TANTRA: Introduction to Shiva Tantra
Tantra is a spiritual tradition which originated in India in prehistoric times and was first systematized by Lord Shiva. It emphasizes the development of human vigour, both through meditation and through confrontation of difficult external situations, to overcome all fears and weakness.
Tra: That which liberates.
Tantra literally means “that which liberates from darkness”. Its spiritual practices, centred around meditation, endeavour to lift the shroud of egocentricity and narrow-mindedness which envelops and stultifies the boundless potential of the human mind. The overwhelming characteristics of Tantra are its profoundly positive view of the universe and its sweeping embrace of the phenomenal world as an expression of infinite and essential Consciousness. With a view of all existence springing from the same infinite Consciousness, Tantra’s underlying principle is that each individual, by penetrating the core of his own unit consciousness, can experience the unity of all things and transcend the turbulent flux of sensory perception and its divisive perspective of the relative world. The ultimate goal in Tantra is the unification with Supreme Consciousness . a state beyond the ego inhibitor and fragmentation of reality.
Historically the word “Tantra” refers to a set of knowledge and and physical, mental and spiritual practices from the area currently known as India. Its origins are lost thousands of years ago, at the dawn of civilization. Around 7500 BC this knowledge was systematized and perfected by Lord Sadashiva. Lord Sadashiva was a Taraka Brahma (Supreme Consciousness in its manifesting aspect), is considered the father and creator of the Tantric system.
The first writing systems were created after Sadashiva, hence his teachings, like all other knowledge of that time, were transmitted orally. The lack of original scripts caused some strain on the transmission and interpretation of the teachings and thus the post-Shiva Tantra developed in different branches or schools. For this reason many of the original teachings of Lord Sadashiva were lost forever.
In short, from a historical point of view there are three major divisions of Tantra: the pre Shiva, Shiva and post Shiva Tntra. Before Shiva Tantric knowledge was scattered and disordered and was generally used for selfish ends, for psychic and material achievements; in many cases was also they used to hurt or harm others.
Shiva systematized, improved and expanded the original knowledge of Tantra. He taught to use the potential and power of Tantra for spiritual achievement and service to other created beings. In addition to developing the spiritual dimension of Tantra, Shiva laid the foundation for all branches of worldly knowledge and the formation of a stable and organized human society.
After Shiva Tantra was slowly mixing with lots of beliefs, customs, myths, dogmas, religions and philosophies. That led to the gradual emergence of different schools and branches of Tantra that retained at a greater or lesser extent the original teachings. So every mystic and knowledge system that exists today is related, directly or indirectly, with ShivaTantra.
From his own condition of Tarak Brhma, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti recovered the perennial original knowledge of Shiva Tantra and gave it in a practical and rational way, adapted to the situation and the need of modern humans. This tantric, theoretical and practical system is known as Ananda Marga.
There is no evidence to suggest that in the Vedic period spiritual knowledge was passed from master to disciple. From what we know from the history of spiritual sadhana, the first one to apply it was the Lord Shiva and he gave this spiritual worship the name of Tantra. Tantra is the secret behind spiritual progress. The definition of Tantra in Scripture is Tamjadyat tarayet yastu sah tantrah parikiirttitah (Tantra is something that frees a person from the bondage of the mundane).Therefore, the practical process that leads to the expansion and consequently emancipation is called Tantra. So Tantra and sadhana are inseparable Strictly speaking, the theoretical knowledge cannot be called Tantra. Tantra is a practical science. Thus in Tantra the intellectual knowledge is secondary. Tantra practical process begins with the physical and progresses to the physical-psychic, then to the psycho and finally culminates in the atma [being]. As the practical aspect is the most important factor in. Tantra puts great emphasis on the Master-disciple relationship. The disciple must make an intense spiritual practice to be worthy of the Master’s instructions at each stage of its development.
Shiva Tantra Features
The main tenet of Tantra is all there it exists is Brahman, the Absolute Entity. The only purpose in life is to transcend the limitations of the ego and to merge the unit soul with Brahma, which is its original and natural state. But unlike other systems that devalue and even deny the material world, Tantra considers it as an expression of Brahma. Therefore, the material universe must be addressed to with care and love. Ananda Marga teaches Brahma is the absolute and unchanging Reality; the material world is also a reality, but relative and unstable because it is subject to permanent changes of time, space and individuality. As we live in this world, and are subject to those same changing conditions, we must maintain a balance between our outer physical reality and our mental and spiritual inner existence.
On this basis Tantra gives importance to three fundamental aspects of human being: body, mind and spirit. Human life is sacred and valuable. It is the most developed and the only individual structure that allows the ego to perform sadhana, the continuous and conscious effort to unify with Brahma, the true purpose and reason for our existence. Therefore in Tantra there are different kinds of physical, psycho-physical and psycho-spiritual practices to help the aspirant achieve this Supreme Goal.
Tantra pays special attention to the control and proper channelling of the subtle energies of the body and mind, and to the control of the primitive and instinctive tendencies and for the development of higher and spiritual qualities. In order to achieve so we work the chakras (psychic energy centres),the pranah (vital energy), mantras (special sounds full of energy), the respiration, nutrition, mental balance, moderation and restraint in behaviour, etc.
It is also considered critical the relationship between the individual and the world through service to all Creation, always seen as the physical expression of the one Universal Consciousness. So the motto of Ananda Marga is “Self-Realization and Service to Humanity”.
The spiritual warrior:
Shiva Tantra practitioner is essentially a spiritual warrior, because it must constantly fight against its own limitations, fears and negative and destructive tendencies. You must also be prepared to fight in defense externally welfare of society and of all creation.The main characteristic of Tantra is that it represents human vigour. It represents a pactless fight. Where there is no fight there is no sadhana. Under such circumstances Tantra cannot be there, where there is no sadhana, no fight, It is an impossibility to conquer a crude idea and to replace it by a subtle idea without a fight. it is not at all possible without sadhana. Hence, Tantra is not only a fight, it is an all-round fight. It is not only an external or internal fight, it is simultaneously both. The external fight is a practice of the subtler portion of Tantra. The external fight ia a fight of the cruder portion of Tantra. And the fight both external and internal is a fight in both ways at once.
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
Spiritual practice means practice for expansion, and this expansion is nothing but a liberation from the bondage of all sorts of dullness ( or staticity). Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an ism. Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science
So there cannot be any spiritual practice without Tantra.
Tantra is Sadhana.