Tantrism: 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 culture of pleasure: each house had, in the living room, a large bed, called the landlady; it was taller than the other beds and the woman celebrated the act of love with the man she chose while all the other men, children, servants, friends passed by, because the living room was right at the entrance to the house.
Tantra finds its historical and cultural roots right 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. This is why his techniques were soon adopted by Indian yogis and Tibetan Buddhists in the Vajrayana.
Currently, Tantrism no longer has temples or monasteries except in Tibet and India. According to the Indologists, North India would have transmitted it to Tibet at the same time as Buddhism, towards the sixth century of our era. Then, during the 12th century, it passed into Mongolia, penetrated the Amur region, eastern Siberia, and finally into Manchuria. Archeology confirms the originality of Indian Tantrism. Excavations in the Indus Valley, which have unearthed the dead cities of Harappà and Mohendjo Daro, contemporaries of Sumer, the oldest known civilization in Mesopotamia (4th-5th millennium), have amply demonstrated that Northern India celebrated the cults of the Shiva-Shakti duality. On the other hand, there is no trace of the later Brahmanic Trimûrti , or triple male principle.
The term Tantra (properly "weft of a fabric") means doctrinal book and the Tantras are a series of sacred books, of extravedic origin but somehow connected to the Vedas, elaborated by numerous authors, many of whom are unknown, over a period of time which goes from the first centuries of the Common Era to almost the present day.
The relationships between Tantra and Veda are extremely complex, and the followers of Tantrism are often accused of heterodoxy by the supporters of the Vedic-Brahmanic system ( Brahmanism , Hinduism ), even if the Tantras and the Vedas have several factors in common, such as the symbolism of the language and the internalization of sacrifice as it 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 Brahmans who equated Tantrism with 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 distinction 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 sidelines by the Brahmans caste because it was considered an impediment to the spiritual evolution of the individual.
Furthermore, yogis were no longer required to lead an ascetic existence, separated from the world, but on the contrary 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 (householder).
Tantrism was rebellious against all the prescriptions of the other sects; its followers transgressed with impunity the most important taboos of Vedism.
But some Vedic ritual practices continued in the 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 traditions, not systematized, yogic , magical , astrological , erotic-religious and ritualistic coming from an archaic culture typical of the indigenous populations with an agricultural economy pre-existing to the arrival of the Arii and contrary to Vedic pastoralism. Such peoples worshiped the Great Mother and had fertility cults and ritualized sexual practices. The origin of tantrism is linked to that of saktism and must be identified in the most ancient tantric texts which are distinguished in: Hindu tantra, existing from the 5th century AD (Samhita visnuite of the "Pancaratra" and Agama shivaiti school), and Buddhist Tantras, datable starting from the III century AD, even if 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 other authors of the Kashmiri school. They are of a mystical-philosophical character and are distinguished from the Agamas and the Samhitas, mainly of a ritualistic-disciplinary type for common worship. The development of Tantrism, especially Buddhist , seems to have received strong impulses from the royal patronage both in India and in Tibet. In turn, Buddhist patronage served as an indirect stimulus for the schools of Hindu Tantrism. Around the tenth century AD, the development in schools, of Tantric doctrines and rituals was maximum, 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. manifested a renewed interest in Tantrism towards the end of the 18th century, while in previous eras it had had to struggle against rival religious movements such as the 15th century Vishnu revival, which in turn gave rise to a particular form of Tantrism called "Sahajiva" , now followed by the Baul community. The most important modern thinker influenced by Tantrism was Aurobindo Ghose and famous names in the world of Indian intellectuals appear among his living tantric gurus.
THE AUTHENTIC TANTRIC WAY
Tantra is an authentic internal revolution, it is stripping off all religious beliefs, morals, constraints, prejudices, etc. It is to create the internal space that is necessary to conceive the infinite and the 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 the tantras deal with? Of the same fugitive essence, of the cosmos, of the centers that radiate the divine (paradise), of astrology, of genesis and apocalypses, of the spirit, of the soul and of the body; of magic and alchemy: in a word, of theosophy and occultism. This layering does not involve or follow a practical plan, or formula. It limits itself to modeling the mystical mentality and affectivity of the tantrika.
The transition to direct yoga will depend on the circumstances, but also on the dharma (vocation) and qualifications that the interested party will bring into the unconscious.
Tantra is and will remain a dominant force not only in Indian but worldwide spirituality. While we can recognize the place of the popular and New Age forms of Tantra as the entry point into these teachings, it is important to recognize the broader and deeper scope of actual 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 WITH THE RIGHT INTENT, IT CAN OFFER YOU MUCH MORE THAN THE FULFILLMENT OF YOUR DESIRES, IT CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE THE ULTIMATE LIFE GOAL OF FULFILLING THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IN YOUR AWARENESS!
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