Monday, 19 March 2018


                                                          Guhya samaj also commences with the question  what is Bodhi Chitta? posed by the haloed ones to Bhagwan-the Blessed Supreme and then comes the detailed philosphy of kalachakra, of five Buddhas, of five consituent aggregates of the individual and, of course, the answer that the ' Adamantine integration of body,speech and mind hold the key to the highest attainment i.e.Bodhi-Chitta.  The importance of the work consists in the first enumeration of five Dhyani Buddhas whopreside over the five spi-rals of spiritual graph-vairochana, Akshobhya,Ratnaketu, Amitabha and Amogha Siddhis. Kala-Chakrastands for the identification of human body with the universe.  The entire expanse with all its object and events is located really in one's own body and the time with its divisions,hour, day, night, month, year etc. is accommodated in the Pran currents that flow in the network of carriers.  By controlling prana currents the movement of fragmented time can be controlled. Thought alone can not help in this feat. It is the teachique of Pranayam-the graded breath-con-trol fortified by psychic centrality that the desired result can be obtained.  Invocat ory string of words' Om Ah Hum 'serves as a booster and accelerates the process of centrality.  In this way the sadhaka moves towards Maha Mudra " The great seal ' There are many ladders to ascend before the state of ' great seal ' is reached.  The stages of action seal-karam mudra-which impresses the  external reality and mind seal( Dharma Mudra ) which impresses the internal reality are regarded preparatory to Maha Mudra.  With the attainment of Maha Mudra the two earlier  realities get integrated and the Sadhaka attains the most rare state of mental poise.  The roots of the individual's attachment with the world get blasted. His longing  for phycial encasement is no more with him and he lives simply to liberate others from the senses-led earthly existence.  After the attainment of Bodhichitta-one lives for the welfare of others.  He gets identified with the cosmic forces of Nature and the ground he touches with his feet is allowed.  True greatness in spiritual fields can never be bound within the confines of a sect a philosophy or a religion.  It is the flowering of human soul and is independent of geography, History, space and time.  But the number of true greats is not very large and so for the purpose of enlistment and detailed study Tantric  sadhanas have been put to many schools.  In one sach division eight distinct schools of Saiva tantra have been mentioned.  They are Pasupata,Lakulisa, Saiva Siddhanta, Vira Saiva,Nandikesvara, Rasesvara Saiva, Trika Saiva and Vishistadvaitya Saiva of Sri  Kantha.  It would be appropriate to mention here that although Sakta schools form a separate category yet there is so much overlapping that both these schools have been put together, more so because of simillar thought contents and rituals.  Maha Pndit Gopinath kaviraj has listed fourteen Saiva and Sakta schools.  It is a long list but since the very names throw sufficient light on the nature of ritu-als it is useful for a better understanding to give the names.  The fourteen schools are -Kapalika, Kalamukha,Karunika, Kalanala, Jangmarandra,  Bhairva, Bhatta,  Mahavrata, Soma, Vama,  Ksapanaka, Krama and kaula.  There are slight variations in names in certain tantric record,for example , Bhairva is named as Bharavi or Svacchand Bhairva as well.  Acharya  Ksemaraja in his commentary on vijnanabhairva Tantra has praised Kaula Siddhanta but lakshmi Dhar in his commentary on Saundrya Lahari has condemned Kaula philosophy as being anti-vedic and there-fore not acceptable.  Vbviously Kaula philosophy in its practical form had taken to certain rituals that were considered vulgar and impure by traditional  Tantra Pandits and as such it fell from the grace of the high -born.  One more reason that might have contributed to the sliding down of Kaula Tantra was its association with Siddhas and Tantrics coming from the lower ranks of the society.  In all schools of Tantra the element of super natural power forms the central theme.  In Kaula this element got an over -does and that is why it assumed a form that bordered on sorcery,witch-craft and demonolatory.  But as for the Philosophy part of Kuala Tantra it  does have a sound base and can be adjusted as one of the numberless off-schools of post -vedic thought variations.  Kaulacharya Bhairva Nand , Shivshankar  Swami  Nathan , The Tantric Sadhaka of Shivani's Bhairavi has been shown ash-smeared, naked-bodied with long matted hair.  