Part of my mission in teaching Tantra is to clear up misconceptions about it. When I moved to Europe in 1999, having spent 26 years in India, I was amazed to find out that most people seemed to believe that Tantra was all about sex and promiscuity with a few feathers and some incense thrown in for good measure. The general public still carry such concepts, and some even think that Tantra is a code word for a massage with a ‘happy ending.’ I offer here a little reality check.
Tantra is a Sanskrit word, which has several meanings:
- To weave
- Transformation of Poison into Nectar
- Methods for transformation
The meaning connected to weaving is profound. As you weave, two opposite threads are being brought together to create one cloth. It is a universal law of life, that when you consciously bring any two opposites together, Godliness is experienced. Tantra methods play with bringing together all opposite polarities in a conscious creation dance.
The alchemy of transformation means; a base substance is transmuted through the fire of our awareness into its divine aspect. The transformation of poison into nectar has to do with using Tantra methods to transmute those areas of human life which are normally considered to be pitfalls, such as animalistic sexuality, emotions, ego-mind, power trips, etc.
In the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, a 5000 year old scripture, Lord Shiva answers questions on life, love and spirituality from his consort Paravati. Each of his 112 answers opens a portal into spiritual awakening through a method of meditation. These methods cover each and every aspect of human life. Most major religious traditions of our world have their roots in one or more of these methods.
Tantra can be traced back before recorded history, probably originating in India. There were two religions; one worshipped the feminine as the deity, and the other worshipped the masculine as the deity. Eventually, these two religions melted into each other, coming to the wise conclusion that God is both male and female, Shiva and Shakti.
For thousands of years, India has been on the cutting edge of research into the expansion of human consciousness. Mystics, scholars and masters have poured their genius into defining the mysterious world of enlightenment. Tantric research into human existence has reached to a pinnacle of comprehension, which is both simple and elegant.
Each cell of our body contains the whole universe. The microcosm contains the macrocosm. Sex and Samadhi are one. Male and female are complimentary aspects of one whole, as is day and night, in-breath out-breath, birth and death, and all other contradictory elements that make up our duel world.
The feminine path of love and devotion merged with the masculine path of awareness and witnessing, is the Tantra life approach. It is a homecoming, helping us to relax into what is, with wise acceptance and compassionate love. It has deep roots into the past, and simultaneously offers a pioneering vision for our future.
NEXT WEEK: (Article 7)
UNDERSTANDING TANTRA LINEAGES