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A Sacred Exploration into The Kama Sutra
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What is Tantra?
What Does Tantra Mean?
Tantra comes from the Sanskrit words ‘tanoti’ which means “to stretch” and “Trayati” which means “to free or liberate”. So, the word Tantra basically means to expand the frontiers of apprehension and attain spiritual knowledge and liberation from the material world. The basic principle of Tantra is unity, which can be expressed in various forms, such as, the unity of self or to be in unity with the world.
The History of Tantra
Buddhists mainly Vajrayana Buddhists have always said that tantric practices were initially expounded by the Buddha. And there is a story that goes with the legend too; according to them, a king once approached Gautama Buddha and confessed that his responsibilities of being king did not allow him leave his birthright and start off his spiritual journey as a monk. He also complained how being in a privileged position, he was constantly surrounded with all sorts of temptations and which made his path to enlightenment even harder if he ever chose to take it. According to his followers, the Buddha responded by teaching the king Tantra, which enabled him to transform his physical pleasures into a form of transcendent realization. Since then, both Chinese versions of the Mahayana Buddhism, such as, Pure Land and Zen practice tantra but their applications are not as elaborate as they are in the Tibetan Tantra.
Yoga is said to be the technical application of the tantric principles, where it is believed that Tantra is the mother, while yoga is the son. In other words, yoga is the practical and methodical expression of the Tantric practice. By practicing yoga, a person can put themselves in a state of deliberate resonance with universal energies to achieve a higher state of spirituality. Whether a person uses Hatha, Mantra or some other Tantric practice, the main focus of working with these energies is for the individual to transform themselves into well balanced beings, whose souls are purified of negative thoughts, hence clearing the pathways of pure energy or “Nadis” along with the energy centers, which are also known as “Chakras”. Tantric yoga is mainly practiced so that an individual’s Kundalini Shakti can rise and the ultimate self-realization can occur.
Who are Shiva and Shakti?
While discussing Tantra and the concept of attaining spiritual unity, it is necessary to include both Shiva and Shakti, who represent both the masculine and feminine archetypes within ancient Hindu symbolism. While Shiva, who represents the man, is pure consciousness, Shakti, the woman, on the other hand is the sole power of creation. This means that she is basically the energy which combines with his power of thought before manifesting itself in the physical world.