His eyes are blood-shot under the influence of marijuana and perhaps also because  of the intensity of the inner search.  He sits amidst piles of dead human bodies and fondles the hissing cobra.  Lost in the mystic trance he sits stone-like firm and immovable in the cremation ground.  The shooting flames from the burning bodies add to the glow of his face.  Nothing disturbs his mental poise not even aneruption.  Both female co-dwellers Maya didi and Charan -one middle aged yet youthful and the other in early teens-fail to arouse any desire in the heart of Bhairvvanand-the Sahajiya Siddha- who moves naked with the unconcern of a child.  Of course , he gets moved when Chandan , the moon-faced beauty , is introduced in the Aghori settingsof the novel.  But that is a dramatic part of story development.  Indian Mythology offers innumerable examples of deities and saintts who fall prey to the shooting arrows of doe-eyed maidens.  This is what happens to yogi Kumargiri in Chitralekha and we can get examples of this type in the Scarlet letter ( Nathiel Hawthorn), the Thais ( Anatole  France ) and she (Andre Zeid ) .  The philosophy of Bhairvanand is perfectly sound and in line with great Indian thought -pattern.  A look at what he writes in English and gives it to Chandan for translation will make the point amply clear.  ' I am the Lord of all my senses/ all attachments have I shed / Even freedom lures me not / changeless am I formless/And omnipresent / I am Shiva ,Shiva is in me .' And ' into the fire , which is the Supreme self -brightened by the pouring of the ghee of merit and dement -I by the path of sushamna, ever sacrifice the functions of the senses.  Using the mind as the ladle'.  This is philosophy of the soundest order and there is noting Anti-Vedic in it. ( Continued in next issue )

Sunday, 18 March 2018


                                  A synthesis was effected.  New connotational ranges emerged in recital and  actional processes and as is natural Buddhism lost some of its transcendental glory.  It became more earthy and Tantra Cult took a big leap.  The concept of Bodhisattva appeared to be more plausibile to the thinkers of the time as it could accommodate many a claim of divine lineage.  In one of the Sadhanas, Vadiraja-Manjusri sadhana,the devotee becomes Bodhisattva, Manjusri, looks upon the world with wisdom and compassion and renews his vow to liberate all being.  But the severities of weather and uncertainties of life made.  It  necessary to offer short term solutions as liberation needed a long wait and was of illusory nature to common mind.  The world seemed peopled with capricious and hostile spirits.  The spells, miracles and Siddhis, therefore, had to be woven in the matrix of abstract thought.  The deep meanings were meant for superior brains.  In common terms anyone who could bend the course of nature and do something bordering on the miraculous was a Siddha and an expert in Tantra.  This concept is still in vague among  a vast mass of humanity in India.  Since Buddhismitself was a kind of down to earth approach in comparison to post vedic sophistication and elitism of Brahamnic traditions the Tantra Sastra opened its door to all  sections  of the populace and tended to be unbrahamnicin academic slant.  Nagarjuna's pupil Sabra-Pa was a hunter.  He too attained siddhahood and it was he who introduced Kurukulla Sadhana ,a ritual concerning the mountain goodess of the jungle tribes.  This goodess had trans-Himalayan antecedents and in due course she got identifird with Tara.  Sabra-Pa's disciple  Lui-Pa became a legendary Siddha and was known as saint  Matsyendra Nath who is said to be the founder of Nath cult in the entire North East region.  It is widely held that Asanga was the originator of Vajrayana but certain scholars hold that Guhiya Samaj Tantra was mainly either the work of Saraha or of Nagarjuna.  The Nath cult with a saivite bias and the Siddha cult with wider deity framework worked out numerous points of contact and a kind of synthesis was effected to be a Siddha it was immaterial to which sect one belonged.  Those who worked towards the realization of Samaya Mudra were equally eligible for Siddhahood.  Some of the great Siddhas,besides the ones mentioned above , are Kauba-Pa, Darika-pada, Vajraghanta, Kukkuri Pada, Gambhir Vajra Pito Pada ,Taila Pada and Nada Pada.  This brings us to Guhya SamajTantra, a reference work for Vajrayana Tantric subtleties the adjective guhya stands for things secretive, for bidden and ignoble.  In the text there is an explanation of the title itself.  The samaj assembly is a gathering of Bodhisattvas, Thathagatas and enlightened ones and guhya refers to the three-fold entity of body ,speech and mind.  