Tantra in the modern world

Written by schooltiger on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 7:12 AM

In traditional pockets of Tantric practice in India, such as in Assam near the venerated Hindu temple of Kali, Kammakha, in parts of West Bengal, in Siddhanta temples of South India, and in Kasmiri Shiva temples up north, Tantra has retained its true form. Its variance in practice is seen where many tantrics are known to frequent cremation grounds in attempts to transcend their worldly attachment to life, while others perform still more arcane acts. But what is common to them all is the intense secrecy in which their rituals are kept and the almost godlike reverence paid to the Guru, who is seen as the pinnacle of Tantra. It would be safe to say that every single Hindu Tantra Yogin in India is a Shiva and/or Shakti worshipper, and the more wide-spread practices to which all Hindus commit themselves, like pooja and worship through devotion, are maintained while more occult yogic practices involving sacred rites continue. Tibet too has a very strong Buddhist Tantric background which continues, albeit many have been transplanted to monasteries in India, and claims to be a right-hand path, in contrast to the more varied Hindu counterparts (that include both left and right-hand practices).

Modern Tantra may be divided into practices based on Hinduism and Buddhism. The form of Hindu Tantra popularly practiced In America is said by Hindu Tantra traditionalists to represent a mutilated and extremely narrow-minded, sensationalist approach encompassing only a misguided thinking about "sacred sexuality," with little reference to its true practice. Traditional Tantrists say their practice involves much more than mere wizardy or sexual titillation: like the rest of Yoga (Hindu), it requires self-analysis and the conquest of material ignorance, often through the body, but always through a pure outlook of the mind. 'Real Tantra' is about transforming one's sexual energy into spiritual progress, and has nothing to do with 'sex just for fun'. Those without a guru or lacking in discipline of the mind and body are unfit. It is telling that a Tantrica in West Bengal, a devotee of the Hindu goddess Kali, once said that "those most fit for Tantra almost never take it up, and those least fit pursue it with zeal."

39 Responses to "Tantra in the modern world"

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