Contemporary Shakta Tantra

  • By Dr. Subhasis Chattopadhyay
  • June 29, 2023
  • How is a Tantric supposed to live and what are his powers. What is the aim of Tantra. Are Tibetan Buddhism and Shakta  Tantra similar?

Why is it that most Tantrics go insane or finally die without having realised Shakti within themselves?


The two main reasons for this are that Tantra is being widely practised without the help of a perfected Guru and further, Tantra is being practised by little adherence to our Scriptures. Our Scriptures do not only include only the Tantras and the Agamas but also the triad of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras. One should add to these the vital Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.


This hankering to be known in the world as a Tantric is contrary to the injunctions found in our Scriptures. The Tantras themselves prohibit this practise of Tantra without the help of a Guru. And the Tantras without exception gesture towards non-qualified non-dualism, or monism.


They are monist treatises which need extensive study, and they all require a personal sanctity and humility without which practising their injunctions will lead to certain insanity in the sadhaka. The aim of Tantra is not healing others first or to help others first.


The aim of Tantra is first and foremost to help oneself in realising that there is no difference between the human person in the here and the now and the Holy Mother. Then Tantric siddhis are to be exclusively used to help others realise the purpose of their human lives. The only purpose for our existence is to realise the monist or Advaita Vedantic Mahavakyas without leaving one’s home. 


Unlike monks and nuns, a Tantric realises Vedantic Mahavakyas within the storm and whirlwind of samsara, or the world.


So, what is the first step to purify the mind if one wants to practise Tantra? It is a healthy disregard for the things of the world --- a Tantric practitioner will not enter into extra-marital relationships, will try to be self-controlled and practise the non-receipt of gifts totally. The practitioner will also not even think of the occult. The occult is within the domain of magic and Tantra has nothing to do with magic.


Tantra has everything to do with experiencing Shakti in the present moment. So repetitive remembrance of various forms of the Holy Mother are necessary while discharging one’s duties as a householder. Then gradually it is needed for the beginner to see dead bodies. Why? Slowly one will realise that a body without a soul is nothing but inert matter. This also leads to a sense of inner renunciation and blurs the line between death and life. Slowly it will remove the fear of death in the Tantric practitioner. The rest can only be taught by a self-controlled, self-realised Tantric Guru who has become a Bhairava. That is, one with Lord Shiva.


Under no circumstances one should foretell futures, desire to proceed in Tantric practices like invoking the Holy Yogini and Yakshini Mothers or, demonic forces. That way lies great self-harm. Under no circumstances should the injunctions of the Yoga Sutras and our Scriptures be broken. The moment one even thinks of say, using demonic forces to harm others, the practitioner will be destroyed and will be born as a lonely and hungry ghost after death and be one for millions of years to come. Till someone very holy releases these hungry ghosts or pretas, they will remain thus for Yugas or aeons on end. Few survive after meeting even the least of the pretas.


Forget getting all dressed up in black or red and lecturing the world on social media and YouTube about Tantric experiences. The Matrikas and the Yogini Mothers first test a sadhaka. Generally, once one sees one of these Mothers in person, then one forgets one has a human family. Thousands have been tried by them and turned insane. Not because they turned the sadhaka insane. It is because of their beauty from being emanations of the Holy Mother, that one forgets that they are our Mothers. While we and our spouses age, the Mothers do not.


Everything that a sadhaka wants will be given by the Mothers to the practitioner? But then what? It is important thus to first think of all women and men except one’s spouse as mothers, sisters and daughters or brothers, fathers, and sons respectively, to cease drinking, accumulating wealth or even hear the laughter of the opposite sex except one’s spouse’s. This is just the first step of Tantric spirituality.  


Because all relatives, friends and even one’s own children are not one’s own. After this long practice under the supervision of a heroic Guru, can one request one of the Mothers to help the sadhaka to remove all desires. Then one should practise detachment from one’s own family. This is an ancient ascetical practice known technically as practicing 'hatred for one's own family'. Here, no actual hatred is involved; just an effort to consider everyone else other than one's own family as one's own.