In the ordinary run of life these entities lead to work at cross purposes but tamed and trained they can be interlocked.  The vajra Mudra' leads to supreme bliss-the release of infinite spiritual energy.  So the adjective guhya has sublime connotational range and has to be understood in the Tantric context.  Now, while talking of Siddhas it was mentioned that there were different varieties of them.   There were Natha Siddhas, Rasa Siddhas, Mahesvara Siddhas, Saiva Siddhas and Sangata Siddhas.  The last variety had a very pronounced Buddhist slant and worked very hard for adamantine integration of body speech and mind.  So its appears that guhya samaj is a work belonging to Sangati group and it was meant for samveta Gana-collective singing.  In the post-vedic period India India had developed the tradition of expounding philosophies after posing a question-on the nature of cosmic causations kenopanishad , for example ,starts with Kana'By whom'? meaning there by what is the supreme spirit ? and then goes on to tell 'The supreme spirit is that by which the mind thinks,it is not one of the concepts that can be conceived by the mind, but it is that by which ,indeed, one is able to think through his mind. It is that which enables the eyes to see, the ear to hear,the breath to move.  These functions themselves depend on Brahaman ,and therefore, are these senses and the mind unable to comprehend the Brahaman.  Do not take this body that one has to feed and look after for the soul.  Life is not the aggregate of the functions of the body but a function of the Highest Spirit , in as much as not a thought or a breath or a glance is possible without the Supreme Agent-------
( Continued in next issue)

Saturday, 17 March 2018


                                                       In the Mahayana Pantheon Tara is the spouse of Avalokitesvara.  Tara captured the imagination of Indian Tantrics. She was worshipped both in fierce and mild form for centuries she ruledsupreme in Tantric circles in kamrup.  Bang and Mithila regions.  Tara's invocatory Mantra-Dharani or shell, 'Om Tare Tuttare,Svaha ' became the most favourite cult-coinage of Tantric sadhakas. Even today the tantric invocation of Tara is one of the most effective methods of wish fulfilment in Tantric puja and japa.  That the invocation of Tara does bring the desired result,even if it is not strictly moral, can be read in Parti Parikatha by Phanisvara Nath Renu.  The accuracy of forged signatures could not be disputed even by top handwriting experts as the power of Mother  Tara lent the signatures a perfect identity with the real hand.  As Sambhota, the great, was well versed in the practices of ' Bon ' pre- Buddhist Tibetcult, he brought the pantheon of female deities to India and the most gifted ,elusive and bountiful of them all' Tara' took a liking to India and became the presiding deity of Tantric rituals.  The story goes that the Tibetan monarch Srongbtsan-sgam -po( 569-650A.D.) had exotic tastes and he took two women to be his royal consort-one from Nepal and the other from China.  It was at their instance, for they had Buddhist learnings , that Sambhota was sent to Nalanda.  He brought several Mahayana texts to Tibet and a specially developed script for his people.  This is why Tibetan script is phonetic like Sanskrit although Tibetan speech is Mongoloid and tonal.  Pictorial symbols for sounds never got established there.  In china of the early Christian Era books were prepared in scroll form where as in India it was the palm-leaves model that prevailed .  Tibet took to Indian model.  It was however after many centuries that Buddhismgot firmly established as Tibet.  It was the visit of Dipankara Srijnava-known in Tibet as Asita ' The great master '  that Tibet finally took to Buddhism.  ' Bon ' was not altogether uprooted, no cult having religious association ever does.  It left its traces on Mahayana and that is why Tibetan cult of Tantra took to certain modifications in names as well as  practices.  It would not be out of place to dwell a little more on the life and achievements of Dipankara, President of Vikaram Sila University around 1042A.D.The Tibetan ruler of the time ye-ses-od, having heard of the great Dipankara Srijnava , sent two scholars of repute to request his visit to Tibet.  Dipankara was in his early sixties at the time.  He did not feel inclined to move to a difficult terrain but having been urgently pressed by the emissaries he ultimately yielded.  He reached Tibet in 1042,learnt Tibetan and translated Sanskrit texts in Tibetan. His conduct and learning made a deep and lasting impress on the Tibetan royalty and priesthood Tibet went into raptures over him.  