The Tantras try to demonstrate the deep relationship of all phenomena or forms of existence. The unity of micro- and macrocosm, of mind and universe, of individuality and universality, the world of matter and the world of energy.

What is Tantra

The Three Tantra Schools

There are indications that the origin of Tantra lies in the indigenous spirituality of the original people of India, thousands of years before our era. Only much later would the individual currents develop. Tantra influenced the religious traditions of Hindus, Sikhs, Bon and Jain and, along with Buddhism, was spread across East Asia and Southeast Asia. Tantra originated as a rebellion against the organized religions, which believed that, in order to achieve enlightenment, sexuality had to be rejected. One of tantra's goals is manifestation, expansion, showing and connecting. In this context, sexual energy as a source of strength in the physical world is intended to expand consciousness and connect the male pool (represented by Shiva) with the female pole (embodied by Shakti) in order to achieve a harmonious whole. According to Tantra's philosophy, the entire universe is a manifestation of pure consciousness. In the manifestation of the universe, this pure consciousness seems to be divided into two poles, neither of which can exist without the other. One pole, Shiva, is male, static, and characterized by unmanifested consciousness. Shiva has the power to be, but not the power to become or change. The other pole, Shakti, is feminine, dynamic, energetic and creative. Shakti is the Great Mother of the universe, for it is she who is born of all form. Tantra is connected to the concept of weaving and everything associated with it, such as dust, wire, and so on. This refers, among other things, to the interaction between cause and effect and to the fact that all things and events are closely intertwined: reality is one and indivisible. The Tantras (mystical writings) try to demonstrate this deep relationship of all phenomena or forms of existence: the unity of micro- and macrocosm, of mind and universe, of individuality and universality, the world of matter and the world of energy. It is often thought that there are 2 schools of tantra, the 'left pad' (the left hand) and the 'right hand', depending on the exercises. However, these are 2 paths within one school, namely Kaula Tantra. The other 2 schools are the Mishra and Samaya Tantra. Many derived forms have emerged from these 3 tantric schools, but we leave them out in this article.

Kaula Tantra

Kaula Tantra is a form of outer tantra that focuses on concrete exercises and rituals. Kaula Tantra has two main currents: Vama Marga and Dakshina Marga. Vama Marga is the 'left path' that combines tantric practice with sex with the intention of waking the dormant energy centers explosively. The left-handed tantrika practice this form of tantra where they use meat, fish, spirits, mudras (certain gestures) and sexual contact. Dakshina Marga is the 'right path' of practicing tantra without sexual activities. The right-handed tantrika perform these rituals only symbolically.

Kaula Tantra focuses on the Muladhara chakra, the first chakra, at the base of the spine. The Kaula Tantra exercises are a workout to gain control over the lower desires and physical needs of the body. The energy of kundalini awakening is considered the divine feminine power, and instead of being used only for sensual gratification, this energy should above all be appreciated and respected.

Much has been written about Kaula Tantra exercises. Sanskrit scholars have access to many thousands of handwritten manuscripts about the mantras and rituals that accompany these exercises. The student who follows this path can choose from many possibilities: places to go, people he can learn from, books and manuscripts to read and rituals to perform. It is therefore not surprising that Kaula Tantra is so popular in this day and age. It is wise that the student chooses his or her teacher very consciously. Some of the modern exercises associated with tantra are only aimed at pleasure with a spiritual touch and are given by people who have little knowledge or experience about authentic Kaula Tantra or the higher schools of tantra.

Tantra main currents

Vama Marga

The left pathway that combines tantric practice with sex with the intention of waking the dormant energy centers explosively.

Dakshina Marga

is the right path of practicing tantra without sexual activities. Previously, dakshina marga was the most followed path because of the barriers in sexual life. Today, these barriers are quickly broken and vama marga, which uses the sexual life of spiritual development, is the most followed path within the tantra in people all over the world.

