In the ancient Indian scriptures the target and focus has primarily been upon achieving the completeness and enlightenment and thus it is filled with various paths taking humanity towards that ultimate goal of humans. Out of many there is one path that is basically ‘balancing’ and it initiates and invokes the fierce rapid forces of the nature. This path is not similar to other yogic (yogic – in the sense of merger/dissolution of individual consciousness to supreme consciousness) systems. This system is the tantric approach towards the pure consciousness.
The interwoven pathways – Vamachara and Dakshinachara
Unfortunately many notions have gotten attached to Tantra making it disreputable especially among non-tantrikas. The left hand path (Vamachara) of Tantra system has few practices which seemingly (at least seem so to the uninitiated or onlookers) break the line of difference between good and bad, charity and sin. Such practices got highlighted leading to formation of a new path boasting of unrestricted sexual enjoyment and debauchery. Although Tantra in the core was and is a very strong yogic system based on true conduct, pure beliefs and disciplined actions. The Left hand path and Right hand path (dakshinachara) both are results of deep serious meditative experiential practices with heartfelt utmost sincerity and reverence.
The true meaning of Right Hand path and Left Hand path of Tantric System is “Path of Knowledge” and “Path of Bliss” respectively. Using conscience and discrimination in understanding the possibilities of using the energies present in humans towards spiritual enlightenment is ground understanding of Right Hand side path and enjoying every possibility and transcending describes the Left Hand path. In both the paths, the core understanding was disrupted leading to fall of Tantra as whole. However core drivers and ultimate destination shall always remain the same.
Vedic System – The Path of Sacred knowledge
The Vedic and Tantric systems have a clear demarcation in their basic principles. All Vedic school of thoughts are based on Vedanta and their guiding force is knowledge. Vedas are considered to be revealed by Divine (God himself) and traditionally referred to as “Shruti” As Vedas were heard by mystics and sages in their deep meditative states to whom Brahm, Tattva and Dharma got revealed. The revelations are recorded in four Vedas: Rig, Yagur, Sama and Atharva. The Vedas are filled with deep notions about wisdom also including symbolism to say. The path is also based on knowledge. The knowledge here does not refer to intellect and intelligence instead it is the flowering of knowledge by love and faith and action based on right intent. Veda in the sense of knowledge is the Spiritual Experience. Rig Veda says that “Vedas are seer knowledge that will be revealed to real seer only” The great Vedantic saying “Tat Tvam Asi” brings out the essence of Vedas. Vedas shall continue to remain books of cryptic language without experience, as they are essentially experiences of great seers. They are like the true description of glimpses received through the windows of seers (ekatva) into self knowledge.
To understand Veda one needs to meditate deeply and contemplate on the one that is with form and without form, one that is all and is nothing, one that day and night, one that is sun and moon, one that is earth and sky and one that is everything yet nothing. It includes all forms of knowledge seeing the world as an idea of cosmic mind (Brahm). Can we say that the divine revelations (Akashavani) happened only during Vedas. It cannot be possible as the divine answers and there is a Akashavani whenever there is a true seer.
The Shabdabrahmamurti is Nigamadishastramaya: it is being said that Agama is the Paramatma of that Murti, the four Vedas with their Angas are its Jivatma; the six philosophies its Indriyas; the Puranas and Upapuranas its gross body; Smriti its hands and other limbs and all, “other Shastras are the hairs of its body. In the Heart-lotus are the fifty Tejomayi Matrika, in the pericarp are the Agamas glittering like millions of suns and moons which are Sarvadharmamaya, Brahmajñanamaya, Sarvasiddhimaya, and Murtiman. These were revealed to the Rishis.
Tantra – The path of Sacred Experiential Action
In fact all Shastras are said to constitute one great multi-million collection (Shatakoti Samhita). This divulges the truth that even Tantra Shastra are essentially revelations that stand in agreement with Vedas and not in contradiction. Actually, Tantra are regarded as fifth Veda according to Niruttra Tantra and Kaulachara as fifth Asharam. Tantra Shastra’s mention Vedas explicitly. Kularnava Tantra says that Kuladharma is based on and inspired by the Truth of Veda.
Tasmat vedatmakam shastram viddhi kaulatmakam priye.
It further states that there is no knowledge higher to Veda and no doctrine higher to Kaula. The philosophy of Veda and Tantra intersect at many points. In essence Tantra does not contradict the Vedas.
Tantra Shastra’s are compilation of dialogues between Shiva and Shakti. The most known Tantra school of thought is Shakt Tantra where rituals and practices are related to Yogeshwari. Yogeshwari is Prakrati, Prakratidevi, Shakti and Ruling Goddess of the world. Tantric Yogi’s have reached the highest stages of consciousness, completeness, oneness and bliss by knowing the mystery of this Shakti and practicing Her Tantra. The core principle of Tantra is worship and service of Shakti. She is the only one who can bestow all blessings on a Sadhak. The Devi Sukta of Rig Veda also proclaim about the divine beauty and power of Goddess.
Practices of Veda and Tantra
Vedas primarily refer to natural Gods like Fire, Sun, wind and water. The rituals of Vedas includes Ten Samskaras that are: Garbhaadhaana, Pumsavana, Simantonnayana, Jatakarma, Namakarana, Annaprasana, Choodakarma, Upanayana, Samavartana. The rituals also include Sandhoyopasana and Homa. While the Tantric rituals include Mantra, Yantra, Nyasa, Japa, Puja, Stotra, Dhyana, Pratima, Linga, Shalagrama. These are the more common and accepted rituals of present day Hinduism. Ain’t most people following tantric system in disguise? We may say so however a deeper understanding of the core principles can further blur the boundaries of two systems.
Tattva Shakti Vigyaan, as ordained by lodge of Masters is a strong and firm step taken towards reestablishing the true and authentic form of Tantra. Truly speaking every individual soul on the path today is blessed as they have been chosen during early unfolding of this divine plan.
– Ma Shakti Devpriya