Tantrism: The Origins and Historical notes


In 3000 - 1000 BC there existed in the Indus valley a people of matriarchal culture, the Harappei, who had a real pleasure culture: each house had, in the living room, a large bed, called the landlady; she was taller than the other beds and the woman celebrated her love affair with the man she chose while all the other men, children, servants, friends passed by, because the living room was right at the entrance of the house.
Tantra finds its historical and cultural roots precisely within this society, where sexuality was conscious and healthy. Tantra is the discipline of conscious sexuality in which sexual energy pervades the meditative states, focusing on the nuclei of man and woman, and thus giving that charge that makes love and meditation so strong. For this reason his techniques were soon adopted by Indian yogis and Tibetan Buddhists in Vajrayana.


Currently, Tantrism no longer has temples or monasteries except in Tibet and India. According to indologists, North India transmitted it to Tibet at the same time as Buddhism, towards the sixth century of our era. Then, during the 12th century, it passed through Mongolia, entered the Amur region, eastern Siberia, and finally in Manchuria. Archeology confirms the originality of Indian tantrism. The excavations of the Indus valley, which brought to light the dead cities of Harappà and Mohendjo Daro, contemporaries of Sumer, the oldest known civilization in Mesopotamia (IV-V millennium), have amply demonstrated that Northern India celebrated the cults of Shiva-Shakti duality. There is no trace of the posterior Trimûrti [1] Brahmanic, or triple male principle.


The term Tantra (properly "weave of a fabric") means doctrinal book and Tantra are a series of sacred books, of extravedic origin but somehow connected to the Vedas, elaborated by numerous authors, many of which are unknown, in a span of time ranging from the first centuries of the vulgar era to almost the present day.
The relationships between Tantra and Vedas are extremely complex, and followers of Tantrism are often accused of heterodoxy by supporters of the Vedic-Brahmanic system ( Brahmanism , Hinduism ), although Tantras and Vedas have several factors in common, such as the symbolism of language and the internalization of sacrifice which has emerged in the Upanishads .


In the period in which the first tantric texts appeared, establishing themselves in Indian culture, the dominant caste was that of the Brahmins who equaled Tantrism to a form of heresy.
Thousands of years ago only men of privileged castes had the privilege of approaching spiritual discipline. On the contrary, for Tantrism we are all equal, without distinctions of race, social class, caste, sex, creed, each being an expression of the original energy. Tantrism ensures that salvation is for everyone and everyone can access the teachings, those who put them into practice will have benefits, those who do not practice will get nothing.
Tantrism also has another reason for great openness. It profoundly rehabilitated the figure of the woman, opposed and deliberately kept on the margins by the caste of the Brahmans because considered an impediment to the spiritual evolution of the individual.
Furthermore, yogis were no longer required to lead an ascetic existence, separate from the world, but instead to be part of it and intervene in it. It was no longer necessary to be in the state of brahmacharia (renunciate), but it was possible to be grihastha (head of the family).
Tantrism was rebellious against all the prescriptions of the other sects; his followers transgressed the most important taboos of Vedism with impunity.

But some Vedic ritual practices have continued in Tantras, such as the use of certain utensils and certain sacred formulas. Although the Vedas contain some elements that reappear later in the Tantric sources, the Tantras originate in ancient, unsystematic, yogic , magical , astrological , erotic-religious and ritualistic traditions coming from an archaic culture typical of the autochthonous populations pre-existing to the agricultural economy. arrival of the airs and in contrast with Vedic pastoralism. Such populations worshiped the Great Mother and had fertility cults and ritualized sexual practices. The origin of tantrism is connected to that of saktism and must be identified in the oldest tantric texts which are distinguished in: Hindu tantra, existing since the fifth century AD (Samhita visnuite of the school "Pancaratra" and Agama shivaiti), and Buddhist Tantras, datable starting from the III century AD, although the Tibetan tradition places them at the beginning of the VII century AD

Some Shivaite Tantras were revered sources of inspiration for Abhinavagupta (11th century AD) and for other authors of the Kashmir school. They are of a mystical-philosophical nature and are distinguished from the Agama and Samhita, mainly of the ritualistic-disciplinary type for common worship. The development of Tantrism, especially the Buddhist one, seems to have received strong stimuli from the royal patronage in both India and Tibet. In turn, the Buddhist patronage served as an indirect stimulus for the schools of Hindu tantrism. Around the tenth century AD the development of tantric doctrines and rituals in schools was at its peak, as well as the fusion between the religious cultures of the Hindu tradition and the elements of Tantrism. From this period tantrism is regularly attested by numerous sources. Among the most famous temples for the worship of tantric deities in India, the Vaital Deul (8th century AD), the Varahi (10th century AD), both in Orissa, and the Yogini Temple of Bheraghat (10th century AD). The iconography of these and other centers of worship is of great interest and testifies to the fashion, in vogue at the time and not limited to tantrism, of erotic sculptures. a renewed interest in tantrism manifested towards the end of the eighteenth century, while in previous epochs it had had to fight against rival religious movements such as the revived revival of the fifteenth century, which in turn gave rise to a particular form of tantrism called "Sahajiva" , today followed by the Baul community. The most important modern thinker influenced by Tantrism was Aurobindo Ghose and among his living tantric gurus famous names appear in the world of Indian intellectuals.




Tantra is an authentic internal revolution, it is divesting of all religious faiths, morals, constraints, prejudices, etc. It is to create the internal space that is necessary to conceive infinity and timeless truth. From the moment the mind empties and adapts to what really happens, when we learn from our deepest interior, everything becomes a mantra, which is the fabric, the basis of life, in which one puts everything and which magically takes on many different forms of infinite creativity. Tantra breaks the taboos, beliefs and dogmas imposed by any religion.


What subjects do tantra cover? Of the same fugitive essence, of the cosmos, of the centers that radiate the divine (paradise), of astrology, of the genesis and of the apocalypses, of the spirit, soul and body; of magic and alchemy: in a word, of theosophy and occultism. This stratification does not involve or follow a practical plan, or a formula. It limits itself to modeling the mystical mentality and affectivity of tantrika.

The transition to direct yoga will depend on the circumstances, but also on the dharma (vocation) and the qualifications that the person concerned will bring to the unconscious.


Tantra is and will remain a dominant force not only in Indian but worldwide spirituality. While we can recognize the place of popular and New Age forms of Tantra as the entry point into these teachings, it is important to recognize the wider and deeper realm of real Tantra which is more than that and can be very different from them. Tantra is the practical and energetic application of all the yogic wisdom of life, time, space and energy. If you approach it with the right intention, it can offer you much more than the realization of your desires, it can help you achieve the supreme goal of the life of realization of the entire universe in your awareness!


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