Features of the Kaula Schools OF THE TWO KAULA SCHOOLS

Vama Marga, the left path
Dakshina Marga, the right path
Makes no distinction between 'pure' and 'impure'. Everything is one; pure or impure are only human thoughts and judgments. Performs external rituals and uses only 'pure' objects.
Uses unorthodox methods, views and techniques. Sexual energy, sexuality and sexual acts are seen as 'impure' 'not divine' and as an unwanted obstacle.
Emphasizes tolerance, freedom and openness. Emphasizes extreme rigor.
Uses sexual energy, alcohol, meat etc. Condemns the use of spirits, fish, meat and all forms of sexual energy.
Strives to achieve Siddhi's (paranormal spiritual properties) by making use of all creation and its contents. Strive to achieve siddhi's by promoting the sattvic form (purity) of the life goal.
Undertakes all kinds of activities including 'prohibited' activities. Is judgmental and sees the usefulness of all that exists. Supports, encourages and uses only practices that will not violate the principle of 'purity' and 'conventional morality'
Gives freedom to express desires in a harmony-making way and does whatever it takes to become one with the Divine Mother. Follows and implements the principles of asceticism (abstinence from sensual pleasures and self-denial) that are designed to suppress primitive urges by imposing a high degree of self-control.

 

Mishra Tantra

Higher than the Kaula Tantra school is the Mishra Tantra school. Mishra Tantra performs both outer and inner rituals, and is a combination of the Kaula Tantra and Samaya Tantra school. Mishra means mixed. Mishra Tantra focuses on the Anahata chakra, the fourth chakra, in the heart center, where devotion to the mother, the feminine, or the creative of the universe is practiced.
The Mishra Tantra exercises are inner exercises, and they direct the one-point focused mind inwards.

The pujas, or rituals, are done in the mind, and are therefore called manas puja, or mental rituals. These pujas are done with feelings of devotion and detachment, in which the outside world plays no role. The energy of the awakening Kundalini is brought upwards from the Muladhara chakra to the Anahata chakra, the space between the breasts, where it is experienced as a unity with the divine.

Samaya Tantra

Higher than both the Kaula Tantra and the Mishra Tantra school is the Samaya Tantra school. Here one performs only pure yoga exercises, without any outward ritual. The only goal is Self-Realization, which ultimately leads to moksha, the ultimate liberation.

The word Samaya literally means 'I am with you', which refers to the giving of Shakti from the inside through shaktipat. Through meditation and this divine inner companionship, the aspirant is guided to break free from worldly pleasures and awaken the energy of Kundalini, propelling her further up to spiritual union.

Samaya Tantra focuses on the Sahasrara chakra, the seventh chakra on the crown of the head. During the upward journey (urdhva retas), each of the other chakras is illuminated by the awakened Kundalini.
The meditation of the Samaya Tantra school focuses on the Ajna chakra, after which the inner exercise focuses on the Sahasrara, the crown chakra. Samaya Tantra and Raja Yoga are similar, although the Samaya Tantra exercises are more subtle, and are practiced by very few people. It is the most advanced of all yoga and yoga meditation schools. Samaya Tantra teaches Sri Vidya, the mother of all Vidyas (ways of knowledge).

Due to its subtle nature and the fact that the higher lessons are given during meditation, rather than meditation, much less has been written about Samaya Tantra than about Kaula Tantra. The student purifies the samskaras (the intention behind thoughts, actions or emotions) by the sixth chakra, as well as by receiving downward flowing feelings. Samaya Tantra is ultimately more a deep connection to the creative power of the universe than worship in a ritual sense.

Characteristics of the three Tantra schools

Kaula
Mishra
Samaya
  • Performs external rituals.
  • Performs both external and mental rituals.
  • Practices only internal meditation.
  • Focuses on the Divine Mother in the Muladhara chakra.
  • Focuses on the Divine Mother in the heart center, the Anahata.
  • Meditates exclusively on the Sahasrara.
  • Concentrates on the sleeping Kundalini in the Muladhara.
  • Concentrates on the Kundalini in the heart center in the form of Ishta Deva (cherished divinity); the awakened Kundalini is visualized as fully awake.
  • Do not practice meditation until the Kundalini has awakened.
  • Uses objects and rituals.
  • Uses both objects and mental rituals.
  • Does not use objects and rituals.
  • Uses alcohol, meat, fish, mudras and physical association.
  • Does not use alcohol, meat, fish, mudras and physical association.
  • Never use alcohol, meat, fish and mudras. Physical union never takes place.
  • Uses yantras (visual equivalents of mantras) on physical objects.
  • Draws yantras on the palm or other body parts or visualizes them in the heart center.
  • Considers and experiences the body as a yantra.
  • Uses yantras according to Shrichakra (Samhara Krama), the method of withdrawal from dual illusions to unity.
  • Uses yantras according to Sthiti krama (supporting the energetic, mental and emotional stability), the method of maintenance.
  • Uses yantra of the human body according to Srishti krama (immediate imagined creation), the method of creation.
  • Goal: bhoga & moksha (Bhoga is pleasure, experience and feel. Moksha is the liberation of samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth that depends on karma).
  • Goal: to reach bhoga & moksha, with an emphasis on moksha.
  • Goal: focuses exclusively on moksha, spiritual freedom.

