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What is Tantra Yoga?
Tantra Yoga is the yogic technique for creating a higher desire to become one with the supreme Brahman (higher consciousness). Tantra comes from two words Tan and Tra meaning ‘expansion’ ’ and ‘means of doing’. Yoga means union. Collectively, the direct meaning of Tantra Yoga is means of expansion followed by the union. But wait, for the expansion of what and with whom to unite?
In the modern context, It’s about embracing sexuality and sexual desires! We shall discuss sexuality as we move forward with the Article. Sexuality is not about gender it is about hormones. Also, I have given the techniques best suited for singles and couples at the end of this Article. This can be a long article but major aspects have to be explored first. Tantra Yoga is a very large area to explore.
Before moving further with Tantra Yoga let’s explore the benefits of Tantra Yoga first followed by the origins and at last the techniques of practice.
Major Benefits of Tantra Yoga
- The proper practice of Tantra Yoga helps you to get rid of unwanted desires.
- It gives permanent satisfaction after being perfected in the practice.
- Hidden memories within your heart get controlled automatically.
- Controls your stress level.
- Gives you perfect balanced life.
Origins of Tantra.
The earliest trace of the word Tantra can be traced to the 10th Mandala of the Rig Veda. The verse is as follows.
“इमे ये नार्वाङ्न परश्चरन्ति न ब्राह्मणासो न सुतेकरासः । त एते वाचमभिपद्य पापया सिरीस्तन्त्रं तन्वते अप्रजज्ञयःRig Veda
The translation of this Mantra in Hindi is.
जो मनुष्य इस लोक के शास्त्र को नहीं जानते तथा न परलोकशास्त्र अर्थात् अध्यात्मशास्त्र को जानते हैं, वे न ब्राह्मण हैं, न उपासक हैं, किन्तु अज्ञानरूप पाप से युक्त हुए केवल सन्तान वंश का या अपने शरीर का ही विस्तार करते हैं
In this verse, the Tantra is referred to as the technique which expands bodily consciousness. The bodily consciousness is all about the cycle of desires.
If a person has no idea about desires, there is only the rise of ignorance. Most of the time the Tantra is presented in a negative way. However, when the Yoga word comes together with it, this becomes Tantra Yoga. It is only the mean of salvation.
Desires are the seed cause of all.
Tantra is all about expanding desires. Deep inside, everyone has hidden desires. They are the main cause of suffering in human beings.
For example, a person with a bicycle dream for a bike, a person with a bike wants a car, a person with a car wants an expensive car, and a person with an expensive car wants a helicopter. What happens here? The struggle to achieve more increases in all cases.
This struggle is all because of unfulfilled desires and hidden memories.
However, there is no need to worry about the desires. They are natural. The major teaching of Tantra Yoga is this. You need to embrace your hidden desires. However, there are many desires which cannot be fulfilled. This is common in terms of sexuality. Tantra Yoga teaches to get rid of all the desires including the sexual desires by embracing and accepting them.
Why embrace the desires and what is Tantra and its relationship with Yoga?
In the Yogic books, like Shreemad Bhagawat Gita, it has been said that desires never let a person reach the ultimate Brahman. However, it is difficult to get rid of the desires too. In Tantra Yoga Embracing the desires means accepting the understanding of the nature of the desire. At the end of this article, I will share with you a technique to control hidden desires within. However, it is important to create a clear picture of Tantra and Tantra Yoga.
Tantra is mostly about Sexuality but Tantra Yoga is not.
Practicing Tantra and Tantra Yoga are two different kinds of things. There has been a strong misconception about the word Tantra in modern times. When one talks about Tantra-Mantra, they think about the exorcism or methods to get the desired stuff like boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. The so-called Tantriks in India make use of this illusion and earn money.
Tantra isn’t about achieving the physical form of what we didn’t achieve in life. It is all about accepting that form within our body. Accepting any form within our body is called Shri Vidya which we shall discuss in future articles.
Again, How this is possible, how to accept the forms within our body?
If a person didn’t get a boyfriend/girlfriend it’s nothing but the Karma of an individual. To control Karma there is a need for a proper union of the forces.
In our other article, we have discussed Purusha and Prakriti. It is the divine union between the masculine and the feminine forces but within ourselves. We know that in our body there is no equal distribution of the hormones that give us different kinds of Nature. This Nature is often called Bhavas.
Biologically, males have more testosterone and less estrogen. It is the opposite in the case of females. Can a male and female have an equal amount of those hormones?
Maybe this is completely not possible because of the Natural Laws unless you do surgery.
Surgery is basically done in order to accept the real gender within you. Some people are born male but from inside they are female. Some people are born female but they are male within. However, you can accept the identity given by your Nature too.
Why does this happen?
It happens because of the Social Construct and the hormones. Basically, gender role is all about these two kinds of stuff. Female hormones and Male hormones make a person different in the name of gender but the soul is always the same. Society is just about balancing those hormones and it is all done by Nature. In maximum cases, a female requires a male body and a male requires a female body for satisfaction.
