a guru or teacher who can guide the individual on the path towards self-realization.
Tantra is a complex and diverse system of beliefs and practices that originated in ancient Bharat and has since spread throughout the world. It emphasizes the importance of ritual, meditation, and devotion as means of achieving spiritual transformation. While Tantra has been the subject of controversy and criticism, it remains an important part of Hinduism and continues to be practiced by millions of people around the world. These misconceptions and controversy are mainly due to the depth of knowledge required to understand Tantra. Along with that, the utter complexities and limited number of gurus who can make people understand.