History of tantra

Written by schooltiger on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 7:03 AM

It is difficult to trace the history of tantra which is mostly obscure as in case of the history of religions. Many tantras offer mythical explanations for their origins, often setting themselves as the given word of either Siva or a goddess such as Devi. Scholarly depictions of their origins are often as varied, ascribing tantras to pre-Aryan, Indus Valley civilizations or similar aboriginal, tribal groups or as integral part of an Indian cultural fabric. In reality, no definitive accounting of the origins of tantra can be made owing to the significant polyvariance of the term tantra in Sanskrit. Tantra, which in its earliest written form was a distinctly iconoclastic, private, and esoteric practice, evolved into a number of respected, exoteric orders (sampradaya). It is convenient, although somewhat false, to group the orders into two categories: left-handed and right-handed. Left-handed tantras (vaama marg) incorporate five sacraments (pancamakarapuja) of fish, meat, parched grain, wine and sexual intercourse into ritual practice. Right-handed tantras, on the other hand, advocate the visualization of these antinomian practices. Both groups rejected many aspects of Brahamanic orthopraxy, most notably the caste system and patriarchy. Despite this, Tantra was accepted by some high-caste Hindus, most notably the Rajput princes. Nowadays Tantra has a large, though not always well-informed, following worldwide.

Hindu tantra

Tantra exists in Vaisnava, Shaiva, and Shakta forms, among others. Extolled as a short-cut to self-realization and spiritual enlightenment by some, left-hand tantric rites are often rejected as dangerous by most orthodox Hindus. The popular perception of tantra among Hindus espoused in Indian journalism, equates it with black magic. Some tantric aspirants simply feel the union is accomplished internally and with spiritual entities of various kinds. For this reason, almost all tantric writing has a gross, higher and subtle meaning. This tripartite system of understanding readily obscures the true purport of many passages for those without the necessary background or deeper understandings so crucial to tantra. Thus, a 'union' could mean the actual act of sexual intercourse, ritual uniting of concepts through chanting and sacrifice, or realisation of one's true self in the cosmic joining of the divine principles of Shiva and Shakti in Para Shiva.

1 Responses to "History of tantra"

Comment by 4 Freedoms Energy Sex in Conscious Relationship
January 18, 2008 at 10:51 AM #

Great post. I like your blog, full of great information about tantra. I posted this article on my blog.


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