He was recognised as the incarnation of Boddhisattava Manjusri.   Tibet called him  in hushed reverence' The noble lord ' ( jo- Bo -rje ).  The number of Tantric texts in Tibet is and has been a matter of long controversy.  The two, collections named -Bkoh-Gyur and bastan-bgyur contain over four thousand five hundred texts.  Three fourths of these texts are of Indian origin -mostly translations from Sanskrit  works written by pandits of Nalanda , Vikramsila and Odantipura.  And what is note worthy is the fact that translators, both Indian and Tibetan, were old alumni of these Universities  in the true spirit of seekers of knowledge and their devotion to their teachers was unmatched.  It would be revealing to mention one such incident     narrated by the noted writer, explorer and interpreter Mahapandit Rahul sankratyana-an unforgettable name in the field of creative thought.  Nalanda University flourished till 1205 A.D. when it was suddenly and totally destroyed by the invading Muslim Army.  A great number of Pandits and Mahapandits was put to sword.  Many fled away aand took to hiding.  Rahul Sri Bhadra , Professor of Nalanda,who was about eighty years old continued to live at Nalanda even when the University had already been battered and lay in ruin.  He was supported by a Brahmin  nobleman, Jayadeva,of odantipura Things got hot for Jaideva too Rahul Sri Bhadra did not feel inclined to leave the place at that late stage in his life although he knew for certain that he was to be tortured and beheaded.  His young Tibetan disciple known by his Indian  name Dharma Swami persuaded him to leave the place and it was Dharma Swami persuaded him to leave the place and it was Dharma Swami who carried his old teacher on his back along with a supply of rice, sugar and some books to be ruined temple not far from Nalanda.  Mahapandit Rahul brought yalk loads of Buddhist manusripts from Tibet during his trekking of the central Pamir Region and his story was recovered from a monastery  in central Tibet.  The basic tantric texts that from the core of Tibetan tantric studies are Hevajra Tantra, Abhidhanottra, Kalachakr a and Panchkarma.  It is more than clear that Tibetan Tantric tradition is heavily dependent on Indian sources and the essentials that from the central theme of thought development are the same.  The first Panchen Lama1570-1662 A. D. compiled the root texts of combined Indian and Tibetan tradition and described it is the main path all the Buddhas have travelled.  This main path is Mahayana Buddhismformented by ' Bon rituals'.Now Swastika, the most symbolic of all tantric symbols, was already there in ' Bon' although it had the name of Gyung-Drung and was left handed whereas in Buddhist tradition it is right -handed.  The legend of the flying mountains whose wings were clipped by the king of gods-Indra-as known in India was also there in ' Bon'.  The only difference being the replacement of Indra by wizard sorcerer.  Sacrifices were there and so were elaborate rituals with drawings and odd vestments.  Many beliefs bordered on the weird.  There was demonolalatory and fetishism .  With the import of Nalanda thought -' Bon ' under went a purging process.  
( Continued in next issue )

Thursday, 15 March 2018


                                     Siddha Cult has to be understood in the context of vajra yana thought as it is closely associated with it.  Vajrayana sprang up from Mahayana which was the main philosophic pursuit of the academics in the universities of Vikramsila, Nalanda and Odantipura in fifth and sixth century A.D.for over a thousand years the austere teachings of Buddha had held the sway over the guilds of monks.  Times had changed  and the middle path suggested by Buddha  did not offer any scope for experimentation.  The control over senses had continued for too long  and the mass phychology demanded the display of powers bordering on the super-sensuous.  It was at this stage  that the Tantric element entered significantly into the teaching of the great founder.  Nalanda was founded around 425 A.D. and vikramsila a little later than Nalanda.  These universities  were known for excellence during those days just the way Harvard and Oxford are known in the modern Context.  It was difficult to get an entry into the portals of these universities are entrance tests were conducted by Dwar-pandits at each one of the four entry points.  The univarsity of Vikramasila achieved eminence during the regime of king Samkara ( 955-983 A.D. ) It is on record that the great Ratnakara Santi ( Acharya Santi ) Controlled the Eastern gate, Mahapandita  Prajna Karamati regulated the entry at western gate and the greatest of them all Mahapandit Nada Pada screened the desirous scholars at the Northern gate.  