Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar , was recently in the news for meeting a Tantric. We shall not speculate on the reasons of the meeting but instead delve a little deeper into the esoteric world of tantra and figure out its true essence.
So who exactly is a Tantric and what is Tantra?
Is a Tantric someone who does evil black magic and uses morbid stuff like bones and skulls during midnight in a graveyard to do voodoo-like rituals to basically wreck havoc in people’s lives or even kill them? Or does it have sexual connotations as it does in the West where tantra is synonymous with sacred sex, so to speak. This some say is possibly because of misinterpreting pure bliss achieved through tantric practices to physical orgasmic pleasure.
Tantra is the science of Tanoti-Trayati, i.e. expansion and liberation. The purpose of tantra is spiritual evolution. Just as water when heated expands and then evaporates and turns into vapour , the purest state, a sadhak/spiritual aspirant does tapa and practices to be one with that purest state. Sir John Woodroffe, also known as the founding father of Tantric studies, advocated tantra as given in the Vedas. Woodroffe’s book ‘The Serpent Power – The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga’ has inspired many a Western yogic practices. He even translated many Sanskrit Tantric texts on yoga and tantra.
Sir Woodroffe says in his book ‘Shakti and Shakta ’ that magic is not peculiar to the Tantras and is found in plenty in the Atharvaveda. Abhicara is the Karma described in the Tantras and Atharvaveda as being a magical process with the intent to destroy or injure. It is Himsa-karma, or an act injurious to others. Sir Woodroffe says “there is nothing anti-Vaidik in Magic. I may, however, here also point out that there is nothing wrong in Magic (Shatkarma) per se. As with so many other things it is the use or abuse of it which makes it right or wrong. If a man kills, by Marana Karma, a rival in his business to get rid of competition and to succeed to his clients’ custom, he commits a very grave sin – one of the most grievous of sins. Suppose, however, that a man saw a tiger stalking a child, or a dacoit about to slay it for its golden ornament; his killing of the tiger or dacoit would, if necessary for the safety of the child, be a justifiable act. Magic is, however, likely to be abused and has in fact been abused by some of the Tantrics. For evil magic which proceeds from malevolence is a greater crime than any abuse of natural appetite. But in this, as in other matters, we must distinguish between what the Shastra says and the practices of its followers. The injunction laid upon the Sadhaka is that he “should do good to other beings as if they were his own self”. Atmavat sarvabhutebhyo hitam kuryat kuleshvari (Kularnava Tantra XII. 63).
Yogi Ashwini who is an authority on the ancient Vedic sciences and tantra says that Tantrics sure have powers but they tap into the lower energies (those of the bhutaal, rasataal, pataal and the like).He adds “a Tantric only reflects his sadhya. So if the Earth with Sun as its sadhya reflects the light of sun, with the like of bhoot-pret-peshach as sadhya, you can well imagine what the person would reflect. When you look at a person who is into such practices, you will know whether he/she reflects divinity and glow or demonic traits”.
Tantra is a subject of individual experiences and not of intellectual discussion. Yogi ji advises it to be practised individually under the sanidhya of a Guru for the purpose of spiritual evolution only.He warns “It is a serious subject.The law of karma does not spare anybody; people misusing or misdirecting energies have miserable ends.The energies should be used to aid the positive forces in creation.If a Tantric unleashes negative energies, the same come back to him manifolds”.
What goes around does come around.