About the Book
Tantra sadhana includes the recitation of mantras performance of rituals through yantras and an adjustment of one self of the particular degree of reality, which is the specific meaning of degree of reality which is the specific meaning of tantra. In this process one has to learn many mimor details directly from the guru. The purification of the body, the mind and one’s social relations are all impotant preparations for the sadhana . the usual shodashopachara-puja or the sixteen-limbed worship addressed to a deity, is also the procedure applicable to anything and everything that one adores regards, or loves. By worship,one seeks union with the deity through an abolition of the separation of oneself from the deity.the mysterious processes called nyasa (anga-nyasa and kara-nyasa) are,again,inward techniques of feeling the object inoneself, the Deity in one’s own being. All this would make it abundantly clear that the tantra sadhana is as highly scientific and precise, as it is difficult and dangerous. This is its speciality.
About the Author:
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Saga Appayya Diskhita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.
His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, Saint, Sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament Reliogions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
The system called Tantra has been always regarded as an esoteric and a secret way of spiritual practice, not accessible to the untrained one and to the common folk. The secrecy about the practice seems to consist in the noble outlook of life which the Tantra requires the seeker to entertain, a way of looking at thing different from the one in which people are generally accustomed to see, interpret and evaluate things. The teachers of the Tantra hold that a seeker on this path has to outgrow the social and even the human outlook and develop a superhuman and divine outlook in respect of things. Since this would be to expect too much from the common man in the world, Tantra is supposed to be a closed secret whose gates can be opened only with the key provided by a competent Guru.
The philosophy of the Tantra is based on the concept of a dual nature of everything. Nothing is single, but everything is bi-polar. The so-called unity of things is only a form taken by a particular manner of the coming together of two forces, Siva and Sakti, we may say, the positive and the negative poles. In order to understand this mystical conception of the universe, we may refer to the traditional doctrine of the Puranas, the Manusmriti and the Mahabharata, that in the beginning there was a universal Uni-Cell, as it were, known as the Brahmanda, which split into two, one part of which was the Cosmic Man and another part the Cosmic Woman. We may cal these parts Siva and Sakti, if we so wish. Even our modern science seems to be corroborating this view when it holds that in the beginning the universe was a sinqle Atom, which split into two and then into the multiplicity 0f the present form of the universe. Since the two parts and their subsequent sub-divisions actually belong to a whole there is a natural pull exerted by each on the other, there is a mutual attraction between the positive and the negative poles, both at the cosmic level and its lowe multiple forms of descent, even down to the atom, which today we learn is constituted of a bi-polar structure with a nucleus in the centre and electrons revolving round it in a most mysterious way. The behaviour of the two parts 0f any single organism seems to be a double attitude of the consciousness of duality and unity at the same time. There cannot be attraction between the positive and the negative unless they form two poles, and not a single something, and yet, at the same time, there cannot be this attraction if they are absolutely two different things withou a basic unity operating in and between them. This is the mystery and the difficulty in understanding the phenomenon known as attraction, usually called love 0r affection in common language.
While the concept of Siva and Sakti, in its highest essence, represents the Supreme Cosmic Duality, and one can imagine only attraction and love operating there so that Siva and Sakti are considered as inseparable facets of a unitary reality sometimes known as Ardhanareesvara, the Cosmic Androgyne, the principle 0f repulsion, viz., dislike going with like, hatred going with love, will be seen at the lower levels where the bi-polar unity assumes a multiplicity of forms, so that one bi-polar unit cannot tolerate the interference or sometimes ever the presence of another such bi-polar unit, for fear of losing its isolated self-conscious bi-polar unity. This subtle operation can be seen manifest in its grosser forms when one family group finds it difficult to appreciate another family group and bestow equal love upon it, one organisation, one social group, and even one bi-polar individual, cannot look upon another such without some suspicion and reservation.
According to the doctrine of the Tantra, the sorrow of life is caused by a bi-polar existence, a split of the one into two, because the truth of things is oneness and not the dual existence in any of its forms. The dual form of life being, in a sense, an unnatural way of life, there is always an ambivalent attitude of like and dislike at the same time between one pole and another, love getting suppressed when hate supervenes, and hate being suppressed when love gains the upper hand, while the fact is that both these attitudes are present in an individual hiddenly and only one of the aspects comes to the surface as and when the occasion demands. To get back from duality to unity is the process of Tantra Sadhana. While this is the objective of every Sadhana, what is the speciality of the Tantra as distinct from other Sadhana in the achievement of this objective?
The distinction is very subtle, not easily noticed. In all forms of religious practice, mostly, there is an ascetic injunction towards a rejection of the outer for the sake of the inner, the material for the sake of the spiritual, a cutting off of every desire as a baneful obstacle to Sadhana, and a considering of every joy in life as an evil to be eradicated at the earliest opportunity. To the Tantra, the things of the world, the materia.l forms of perception, are not really obstacles, and a desire for them cannot be overcome by rejecting the desire itself. Everything in the world, the whole world itself, is a passage to perfection The visible is a way to the invisible and not an obstacle to it. Human desires arise on account of the unintelligent attitude man develops towards desire, and he has a fear of desire since he is being told that all desires are bad and all objects are bondages. The Tantra holds that the object is not a bondage, because of the fact that the object is inseparably related to the subject, the object is the other pole of which the subject is the complementary pole Every experience is a subject-object relation, and therefore, no one can even think of overcoming the consciousness of the object, except by a relationship already established with the object. Thus, the attempt at overcoming the object involves one in a vicious circle. No effort in the direction of a getting rid of the object is possible, inasmuch as there is already a consciousness 0f the presence of the object. Thus, comes in the great dictum of the Tantra, that desire can be overcome only by desire, even as the object can be overcome only by the object. The other aspect of this principle held by the Tantra is that "that by which one falls is also that by which one rises." (Yaireva patanam dravyaih siddhih taireva).
Here is the crux of the whole matter regarding the Tantra, which marks it off from other religious practices and forms of Sadhana. Why this practice is difficult and even dangerous, will be obvious from the nature of the doctrine, while conceding that the doctrine is perhaps highly rational and based on a deep psychology of human nature.
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