Obviously it were only the very deserving who could make a point.   The reputation of Nalanda was as great , If not greater , as that of Vikramasila.  Nalanda at that time was busy with numerous Mahayana deities it's reputation reached Tibet and the Tibetan Monarch sent Thom-misambhota- the greatest genius and scholar of Tibet who gave the country its script , to Nalanda around 640 A.D. to learn Tantra Sastra and to develop  a script for Tibetans.  Tibet had already a religion of murmuring spells 'Bon '.  This cult of murmuring spells ' Bon ' ( pronounced pean ) was the most widely accepted faith in Tibet before  the advent of Buddhism.  Naturally the Tibetan monarch felt interested in Tantra-cult and sent the most capable of allscholars, sambhota, to India.  sambhota's visit to India has been repeatedly mentioned in Tibetan records of the  time.  Of many divinities that were being studied at Nalanda the one that appealed to Sambhota'simagination was Avalokitesvara .  The concept of Bodhisattva had taken deep roots in Mahayana tradition.  Avalokitesvara,a manifestation of Buddha was said to reside on mount ' Potalka ' somewhere in south India.  Sambhota is said to have made a trip to south India and perhapsgot a vision of Avalokilesvara.   It has however not been ascertained as to where mount'Potalka ' stood although both Indian and Tibetan sources suggest that It was in south India.  Different opinions have been expressed about the exact location of the mountain.  According to Chunningham it was a Malakuta, a tract between Tanjore and Travancore.  Nanda Lal Deo fixes it at western ghat, N. Dutta at Kottayam and some other locate it in Dhanyakataka.  We hace discussed mount potalka with some details because the Dalai Lama's place in Lha-sa was named Potalka for the dalai Lama is considered to be an incarnation of Avalokitesvara.  We have also talked of Tantric tradition in Tibet with some details for while discussing Tantra Sastra we can not overlook Tibetan tradition which, infact,runs parallel to Indian thought and is very  much similar to it .  We have already stressed the point that Tantra is not region specific nor race specific.  The fact that many of our Tantric texts have been recovered from Tibetan Monasteries make it all the more relevant that Tibetan tradition should not be over-looked.  Sambhota took Avalokitesvara from India to Tibet more specifically from Nalanda and South India but Sambhota gave India Tara -the most sought after female deity of the school of Tantrics.
(Continued in next issue )

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


                                                It has been stated that a true Tantric with  the halp of awakened inner powers aroused by prescribed Sadhana gets acuainted with high and low beings-the opeative forces of good and bad things in the universe.  These powers keep a watch ;as it were, on the self-propelled karma Chakra -which operates as a manifestation of the Absolute-Mahasakti or Mahakal.  In a given situation a tantric can choose to put his powers or Siddhis to use in the interest of common good and welfare by taking the services of high beings to side-track the disasters and disturbances caused by low beings or towards off the evils of natural genre.  This use of siddhis is the subject-matter of many popular discourses related to the life-stories of not only great Tantrics but saints of almost all hues. The  miracles, therefore, have become invariably associated with all great Tantrics  of yore and of the present century as well.  In India where nothing moves without the sanction of divinity It is an uphill task to rotationalise the events in a secular perspective.  Not only the fortunes of individuals but the biggest upheavals of History and nature are supposed to be tied to the pleasure and displeasure of high beings.  A Tantric is therefore a mighty instrumentof change-social, political and cultural -In Indian context there are examples of mighty kings like Bhoja ( 11th century), Somesvara( 12th century) and vijay Nagar rulers who put the great Tantric of their time to devise Yantras, and put the power of Mantras to ensure common welfare and victories in war- fares.  In fact, Tantric practices  of this nature go back to the very dawn of History.  Not only Indians , Chinese and Iranians, but the Greeks the Semitics , The Negroites and the celts all sought the help of occult powers.  So a Tantric who is said to be the  wielder of super-sensupus powers must occupy a prominent place on the central stage of power map in most countries of the world.  Now let us take up the Sastric view of a Siddha.
