Tantra accepts desire as the first driving force of human soul, the same one to cause the appearance of the Universe. Consequently, Tantra does not ask its followers to give up desire. Other spiritual traditions recommend avoiding desire, even suppressing it. in fact such an attitude will only bring you to shackles, and it is therefore an obstacle in reaching higher consciousness.
The adepts of such doctrine try to overcome desire through asceticism or through burning the seed of desire in the fire of knowledge so that it wouldn’t grow. The result is paradoxical: in order to get to the state in which all desire disappear, you should have a very strong one – the one of being without any.
Tantra treats desires as natural and is based on the idea that as long as we have got a physical body, we’ll still have desires. Our sense organs are like windows for desires to get inside ourselves. It means that desires are created beyond our attachment to sensorial “food”.
All desires have a physical ground as a great number of electro-chemical impulses. The more we try to suppress them, the stronger they will become. Desires activate the hormones. Concentrating these substances in the blood can create a chemical disturbing or a disease.
Desires are directly connected to the six psychic centres known as chakras. While energy follows its natural course through different chakras it stimulates the hidden desires. These makes a person goes from a desire to another one in 24 hour.
The constant presence of the desire awakens both body and interest towards the object of desire. Most desires centre on the physical body and its comfort. People become slaves of their instincts. This is the most common and gross part of a personality and they become victims of agitation, loneliness, excitation, anxiety, dissatisfaction, selfishness and misery.
All religions and sciences that want to perfect the human behaviour try to solve these problems pleading for love towards abstract principles such as truth, compassion, benevolence, patience, self-sacrifice, altruism, pure affection and forgiveness. But we need practical methods to apply these principles. We cannot be happy only if we know that these ideals exist. We have to do something to become wise and happy.
Desires do not belong to the self, individual consciousness; they are connected to the main six chakras and can be classified in accordance to them. Chakras represent the place where the five subtle elements manifest themselves: akasha (ether or space), “air”, “fire”, “water” and “earth”. Their source is the subtle aspect called “MAHAT” (the cosmic mind).
In order to transcend the desires we have to transcend these elements. And this is possible only by waking up the latent energy (KUNDALINI), situated on the basis of the backbone.
We will now follow the relationship between the six chakras and their elements and different desires. The seventh chakra is situated beyond desire. This is the place of enlightened humans, of the self and individual consciousness.
- MULADHARA – the area of the perineum – “earth” element – desire for security, physical comfort, biological necessities, shelter;
- SVADHISTHANA – the sexual area – “water” element – desire for family, procreation, sexual impulses, and fantasies;
- MANIPURA – the solar plexus – “fire” element – desire for immortality, longevity, name, fame, power, authority, and fortune;
- ANAHATA – the cardiac plexus – “air” element – desire for good-heartedness; devotion, altruism, compassion;
- VISHUDDHA – the carotid area – “ether element” – desire for purity, knowledge, and divine beauty;
- AJNA – the middle of the forehead – “mahat” – desire for self-accomplishment and enlightenment;
In his book, “Secrets of Tantrism“, Serge Hutin compares different attitudes to that of a Tantric: “There are, on one side, people who eat and drink without thinking of the immediate consequences of their excess; these people are prisoners of their intemperate actions, of their unleashed cravings. You can compare them to the junkies who cannot free themselves from the terrible physiological and psychological slavery.
On the other side there are people who become experimented gourmands without falling into alcoholism and greed, who know how to appreciate refined dishes. You can’t mistake the man who is a passive slave of his passions, completely incapable of controlling them, with the one who knows how to become a gourmand of sensuality.”
Although Serge Hutin’s way of exposing things is not one of the happiest ones, we can see that “experimented gourmands” are those elevated spirits who can understand and apply the Tantric principles and manage to get to the supreme detachment right in the middle of life without having to avoid it but to integrate harmoniously in the universal harmony, in creation.
Rajneesh enlightens us with his profound vision regarding on how to transcend desire:
“Common mind destroys itself through its own desires. Yoga says, stop the desires; fight against the desires and become part of that you who is without desires. Tantra says to be aware of your desires. Don’t fight them. Move in the desire with a profound consciousness. Thus you will transcend it. You are part of it and yet you aren’t. You go through it but stay outside.
Accept yourself no matter what. Be aware of what you are. If you fight then your ego is present and will manifest strongly. And the more you fight, the stronger your ego will be. If you win, you will reach the supreme ego. Tantra says: do not fight. Then there will be no possibility for the ego to appear. If we do not understand Tantra then there will be a lot of problems because for common thinking if there is no fight then there must be a weakness. And then we will be afraid.
For example, you are angry. Tantra will never tell you: don’t be angry. It says be angry from the bottom of your heart, BUT be aware. Tantra is not against anger but it is against spiritual sleep, spiritual unconsciousness. Be conscious and be angry. This is the secret of this method. Your anger turns into compassion if you are conscious. So Tantra tells us: don’t approach that anger as your enemy. It carries around the seed of compassion.
The same energy that awakens anger, you may convert into compassion if you direct it correctly. So if you win the fight against this energy you will be a dead man. If you fight it, you won’t manage to transform it into compassion. There won’t be anger because you suppressed it. But it won’t be compassion also.
So be a friend of all energies that have been given to you. Receive them, as you should; be happy that you have anger inside, that you have sexual impulses, that you are greedy. Be grateful because they are hidden sources that can be transformed and then sublimated.
The seed is small and insignificant, even ugly at the beginning. But when it wakes up and flourishes then it becomes a great beauty. Do not throw the seed away because you will also throw the flowers that might come with it. You cannot see them yet; they haven’t manifested yet the way that you could see them. But they are there. So use the seed so that you can get to these flowers.”
Of course that it doesn’t mean that we should get angry each time we want to be compassionate. The exampleis meant to help us understand the fact that everything is transformed in the process of creation.
And also that by rejecting anything that surrounds us we do nothing else but deny a reality that has been given to us and which, regardless of our denial, manifests strongly. The essence of Tantric learning is that of sublimation and transforming these energies into elevated forms of manifestation like compassion, love, help and knowledge.
The main elements of these inner energies are attention and consciousness in each moment. The true inner feeling is the adequate answer to each stimulus, action or exterior energy.