Satisfaction is required in order to achieve real wisdom. It comes in the Kosha called Anandamaya Kosha. You can take your time to read about the concept of Pancha Koshas from Scientific Monk.
The soul is gender-neutral, your body is not. Your body has certain requirements unless which is fulfilled gives no real satisfaction. Tantra Yoga gives you this satisfaction. It is the way to reach the final sheath of the human body called Anandamaya Kosha.
Some of your desires may not be in the manifest condition too. They are deeply hidden down in the memories of the past.
More about the desire.
The desire to be one with the opposite gender is because of societal constructs and hormones. Since childhood, you see males and females together. Your intelligence also accepts it as a reality thus supported by your hormones. However, there is no complete satisfaction. Your desire keeps on growing. It can transform at some point in time from sexuality to non-sexuality but again, the fake reality continues.
Balancing hormone is carried out using Kundalini Tantra Yoga.
Tantra Yoga makes it easy for balancing society, sexuality, gender, and freedom. However, the practice is not so easy. The first fact to realize is, the soul is Gender Neutral that’s why both males and females can do 99% of similar things. But the body is not Gender-neutral because of Society and hormones. All your hormones are naturally within you. Tantra Yoga teaches you to accept it.
Society needs Dharma, Sexuality needs the Kama, Gender needs Artha and Freedom needs union between Purusha and Prakriti that’s moksha. I would call the complete method to achieve the four Purusharthas mentioned in the various Indian philosophical texts is Tantra Yoga. In Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Abhinavagupta, a Medieval Indian Philosopher has given 112 ways of the divine union. These all methods are based on the temperament type of an individual in Tantra Yoga.
The temperament of individual matters.
We have discussed in our earlier articles the temperament of individuals matters in the type of method used for spirituality. You can take your time and read our Articles in the Yoga, Meditation, and Mysticism Archive. The temperament of an individual is the first and foremost thing that a Guru must see in his/her student for Tantra Yoga. If you have a teacher, kindly request him/her to help you with identification.
Identification of temperament comes with balanced knowledge.
Identity is one of the parts of Prakriti, i.e. your own primordial nature which is your likes, dislikes, etc. It is as per the Samkhya Yoga. This primordial nature is called Aham and the way you present this nature to the world is called Ahamkara. Crossing the limits of Ahamkara is the final destination to reach Purusha. This Ahamkara has been developed in you since your birth. This is mostly formed because of the knowledge which you have acquired. Again, this knowledge helps you in getting your identity in society. We are identified in society because we present ourselves through the knowledge acquired since birth.
Here the main reason for Ahamkara is the Bondage of Knowledge.
We identify objects because we have learned to do that. People identify us because we present ourselves through what we have learned so far from the people, society, parents, teachers, etc. We do things in society with our identity because of knowledge.
The bondage of Knowledge is mentioned as Jnanam Bandha in the Shiva Sutras.
Further, the same book has another statement like Jnanam Annam. This means knowledge is the food. This implies that knowledge when less or excess is dangerous just like food. Lesser knowledge makes people ignorant and more than require knowledge makes a person overqualified. A person with more knowledge remains more theoretical rather than being practical. It is certain that both conditions are bondage. Required knowledge when taken perfectly in a balanced condition, acts as food.
If you have a balance between your knowledge and societal life you can identify your temperament. This temperament is the base of Tantra Yoga.
Knowledge of discrimination and Tantra Yoga.
The knowledge of discrimination is needed in order to identify what is Purusha and what is Prakriti. Sankhya Yoga gives this knowledge. You can click here to have an introduction to Sankhya.
Reflection in Tantra Yoga.
Abinavagupta in the Tantra Loka has written greatly about the reflection. He has tried to create an analogy between the mirror and the self. However, there is some form of practice associated with it. He mentions the practice of reflection (pratibimba) to be pratibimbavāda. He tries to explain the reflection in a philosophical manner.
दर्पणबिम्बे यद्वन्न गरग्रामादि चित्रमविभागि । भाति विभागेनैव च परस्परं दर्पणादपि च ॥Abhinavagupta
विमलतमपरमभैरवबोधात् तद्वद् विभागशून्यमपि अन्योन्यं च ततोऽपि च विभक्तमाभाति जगदेतत् ॥
A nonliterary sense of this shloka would be. In the mirror, we see the objects around but the dimension of the mirror is small. The reflected vision is not different from the real one, in the same way, it’s all the reflection of the supreme Bhairava. Here, the Bhairava is a metaphor of the source of the real reflection within us.
What is self-reflection?
First of all, the self-reflection in the literal sense is our real image formed in us. In the mirror, you see your own image. But is that image real for you? In the dark, the mirror too doesn’t work. Where is real you?
