by Dinu Roman

Yoga and Tantra form the primitive lode of the Indian spiritual tradition, a foundation deeply connected to universal philosophies. Much has been written and discussed regarding these studies, but due to their profoundness and hidden symbolism they remain opaque. A secret throughout the centuries, Tantra remains diffuse, mysterious and puzzling yet constantly present in the diversity of yoga techniques, especially in its Tibetan forms.

With purposeful investigation, it presents a genuine science of man where cosmic forces mingle with physiology, psychology, magic and spiritualism. Tantra offers a practical, multi-leveled vision of the human being, a unified theory that explains the most intimate aspects of man’s behavior which have evaded current research. A detailed, sincere study and practice of Tantra would contribute to the enrichment of contemporary science and psychology in a manner not as yet conceived.

Tantrism recognizes in Kundalini the source of a mysterious energy — an energy still not properly defined by modern science but of paramount importance for a complete spiritual emancipation. If we add that the Ageless Wisdom defines Tantra as the spiritual system best adapted to our era of Kali Yuga, where spirituality is declining even as man and woman are desperately trying to reintegrate themselves into a creative and spiritual cosmic center, we realize the significance of these techniques. Today we are bound to an “objective” knowledge which is becoming more and more mechanical and inhuman. Abstract thinking is linked less and less to real life yet defines most of our activities. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to practice Tantra, a highly accurate, subjective knowledge which is accessible to everyone, through personal experience and validation.

Tantra envisions the Universe as an extremely complex, multi-dimensional web of invisible energies. This Science permits the controlled expansion of consciousness beyond the web of illusory appearances and thus liberates us from ignorance. Tantra is also called Vama Marga, i.e. The Left Hand Path, due to the fact that women, who are of lunar influence, negative polarity or the left, play an essential role in this Science.

However, The Way which is recommended here is not at all made of negations or austerities as in most other spiritual systems, but of pleasure and beatitudes. Tantric tradition puts forth clearly that the state of harmonious integration and spiritual freedom can be obtained only through direct experience and living of everyday life. The inferior levels of consciousness cannot be effortlessly controlled and surpassed unless fully and frantically, intensely and totally, lived in the whole plenitude of their power.

In this respect, Tantric texts say that nobody will be able to obtain spiritual perfection using difficult and boring techniques. Perfection can be realized easily using the fulfillment of all wishes. The very same processes that for others could cause decay or death, venom or evil, can be used wisely and firmly for spiritual uplifting and transformed into a miraculous cure of the soul.

“One can fall due to the earth, another one can, without doubt, raise himself with the help of the earth.” (Here “earth” is the symbol of woman and sexual pleasure).

Another text says:

“If a man is an Yogin, he does not enjoy sensual pleasures; while one who enjoys them cannot know Yoga. That is why the Kaula (a Tantric School) way, containing the essence of sexual enjoyment and Yoga, is superior to all paths. In the Kaula approach, sexual enjoyment turns into Yoga directly. What in conventional religion is considered sin in Kaula becomes meritorious.”

Kularnava Tantra 2.23

In the Tantric tradition, Yoga (union with God) is simultaneous with the passionate yet detached living of worldly delights, leading to the state of enlightenment through the supernormal powers (Siddhi-s), which are obtained through practical application of these special procedures. These powers serve a definite purpose in the way of attaining the Supreme.

The human body, with all its biological and psycho-mental processes, is only an instrument in which and through which the cosmic forces operate. The individual human structure and the outer macrocosmic manifestation, or Universe, are similar. Therefore all that exists in the Universe should also exist in a certain form and proportion in the microcosm, i.e. the human body.

The Tantric philosophy itself includes in its theory all the levels of the Universe and gives a paramount importance to astronomy, biology, parapsychology, anatomy, meditation, medicine, music, art and even sexuality. In fact, the sexual experience, considered to be a unification of the Everlasting Male (+) and Everlasting Female (-) principles, has a very important place in Tantric techniques and procedures which are often profoundly erotic.

Tantra is a complex discipline, an accurate method and a profound analysis based on rational foundations, it is a Meta-Science dealing with the different aspects of the Supreme Consciousness and ways to experience it. Here, sexuality forms only the basal, prima facie of its techniques, and in this School, it is subjected to a rigorous discipline, because it is known that the secret of Life lies in controlling the sexual energy.

To understand the Tantric attitude toward sexuality requires a totally open mind and a reversal of perspective. Accustomed as we are by a puritanical mentality to seeing sexuality as a “sin” to be avoided and ashamed of (or, in any case, to keep it “secret” because of its “impurity”), we have all the chances to consider Tantric Love as being a defiant assault on conventional morality and thus to miss completely the tremendous spiritual value of such a perspective.

In order to understand it, we must first come to view the human dimension as vibrating in identity with the sacred, divine aspects of Creation. From this sacred perspective, sexuality is seen as re-producing, at a smaller scale, the continuous and beatific interaction of a Cosmic process which is manifesting the entire Universe from the Absolute Reality. In this new vision, “sin” disappears (it never existed, anyway!), being replaced by pure beatitude and total love. Sexual union is thus a form of meditative discipline with profound psycho-mental and spiritual effects.

The male worshipper has an attitude toward the woman which is different from that of an ordinary person performing the sexual act. The woman is transfigured into a living symbol and earthly manifestation of the Divine Mother of the Universe – Parashakti. Likewise, for the woman, man represents a vital embodiment of the Everlasting Male Principle – Shiva. The sexual beatitude raised at the transcendental level of an extraordinary psychic experience with a spiritual character reflects, then, the ineffable happiness of a subtle cosmic nature, known in Yoga as Ananda (i.e., cosmic beatitude) and in Tantra as Samarasa (i.e., the savor of equality).

Yearning tirelessly to grasp the enigmatic silence and the fascinating mystery of the Cosmos, the Tantric practitioner becomes an integral part of this mystery in the bosom of which he absorbs and identifies himself. For this, the external practice and the internal mutation are both indispensable because they make it possible to understand within themselves (through identification or Samyama) the phenomena, leading to an authentic and sometimes ineffable understanding of the cosmic forces that surround us. Modern scientists are still making weak attempts to decode them, but for the Tantric practitioner these subtle forces are everyday realities.