 

Maha Kundalini Tantra

The starting points of Maha Kundalini Tantra are rooted in the left path, the Vama Marga, one of the main currents of Kaula Tantra. In addition to the inner exercises, Maha Kundalini Tantra uses Mishra and Samaya techniques at the same time.

The word Maha in Sanskrit, which means 'great', 'together', 'expletive', refers in Maha Kundalini Tantra to a form of tantra that combines the three main schools of Tantra, Kaula, Mishra and Samaya Tantra. You can find out more about this on the Maha Kundalini Tantra page.

Tantra and Sex

Sexual acts are energetic acts that are meant to synchronize between different energetic structures (e.g. our bodies).
Sex, sexuality and sexual acts are an expression of the true nature of all temporary energetic structures to synchronize with each other.

Sexual acts are not separated from life. They're life. Sexual acts performed with the purpose of just discharging will not satisfy and will not provide the person with the experience to experience his true nature, namely pleasure (read synchronization) and unity.

Our need to surrender ourselves to pleasure and unity can never be satisfied by sexual acts as most people know it. Our physical and emotional health depends on the ability to experience orgasm. There is a big difference between a climax (cumming), i.e. a partial discharge of energy through the genitals, and an orgasm.

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TANTRA AND YOGA

The path of Yoga practices continuous self-improvement. One must constantly develop through daily study, following education, increasing self-awareness and universal consciousness, physical exercises, gaining knowledge and asking the right questions such as Who am I? What am I doing here? Why am I alive? What is the purpose of my life and so on.

Yoga is the way of the mind. That path involves gaining a lot of knowledge, reading, interaction with others, constant self-examination and self-judgment in order to develop yourself. The Yogaweg is very common in the Western world but also in the East. It's a road where the mind is involved. On that basis, it is a way in which problems must be created to support the self. Why develop yourself when there are no problems? The path of Yoga does not accept the wholeness of being, the wholeness of existence. The path is based on the constant restlessness of the human mind. The path is based on the Universal rule of avoiding pain and finding happiness. Therefore, it is a very suitable way for mind people, people who live from their mind. That is why it is very common in the West and, for example, in India.

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Association of women and men

According to Tantra, sexual life has a triple purpose. The Tantra practitioner distances himself from judgments regarding sex. He uses it as an awareness element in his spiritual practice.

Usually, the experience of transformation of sexual energy is lost even before anyone is able to delve into it. Due to certain techniques, this experience can be an ongoing experience, even throughout the day. Then the sleeping parts of the brain wake up; they become and remain active.

The advantage of vama marga is that the awakening of Kundalini is possible through the sexual interaction between man and woman. The concept behind this follows the same lines as the process of nuclear fusion as described in modern physics. Men and women represent positive and negative energy. On a mental level, they represent time and space. Usually these two forces are opposites. During sexual interaction, they move from their position of polarity (extremes) to the middle. When they come together in the nucleus or the central point, there is an explosion.

The natural association that takes place between man and woman is seen as the explosion of the energy centers. In every aspect of life, the union of the positive with the negative poles is the origin of creation (or creation). At the same time, this amalgamation is also responsible for lighting: a glimpse of a higher experience is captured. This topic is thoroughly discussed in all the old texts on Tantra.

Shiva and Shakti

The process in which the energy is directed to the higher energy centres is more important than the energy waves that are created during the association. Everyone knows how to generate this sexual energy, but few people know how to lead it to the higher centers. Very few people have a complete and positive understanding of this natural event that almost everyone experiences. The elements brought together in this process of association are known as Shiva and Shakti. Shiva stands for purusha or consciousness and Shakti stands for prakriti or energy.

Shakti is present in various forms throughout creation. Shakti has both material and spiritual energy. When the energy moves outwards it is material energy, when it is directed upwards it is spiritual energy. Therefore, the union of man and woman, if performed in the right way, has a particularly positive effect on the development of spiritual consciousness and plays a major role in the awakening of the Kundalini.

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