Whatever you learn comes to your mind and it gets reflected when needed. When you eliminate the perception of all the images within you, there exists a real self. In reality, it is only the self that reflects. In the sky, this self-shines as stars, suns, galaxies, etc. They reflect the light.
In human beings, the reflection is only of knowledge. This knowledge is light. It is neither your senses nor your mind. It is the soul.
The practice of self-reflection gives the first major benefit of Tantra Yoga.
We see our reflection in the mirror, however, the reflection is only the function of light. In the same way, whatever you see goes inside the memories. These memories are also in the form of the image. Whatever you feel, it is because you visualize it in the mind at first.
Let’s take an example. In the teenage, people usually believe in the idea of love at first sight. The image of the person to whom we are attracted fits into the memories (manas), so perfectly that you start visualizing him/her everywhere.
There is another technique in Tantra Yoga called Visualisation. This is also one of its epitome.
Sometimes you might get a strong feeling or desire for something. This strong desire starts with the image only. What is the source of that image? The Source of every image is light itself, right? It is science, isn’t it?
But from where it originates. Some call it soul, some call it Shiva, some call it Krishna and some call it from the point which existed during the time of Big Bang. In Tantra Yoga, directly this source is called Bindu (Point).
Understanding the source of light is the main thing mentioned in the majority of Tantra Yoga Related texts. Light is the essence and only the pillar of Tantra Yoga.
How to practice Tantra Yoga?
The strongest of the memories are related to sexuality. Images are really too strong for anyone. It is really tough to get rid of these unless you embrace them, accept them and move forward with them.
The analogy is created using the arrows of Kamadeva, the lord of love. These are mainly five arrows namely fascination, disturbance, burning, desiccation, and destruction which are named Lambini, Tapini, Dravini, Marini and Bodhini.
These arrows are aimed at your excitement level to create hallucinations by making you crazy and go absorbed in love. In one of the stories of Lord Shiva, it is mentioned that he burnt Kamadeva to the ashes after opening his third eye. It is because beyond the third eye lies the source of the highest form of energy and light. Let’s see how to reach that source in us. The first method is for single people and the second one is for couples. The purport of the whole analogy is one.
It is the Kama or the lust that creates stronger images within ourselves. Now, let’s explore the methods to get rid of these and have internal satisfaction.
The first method of Tantra Yoga from Scientific Monk.
There are various practices like Kundalini Yoga or Bhakti Yoga for single people but let’s see how it all works.
- Fix a mirror in your room, make arrangements in such a way that you should see your whole body in it.
- Stand firmly, on the opposite side of the mirror.
- While standing, see every detail of your body in the mirror. See your hands, see your skin, see your legs, see your feet, stomach, etc. Give more time while contemplating on each part once again while seeing and feeling the sensations in each part. I know it can be an awkward situation for the first-timers but this is all about accepting your own reality. Note: These sensations can be anything from the hotness of fire to the coolness of the breeze depending upon your environmental conditions.
- Try to create a self-appreciation for each part of your body. The aim of this is to accept the fact that you in every sense are better than those unwanted images.
- If you could feel the sensations within your physical body while seeing your body in the mirror. Half of your work is done.
- Take any suitable Asana, most preferably Padmasana or Sukhasana in front of the mirror itself.
- Close your eyes and feel your senses. The coolness around, a sound which you are hearing, the taste of water, etc.
- Contemplate on each part for a long time, feel your senses while focusing on the tip of your nose.
- Accept yourself to taken by the Brahman (your sensations and the consciousness) while chanting Aham Brahmashmi.
- Practice the above steps daily for 6 months. If you create your own reflection better with better visualization, you are freed from unwanted desires and memories. However, the time to get complete perfection in such practices can be 12 years.
- Through a teacher, get initiated into Bhakti Yoga or Kundalini Yoga.
Advisory Note and Disclaimer: One point to fully remember is arrows of Kamadeva in the form of psychology can hit you anytime so if you are a guy stand firmly and don’t lose your semen. If you are a girl, don’t get too much absorbed and lose your fluid too much. And, yes in the initial days the sensations can surely turn you around for greater desire with the images of the opposite gender. However, say it firmly, Ayam Atma Brahman, which means my soul is Brahman, and it is made for Brahman only. Brahman is the supreme consciousness.
The second method of the Tantra Yoga.
- If you are a married individual, you don’t need a mirror for practicing Tantra Yoga. You can feel your reflection in your partner itself.
- While having your intimate moments, feel have every possible moment of pleasure but a guy shouldn’t lose the semen and a girl shouldn’t lose the fluid too much.
- Feel the completeness of the body while having those moments.
- Just understand that at the level of the body, you two make each other complete. Your hormones get balanced because you two are together.
- It is advised to follow Varnashrama Dharma for the married couples. You can click here to read about 4 Varnashrama Dharma.
The ones who have lost someone close also have the hidden images. Every time while you practice Tantra Yoga. Use the mantra Prajnanam Brahman ( Everyone is Brahman). Feel the one whom you have lost in the Brahman.