                           The Siddhas constitute an interesting and colourful chapter in the History of Indian thought.  It is believed and insisted upon in esoteric circles that there are a million of them but accounts of only eighty four of them have been traced and even these accounts,In many cases ,are sketchy and unrealiable.  However certain names have proven historic significance and are referred as father figures in the field of certain branches of science.  Siddhas got their name as they were proven masters of Siddhis.  In normal day to day parlance' Siddhi stands for English language equivalent of noun' achievement but in Tantric context Siddhi is usually taken in the sense of rendering the body immutable with the halp of occult and alchemic preparations.  This involves transnutation of the physical body,revitalizing and  spiritualizing its essence so that it becomes vajra, a veritable dismond. Now it is common knowledge that diamond cuts everything else and itself remains uncut.  This is the state of perfect liberation while being still alive.  It is obvious that such a great perfectionist of Tantramust belong to a very high order and must be made of a far superior stuff.  This is , perhaps, the reason why miracles got associated with every Siddha.  In fact some Siddha who figure among the galaxy of the great eighty four were thinkers of a very high calibre with pronounced scientific bent.  For example ,the celebrated Nagarjuna was a Siddha.  This much is certain that he came from the Southern part of India although it can not be said with definiteness from which southern region be came.  During those times Nalanda University in Magadh region was at the Zenith of its glory.  Talent from all over the eastern world was draw to it .  Nagarjuna studied at Nalandaand  and was most probably a disciple of Sarah Pada -a renowned Siddha in his own right.  It is said that for experiments in alchemy and performance -oriented Tantra be put himself to regorous living at Sri Parvata -Nagarjun Konda in Andhra Pradesh for a considerable time.  When he attained perfection or near perfection he became a legend in his own life time.  He is said to have achieved the know -how of changing base.  Metals in to Gold and he was supposed to have been liberated fully from the constraints that The mortal frame of a human being is heir to.
(Continued in next issue---)

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


                                The entire Bhakti movement in general, Nirguna Saint poets in particular during the middle age,took the idea of the supremacy of Guru from Tantra sastra and equated him with God.  The much quoted couplet of Sant Kabir in which he gives precedence to Guru over lord himself with the plea that it was through Guru that the lord was realized is too well-known to be repeated.  It is the Guru who effects " Sakti Sanchar'.  with electrified transmission of him own Tejas the Guru provides the necessary boost for the launch of spiritual flight towards the starry stretches.  It was the wonder touch of Ramkrishna Param Hans that gave Narendra Vivekanand-the first glimpse or feel of the supreme bliss in which Param Hans permanently dwelt.  This is what Visvasara Tantra says, the appearance of Guru is the root of Dhyana , the lotus foot of Guru is the root of Puja, the word of Guru is the root of Mantra and the grace of Guru is te root of Siddhi.  Yogini Tantra says that Guru is the manifestation of the Absolute.  It is his pleasure and his competence that decide the final outcome of the spiritual journey.  The grossest sin in Tantra is the slandering of Guru and there is no expiation force.  Guru has to be chosen with the greatest  care and the search for a guru can take a searcher to distant lands and wildernesses.  There are two broad divisions of preceptorial order.  There are Siksa Gurus and there are diksa gurus.  In exceptional cases these two identities get merged in one and a living God in the form of a Guru is  traced. Tantric preachers of the highest standing-padmasambhava, Sant Rakshita Dipankara, Sambhota, Matsyendra, Nadapada , Nagarjuna etc. Belong to  this order, But enlightened souls do not visit the planet earth very frequently and as such a sadhaka is to have a firm grasp on the theoretical aspects under the guidance of a sastra expert and then sit at the feet of a competent Diksa guru who would initiate him in kriya-oriented Tantra. For Tantra as already pointed out is not only meditation.  It in a Natural science as well as a performing art.  Kularnava Tantra speaks of six kind of gurus.  These Kinds however haven't got distinguishing outlines and tend to overlap.  They seem to be spirals of ascent and have been presented in perceptional order in a  symbolic manner. These kind carry the names of Preraka, Suchaka, Vachaka, Darsaka, Siksaka and Bodhaka.  They, as the very names  suggest are closely inter related and can be treated as diversified sets of tantric performance which a guru is to make operative.
