Saturday, August 25, 2012
Tantra Part 1 - Introduction
In addition to the Nadi Yoga articles I will be writing a new series of articles on the practice of Sri Vidya tantra. It is my hope to eventually bring both subjects into book form for the benefit of practitioners worldwide.
Not all will resonate with this work so if not, please just skip these tantra articles! If you are connected to this work, feel free to read and explore it.
These articles on tantra are not meant to be a scholarly examination from the standpoint of theory but are designed to get one dirty very quickly with the practice.
Introduction to Tantra
What is tantra? Tantra is expansion. Tantra is empowerment. Tantra is freedom from limitation and the breaking down of the view that we are anything other than God.
It is my goal with this new series of articles on tantra to share age old traditions to a new age of practitioners. It is my goal to strip away the limitations that have been previously put upon these age old disciplines and make them available to everyone, without regard to sex, gender, age, culture, caste, and station. This is the way that my Guru has been bringing the teachings to the modern age and he has given me his blessing to share these teachings with all. Some may balk at the sharing of these ancient "secret" teachings. All I can do is to bless these folks and hope that they can find it in their hearts to understand that as my guru says "Sri Vidya is for everyone".
What is Sri Vidya? Tantra has had many different forms and manifestations over the last 5 to 10 thousand years (yes many believe it goes back that far...). Sri Vidya is a form of tantra that works with the Goddess principle. Sri means auspicious and is also a word that designates the Devi or Goddess. Vidya is knowledge. So Sri Vidya is the "auspicious knowledge" or the "knowledge of the Goddess". My lineage through Guruji Sri Amritanandanatha of Devipuram India, is connected with the Dattatreya line which works with the Goddess Lalitha Tripurasundari as the highest expression of the divine. It may seem strange to some, especially those brought up in Western systems of spirituality to focus on the feminine aspect of the divine but if you look deeper into the Western streams you will find that the feminine has only been hidden from view.
According to Tantra, the world from the highest to the lowest manifestations can be broken up into 36 tattvas or categories. At the highest level, what we call Paramasiva, reality is completely one. Division occurs, breaking reality apparently into two. These two primal realities are called Siva and Sakti. Siva, the traditional "male" principle is also called Prakasha or the innate light or awareness aspect of being. Sakti, or the traditional "female" principle is also called Vimarsha or the reflective, manifest blissful aspect of being. You find this same primal splitting in many other spiritual traditions across the world from the Chinese to the ancient Hebrews. From one perspective the Goddess represents one side of the polarity. From a higher perspective, the Goddess is Paramasiva herself, in other words, she is the sum total representation of everything. Take it as you will. As one of the 1000 names of Lalitha suggests, Lalitha is ever in union with her lover Siva.
Many traditions over time have focused their attention more on the awareness/luminous aspect of this primal splitting, emphasizing one side of the expansion over the other. By focusing on that aspect which our traditions have ignored for so long we strive to bring balance back to the work. Ultimately divinity and our true nature is neither one nor the other. Balance is required in the work to understand the primal polarities within ourselves.
Theory is good only in so far as it helps us to establish a framework for practice and so wherever necessary I will bring it in. Otherwise, there are many books out there which you will find if you feel you need to research such matters. There is a saying in the modern field of neurolinguisic programming that “the map is not the territory”. There is nothing that will compare to actual practice because it is only with practice that you will realize the benefits of tantra.
Reality is. In other words, we can philosophize and theorize all we want to but Reality itself will always be, just as it is. The tools of tantra only help to break down our limiting views and beliefs to bring us to a deeper recognition of the inherent ok-ness of this. Tantra is a “bringing down” of that recognition, so that we learn to see that inherent purity in our minds, our feelings, and our bodies.
I am basing these series of articles on the traditional teachings of the Parasurama Kalpa Sutras, an ancient treatise on the work of tantra given by the sage Parasurama. Secondly, I am also basing them on the classical instructions handed down by my Guru who follows this tradition. Thirdly, I am basing these teachings on the results and experiences given me by my own practice and the material that has "manifested" through the doorway of the powerful lineage to which I belong. I do not claim mastery in this practice and only share it out of my love of the work and my strong belief in its power, evidenced over my own serious personal transformation of the last few years.
More important than the tools of the tantra are the empowerments themselves that the tools bring. More important than the techniques are the alignments that occur with the techniques. Given that, we will still employ tools. Powerful age old tools that have been handed down through the centuries. Through some of the upcoming posts we will also explore newer tools, tools only discovered in the last century by my guru and even more recently by myself. If it works for you use it, if not feel free to discard it and discover your own. There is no right way.
We are Consciousness and Bliss itself, God and Goddess. There is nothing which is separate from this. Whatever we think, feel, say, or do is all the expression of God. There is no impurity. Division is only a thought, a feeling, one that upon investigation will reveal itself to only be like a dream.
It is my prayer that through this work or other, that all will recognize their true nature and feel completely and utterly free to step into their own power as children of God and begin to act to create and shape this world as God intended, with love and presence and creativity.