The Method and Significance of Tantra

  • By Swami Kritarthananda
  • March 2016
  • 1722 views

Editor: Prabuddha Bharata, the magazine from the Ramakrishna Mission came out with a special issue in January 2016 titled ‘Reflections on Tantra’. Esamskriti is uploading select articles from this masterpiece issue. If you like to download the entire issue (one with brown cover) Click here

Excerpts from article – “Before we launch into a long discussion on the tantras, it will be quite fitting to acquaint the readership with the influence and sense of high adoration this important branch of study evoked in some of the greatest souls of yesteryears. Such eulogy will free the minds of all from the age-old misconceptions preached by the detractors about the purity and importance of the tantras.

A lot of misunderstanding about the lefthanded path called vamachara mentioned above has developed in the course of time. It is partly due to an ignorance of the principle behind that and partly due to its abuse. It is not meant for one with outgoing mental currents, who has not subdued one’s base desires, and not cut the three knots of ‘shame, hatred, and fear’. Only one endowed with the vira-bhava disposition, one who has succeeded in awakening the dormant serpent power, kundalini, is competent to ‘play with fire’ and burn his bonds with it. For the aspirant with a predominance of the divya-bhava there does not exist any bond in substance; so no question arises as to burning the bonds. The mere semblance of such bonds is dissolved in the ‘ocean of nectar.

One aspect of tantric discipline is the practice with five m’s, namely, madya, wine; mamsa, meat; matsya, fish, mudra, signs, cereal fries, or closure of evil company, and maithuna, ritual sexual union. These five articles have different significance for different classes of aspirants”.

The article includes Etymology and Origin, The Yamalas (a class of Tantric literature), Mantra and Diksha, Varnamala, Shabda and Speech, The Significance of Sri-yantra and Epilogue.

Author is a monk at Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math.

To read article in PDF format.

This article was first published in the Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata (www.advaitaashrama.org). I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it enlightening. You can subscribe online at www.advaitaashrama.org. Cost is Rs 100/ for one year, Rs 280/ for three years, Rs 1,200/ for twenty years and Rs 2,000 for twenty five years.