                              Tantra Sastra like medicine and astrology is verifiable at every step.  It is not the chase of will-the-wisp.  This is why it has been called-Pratyaksha sastra.  It is based upon a set of doctrines and its efficacy can be tested by any individual at any time and any stage.   In Tantra Sastra  theory does not occupy the three fourths of stage.  Rathore Theory retires after performing the introductory part and then kriyas occupy the central stage and continue to play ad-infinitum.  The Tantra provides for a graded system of Sadhana according to the competence-adhikara of the seeker.  It does not horrify the seeker of truth in early stages with subtleties of upnishadic nature.  Spiritual exhortations of epigrammatic coinage such as the part that makes up the individual comes out of the whole and the stuff of which it is made is of such a transcendental nature that the whole remains whole, in spite of something being taken   out of the whole. Again though what is taken out is but a part,it is as whole as the original. The axioms of Mathematics relating to the whole and the part do not apply to the absolute and its manifestation( lsavasyopanishad ) do not distract him from performance of preliminary nature that would open the complexities of more rewarding kriyas and resultant body control leading  to mental discipline.  With puja, Japa and Dhyana-as revealed to him by his Diksa guru-The Tantra Sadhaka reaches the Siddhi stage.  This stage itself has many steps and for every upward climb specialpractices of breath,body,word senses and mind control and required.  Let it be understood that the Siddhi realization is only a trap,a mirage and those who get bewitched get lost.  Of course, Siddhi realization does give a consciousness of the right direction that would lead to the next higher stages.  Siddhis of great Tantrics have been major factor in popularising Tantra among masses.  There  is however a mighty difference between the concept of a Siddha in popular mind and the concept of Siddha  as enunciated in tibetan Tantric tradition which will be outlined in due course to emphasise the essential oneness of Tantra thought .
(Continued in Next issue )

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Continued ----------------
                                                 In Indian thought -Chronology one more positive aspect of Tantra Practice was the fact, that if one got the right type of Guru, one did not need to undergo long period of the preparatory training.  The  critics can pick a point here and say that by opening the doors to laity Tantra Sastra fell down a step or two from the high pedestal it stood on and got itself polluted.  But let them remember that the quest for one's inner energy is the fundamental right of every individual and not the monopoly of the privileged few.
                                                  One of the most weighty factors that establishes the supremacy of the Tantra Sastra in the modern context of life standards is its balanced approach towards Samsara-the material world with all its paraphernalia. Unlike the great Shankara's philosophy of treating the world as illusion-Maya and as suchto be shunned and discarded Tantra treats it is a stepping stone towards higher bliss.  True , that the world is not the ultimate end-truth , that sensuous pleasures are not a enduring substance yet they have to be lived and enjoyed without getting lost in them and they have to be made the stimulants of higher mental activities that would lift a true Sadhaka from morass to sublimity in due course of time. Samsara  is not a hill for a Tantric.  He knows that it is there and it would continue to be there.  It can not be escaped as imaginary escapes lead to boomeranged bondages.  The universe is not Maya but an expression of Brahman in the eyes of a Tantric rightly perceived it never veils but reveals Brahman .  It is the required material and chosen field for Sadhana.  Tantra Sastra does not see a hell in women.  It takes her to be an embodiment of divinely charged components.  It is through the sensuous that supersensuous is to be attained. This attitude in its sweep and range can provide even a non-practising Tantra believer with the ideal code of conduct for the journey of life.  A Tantric ,it is widely believed , gets acquainted with the supersensuous powers of nature.  These Powers like the woven matrix of the universe  are both good and bad.  He, if he has learnt to walk on the razor's  edge-a spiritualbalancing of the  highest order,teaches himself how to utilize the services of the high towards off the evils of the low.  After  all , the path thad leads to ultimate reality, is through the crowded happenings of the material world,and impediments on the way have to be cleared  off.  This knowledgeis essential for the pilgrim on the path to Shaktipeeth Tantra Shastra therefore is not total renunciation . It is not an exclusive penance of total isolation.  It is a sastra to be made applicable to the happpenings around with a view to increasing the total goods against the total evil.  A Tantric therefore is a highly gifted versatile individual who is adept at numerous techniques of sublime order and has a very deep acquaintance with related disciplines of Alchemy, Astronomy, Astrology, Herbiology and Metallurgy.  He is in touch with the cosmic laws of nature .  He was first in the world to use Mercury, snake- poison and the metals as medicine.  But before he becomes an adept , a sidha, a divinity in human form , a Bodhi Sattva in Buddist tradition, he must have got the blessing and transmitted Tejas -superior energy of a true preceptor -a guru .  Let us have a look at the concept of Guru outlined in tantra texts.  Infact , the importance of Guru was already there in Vedanta and Tantra being a Pratyaksha sastra neededa guru all the more.  In Taittiriyopanishad Acharya has been placed on equal pedestal with mother and father.  ' Matra Devo Bhav. " " Pitra Devo Bhav. " " Acharya Devo Bhav. " In Tantra Sastra Guru is the manifesation of Mahakala . He rises a step higher from Vedantic hierarchy.This might be because of excessive increase in the number of bliss seekers most of whom must have been men and women without roots in the spiritual traditions.
(Continued in next issue )