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TANTRISM: MYTHS and LEGENDS
In the West it is believed that TANTRA is synonymous with sex, sexual practices and positions of the Kamasutra, the Hindu manual of sexual love. These practices in fact represent only a small part of Tantrism and even if there is a yoga of a sexual type, it does not it is characterized by it as Tantra tends to transform all life activities into sacred rituals and gestures including sexuality.
It is a sacred and divine approach to love and sex that are rendered meditative and spiritual in Tantra.
Eroticism and sexuality in Tantra have the sense of the representation of high powers of consciousness, through which forces can be transformed. It is not the trivial glorification of ordinary sexuality but the supreme understanding of the cosmic power of creation.
In India, in most of the Ashrams or Hindu temples, regular forms of tantric rituals and worship still take place today.
Tantra is not characterized by sexuality or asceticism but deals with methodologies for energetic transformation such as yantra and Mantra and which make the body sacred. The body in Tantra is in fact considered the temple of the divine (sacred reality) and is seen as the microcosm where the individual soul resides in order to understand the macrocosm of the Universe. The body is a mystical symbol for tantrics, only a vehicle with which to experience in this life and which assists us in the process of spiritual growth and in the process of acquiring the experience itself.
Without energy and sensitivity in the body and without proper use we cannot go a long way towards enlightenment. In the body there is a cosmic intelligence that guides us and manifests itself when we no longer use the body following our personal desires but using it as a tool for the development of higher awareness.
There has been some confusion in the West about the importance of sex in tantra and this has a precise historical root: when in the eighties the guru Osho commented on the Vijnanabhairava tantra in a psychological key and unlike other Indian masters he spoke explicitly of sexual practices related to tantra, many Western students, raised in a religious paradigm where the spiritual quest was associated with the renunciation of pleasure, felt relieved to be able to include the sexual pleasure in the spiritual path. His pupil Margot Anand initiated a current called neo-tantra: although based on traditional tantric principles, it mainly used methods drawn from the bioenergetics and from sexology experiential. In reaction to the major spiritual currents, however, the practitioners ended up at the opposite extreme: if up to that point there had been a lot of practicing meditation with little sex, there was a lot of sex and little meditation in neo-tantra. Neo-tantra considers meditation in union sexual an important component on the spiritual path, because like no other practice, it finds the human being fully involved in the intensity of life: with the mind, body, feelings, relationship, high arousal.
Neotantra teachers promote a psychotherapeutic path or counseling or sex therapy rather than a real spiritual Sadhana.
“Who uses meat and wine to worship you. Goddess that you are the life of Shiva, make no mistake, but those who develop attachment for these substances will see their worship frustrated "
Ganapati Muni, Uma Sahasram 17.22-23
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