What is Tantra?
This was a popular subject when I posted it a few days ago so I decided to give you more information on it and a new site to look at. I hope you enjoy!!
Interview with Tantric mystic, Virato
What is Tantra?
The spiritual art of love…of connecting spirit with form. It is experiencing love through through the beauty of the earth and all existence. It is about acceptance, rather than deniel. It also embraces compassion…about truth within unconditional love…
What are its elements? Is Tantra a yoga?
Some call it Tantra Yoga. If we see yoga as union, then I agree. Others say Tantra is not a part of Yoga, which most people see as Hatha Yoga anyway, but rather an entire lifestyle. Many in the yoga community consider Tantra “something they would rather not deal with,” so to speak. So, in that sense it is not about yoga as practiced in America, unless that yoga teacher also embraces the openess an sensual nature of Tantra.
Is Tantra a religion, or a movement within religion(s), or is it entirely separate from religion?
Tantra is not a religion. It is a spiritual path. When religion enters, then barriers are drawn. However, some call Tantra a religion, although there is no organized body of thought or practitioners as such. Tantra cannot be encapsulated into a religion or dogma.
What distinguishes Tantra from neo-Tantra?
Historic/cultural Tantra follows many rituals, yantra and mantra. Neo-Tantra is an adaptation by a particular teacher. Few today follow classical/historic/cultural Tantra, which can be read in boring texts. I present authentic Tantra but for the 21st Century based upon Tantra’s essential spiritual nature. However, learning technique, method and practice are the choice of the adapt.I ask my sannyasins (disciples/students/friends) to become unconditional love.
Tantra is essentially a lifestyle…a way to acknowledge our sensual and spiritual selves… To accept all…even the paradox… To open the heart totally.
What is the exact relationship between Tantra and sexuality?
In Tantra, sexuality is total and filled with bliss. However, Tantra is not about sex. Sex practiced or performed in Tantra is what is taught by most teachers of this spiritual lifestyle. In Swami Virato’s experiential events sexual ignition energy is used as a tool to raise the Kundalini, or the participants bioenergy. I simply uses this energy as a tool. At some point Tantrikas experience a bliss-filled state that can be identified as asexuality. Perhaps because of general sexual suppression by cultures and religions, ancient carvings in Nepal and India depicting unbridled sexual sharing create indelible labels. Some Tantrikas do not engage in sex at all.
Is Tantra an attitude, a belief, or a practice?
No belief. It is an attitude and there are practices, in sex, and many other areas of life that can be used as tools. Many of these include contemporary conscious psychotherapeutic methods, as well as Eastern philosophy and techniques, such as pranyama, yantra, mantra, etc., as well as simply applying expanded consciousness to one’s existence.
Are there common elements in its practice, if it has any? If so, how do these relate to any common attitudes or beliefs? When you say you “practice” Tantra, what do you do exactly?
Tantra is a lifestyle of letting-go, feeling a oneness with everything. If we were to relate Tantra to life in general, we would say there is much more lay-back living, more enjoyment of our sensual nature. However, Tantra is not licentious.
Practicing Tantra is to walk our talk…to visualize others as Divine… to meditate, get and give and receive massages ..and to say YES! more often…to seek for the purest, highest quality of life, yet to accept whatever we have…and to feel our Divine nature…God…Goddess.
Where and when did Tantra start, if it had an origin?
While there are many opinions, there is no real beginning as such. See articles and books, particularly the Hindu vedas, and the spiritual philosophy of Tilopa and Milaropa. However, it is now known that using sexual-heart energy of the Kundalini for transcendence and connecting with God or Divinity was known by many cultures throughout the world. There are references to it in both the new and old testament’s of the Bible, in the Koran, the Bhagavagita and countless other spiritual texts.
Are there certain types of cultures where it arises?
Interesting question. Tantra seems to arise and gain interest when we have gone too far with our material world. More of the lay-back, natural cultures like the Cherokees and Polynesians follow a similar lifestyle. Some pagan traditions also do. Whenever civilization has filled its members with fear, Tantra becomes popular. It is something we all experience at one time or another in our lives. Now, in Russia, Tantra has become very popular.
Are there historical or fictional people associated with its origins?
You can see glimpses of Tantra in Krishna’s playfulness with the dakinis, and Jesus, no doubt, was also a Tantrika based upon his words of love and his association with Mary of Magdalene and Veronica of Nazareth. Tilopa, Naropa and Milaropa also were the so-called original messengers of Classical Tantra. However, even with the writings of Sir Richard Burton (the anthropologist not the actoer), much has been lost to antiquity
Is there an ‘ideal’ Tantra, regardless of how it manifests today? If so, what is this like?
Returning to the Biblical Garden of Eden, or a vision of Nirvana or Heaven. A community of people filled with unconditional love, bliss, a joy of life, tenderness and acceptance of all. Enjoying the good life, so to speak, unaddicted yet experiencing with totality and enlightened, of course [chuckle].
Is there an objective or ideal focus of a Tantrika? If so, what is it?
Not really. Maybe enjoying God’s existence at every moment and allowing enlightenment to occur in the process. Becoming aware…awake. Follow a form of mantra or yantra meditation, eat a proper vegetarian diet, be gentle and find love within you at each moment. The lifestyle itself is the gift and path….
What are the essentials of ‘Tantric philosophy’ if there is such a thing?
Same as above.
How does this relate to other Eastern or Western philosophies?
Most philosophies and religions have a dogmatic point-of-view of existence. Eastern as well as Western philosophies are tied up in dogma. Tantra is about dropping dogma, and simply being in bliss.
This is difficult to talk about since all talk is the beginning of a philosophy. Philo from the Greek language means “life” and “sophy” from sophic represents study. In Tantra life in its totality is beyond study… It is experience.
Are there certain sects of religious traditions which consider themselves or are considered by others to be ‘Tantric’?
Yes, many. Yogi Bhajan of the 3HO organization (adapted from the Sikh tradition) considers his path “white” Tantra. Pagan traditions call it Tantrik practice, Tibetan Buddhists follow a Tantra path (commonly called yellow Tantra), and aspects of Voodoo and Santamaria use similar practices as in black Tantra, and the worship of Kali, the destroyer. This is only a sampling. There are many texts available on Classical Tantra in new age book shops and select libraries.
Swami Virato follows the path of red Tantra…for the passion of flesh and spirit.
Are there Western forms of Tantra or rough equivalents?
Not really. Perhaps what is being taught by most teachers today could be called Western forms of Tantra, because because so much has been lost over centuries or millennia. Quodoshka was a similar form practiced by Native Americans (Cherokee) and some still study this path. Of course this is not really “western,” and some historians suggest like in Polynesia, it all had the same roots.
Can Tantra be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism? If so, in what forms and characters?
Yes. Read the various texts. Some say Tantra predates all of them.
Why do people get excited and mention sex when they hear the word Tantra?
Because sex sells, and most Tantra teachers accent this portion of the Tantric lifestyle in their courses, workshops and seminars. Some also go out of their way to “sanitize” and de-sex their teachings and events. However, Tantra is really not about sex.
What inhibits Tantra, what stimulates it, and what kinds of people are more likely to practice it?
Fear and a closed mind inhibit living the Tantric life, while dance, other movement, meditation and pranyama (various breathing techniques) and taking risks stimulate it. People who are adventurous and open are more likely to connect to a Tantric lifestyle.
Have a blessed week
Love & Light