The first boon to ask is always to help the sadhaka accept the Will of the Holy Mother now and always. Unless this is done, the force of our desires will make us ask for something of importance in this passing world. That is, instead of release from samsara, we will invariably ask for something unimportant like longevity or a happy family or more wealth.  The second boon to ask is that one should never use Tantra for oneself and only for the good of all beings in this and other universes. The last boon to be asked is that our Dharma be preserved.


In reality, our innate tendencies are such that we ask from our own Mothers worldly things like the power to foretell the future and to have momentarily happy lives. And the degraded ones even mistake and ask the Mothers to become their spouses. Thus, opens up the roads to the various hells.


So, what do Tantrics do with their powers? The holy and perfected ones perform exorcisms; help people in distress and remove obstacles which come in the way of self-realisation or moksha for those who seek moksha. If someone is happy with wealth, a Tantric adept will not stop the seeker for wealth from getting wealthier with the caveat that the Tantric Master will not take any money or use it to increase his wealth.  If someone wants fame, that too will be granted without bringing fame to the practitioner.


Finally, Tantrics have to use their powers to release beings from samsara. That is, if it is the Will of the Holy Mother then sentient beings need to be hastened to mukti. If and only if our Dharma is threatened and all other means of preserving it is lost; then the six kinds of Tantric actions can be performed legitimately. Tantra has the power to finish societies where Tamas has become so strong that nothing other than Tantra will work. For instance, it is absolutely valid to use Tantra to get the wealth needed for preserving our Faith as the Tibetan Master Ra Lotsāwa did for preserving the Buddha Dharma in Tibet during the tenth century AD. Guru Ra Lotsāwa had learnt Tantric techniques from India, at both Nalanda and elsewhere.


It is not for nothing that to date Tibetan Masters use their Tantric powers to preserve the Buddha Dharma. 


According to Tibetan Buddhism or Vajrayana, Gautama the Buddha, spoke about Tantra to his future Tibetan disciples. Thus, we need to understand that Tantra predates even the Sakya Muni, Gautama the Buddha. Practising Shakta Tantrics believe that Tantra predates even the Vedas. No Shakta Tantric believes that Tantra came into being during the late seventh century AD. They might have been written down then, but Tantra has existed in earlier aeons. They are eternal Truths.


So, what does our Faith teach of this holiest of holy margas of worship? It lays a lot of emphasis on being a contemplative in action. That is, someone immersed in the world helping others while not belonging to the world. Again, we need to keep in mind that this is a Guru-centric path; so, nothing much is actually written down and neither should be. It is prudent to not get involved in Shakta Tantra unless one can actually help a person have mukti after annihilating that person/pashu. Ra Lotsāwa annihilated beings whose very existence would be harmful to themselves because their demonic actions would make them go to various hells if they were not helped. And due to their worldly attachments, they were against Buddha Dharma.


Contemporary Shakta Hindu Tantra has a long lineage which includes the Indian lineages of Guru Ra Lotsāwa. It is a matter of some concern that our own Tantras have been preserved in Tibet and now practised globally whereas our own people hardly know of Tantra. It is not for nothing that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama gives public Tantric initiations and instructions.


Since Tantra is Yoga and Yoga is Tantra; it is best to let Tantra be. This author is astonished so many online had supernatural experiences and yet they could not remove COVID 19!!


Harih Om.

This article has been written because this author’s Guru wants this known to the world. This author requests no personal interaction about Tantra from anyone.


Author Subhasis Chattopadhyay has a Ph.D. in Patristics and the Problem of Evil in American Horror Literature from the University of Calcutta. His reviews from 2010 to 2021 in Prabuddha Bharata have been showcased by Ivy League Presses. He has qualifications in Christian Theology and Hindu Studies and currently teaches English Literature in the PG and UG Department of a College affiliated to the University of Calcutta. He also has qualifications in Behavioural Sciences.


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