Tantra, is set of mystical practices employing rituals, mythologies, and sacred sexuality to achieve divine awareness. It is a system of mysticism found in both Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions and perhaps predates them as well. This paper will discuss the transition from very intense ancient Vedic blood-sex rituals to meditation substitution or tantrika initiation rituals involving sexuality that is sacred rather than hedonistic or centred in a normal understanding of sexual pleasure.Feuerstein (1991) in a descriptive recreation of a secret tantric ritual ceremony circa 1200 A.D. describes a group of initiates who meet every two weeks at the home of a guru. His home is transmuted into the temple for tantric spiritual ecstasy. The ceremony (puja) is described as a three day process which includes cleansing fasts for twenty four hours, yoga chanting of mantras, symbolic offerings to deities, meditations in graveyards, and other ceremonies, ending, finally in the burning of rosewood and other sacred substances in bowls. This is followed by each set of partners “anointing… with a reddish paste while muttering holy mantras….smeared paste on her forehead, throat, breasts, abdomen, hands, feet and last, the pubic mound.” (Feuerstein: 132) This sets the ritual context for the divine congress.
[...] The man, likewise, is no longer a man, but incarnates Shiva.” (Garrison: 103) The act of love making only becomes divine and correct if these transformations occur; if they do not “Shastra warns that the union is a secular act, therefore carnal and sinful.” (Garrison: 103) As Garrison notes Tantra in part came to the West in modern late 20th century through a Bengal guru, who was also a lawyer in Calcutta. (Garrison: 103) As Garrison's text makes clear Tantra, as generally practiced in the West is a version of parts of a very complicated spiritual tradition, with certain elements, especially most arcane and ancient, such as soma drinking, left out. [...]
[...] (Rawson, 1973) In a series of informative plates in Rawson's monograph, we can see the symbols which transform over time: the egg, the lotus, the demon-sexualized goddess, and images of human intercourse transformed into a ritual ceremony, denoting sacred union. These are particularly evident in 18th and 19th century sexual-spiritual illustrations where what can be called the ‘tantric eye' an intense gaze of the male and female where power and energy are equally in the eyes looking at each other as well as in the yoni/lingam union of sexual organs, creating a circular flow. [...]
[...] Rawson continues on to describe an underlying purpose to these ‘rituals', the combination of all the body's energies, emotions and powers of mind to a single end, which is enlightenment, which the author describes as “that state of knowing the truth about the origin of things and men, and their meaning, as clearly as experiencing the street.” (Rawson: In Rawson's estimation what one experiences when communing with the divine through sacred sexuality is a different understanding of time. see the nature of time is to understand the process of Genesis, that ladder of descending stages from the Origin through the evolution of the cosmos. [...]
[...] The Sati Asara, who resemble ghosts (bhutas) or ghouls (pishachas) more closely than they do deities, can either be itinerant or localized at certain wells, ravines, rocky shorelines, deep river pools and so (White: 32) Yet, in more ancient texts, he adds, just as waterways flow into one another, from small streams to rivers to the sea, underground passage connects .water source with the Ganges every local or minor goddess is recognized to be a manifestation of the great Goddess.” (White: 32) White traces the origins of tantra to South Asia, and to Yoginis cults which were composed . [...]
[...] The most removed does not even use physical substitutes, but only a meditation of “internalization.” (Bharati: 229) People who practice Tantra are initiates; it can take years and years for its impact on one's life to be fully felt and integrated. (Rawson: However, Rawson's Westernized vision of tantra seems to misunderstand the sacred nature of the sexual union, seeing in it a way for experiencing earthly pleasures as well as some kind of cosmic awareness. “Tantra positively cultivates and bases itself on what most people dismiss as the pleasures of life. [...]
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