Evolution of Tantra

Geographical  Account
Coming back to the geographical division of tantras,  Sammohana Tantra, as mentioned before, divides tantras into 4 classes viz  Kerala, Kasmira, Gauda and Vilasa. Kerala is said to prevail in countries from  Anga to Malava, the Kashmira class from Madra to Nepala, Gauda from Silahatta  to Sindu while Vilasa is found everywhere. Further, Mahasidhashastra tantra  divides Bharata varsha into three areas viz Vishnu Kranta, Ratha kranta and  Ashwa kranta. Shakti-mangala tantra says, land east of Vindhyas up to Java is Vishnu  kranta, land north of Vindhyas up to maha-china is Ratha kranta and rest of  place to west is Ashva kranta.

From the above accounts it becomes clear that, Kashmira,  Kerala and Gauda (Bengal) are the three most prominent zones where tantras  flourished. In Bengal, Tantrika system had always been prominent.  And influence of Vedic culture had been  minimal. But the tantrika system here is also very much different from that of  Kashmira and Kerala. It is the center of Kulachara, with its seat at  Kamarupapitha, where upasana of KaLi is pursued. So, in the region of Gauda,  KaLi-kula is dominant. In the Kerala School, we have the worship of  Tripurasundari, that is, Sri-kula is dominant here. But in Kashmira School,  both the forms of worship are in evidence. The philosophical aspect of Tantras  dominates in Kashmira, the practical in Bengal while in South we have a mixture  of both.

No account of evolution of tantras is incomplete without  mentioning about influence of tantras in other countries. Sammohan tantra,  speaks of tantrika practices in countries like Bahlika, Kirata, Cina, Mahacina,  Kamboka, Huna, Yavana, Gandhara, Nepala etc This does not mean, Indian tantras  were present in all those places, (even though in some places they were indeed  present), but just that some kind of esoteric practices similar to Indian  tantras were present in those countries. This should give an idea about how  tantrika system is vast and has integrated itself with every aspect of Hindu  way of life.

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