Tantra is a Sanskrit word which can be translated in many ways, to weave, to transform poison into nectar, a method of spiritual liberation through expansion. It is the expansion to accept all that is which distinguishes Tantra from other paths which draw lines to say what is accepted and what is not accepted. But how can one find the truth by denying what is?
Tantra teaches by experience. Methods are presented but each person learns the individual lessons they are ready to receive. The lack of rules in the process of expansion and acceptance can lead to the misunderstanding that it is an excuse for an orgy or a licence for self gratification – but in fact expanding one’s perspective to view the big picture leads to behaviour which can be celebrated. It is just those people who’s power is based on limiting others or who’s security is based on rigid defences who get scared by the possibilities Tantra presents.
The Tantra tradition goes back thousands of years to times when wisdom was handed down by word of mouth: to the shamanic roots of yoga. Then texts were written which are known as Tantras. The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is one such text in which Shiva gives 112 methods of meditation for becoming enlightened. Some involve sex but most do not – and the goal is not the sex but the awareness that comes when the processes of the small mind come to a pause.
Just as Tantra accepts sex, it also accepts opposites and like Zen it finds truth in paradox. The union of male and female polarities is just one example of how the experiencing of opposite energies and the merging of them leads to higher consciousness. Light and darkness, looking and being looked at – all these opposites can be used. Shiva is presented in Indian culture as half man half woman reflecting that despite being either male or female, each of us have both facets within us. And when those internal polarities merge, it is then we find our true selves.
Sarita’s dedicated Tanta site offers more information and opportunities to experience path of Tantra.