Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र "weave" denoting continuity), tantricism or tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India. Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical This article describes textile weaving For other senses of this word see Weaving (disambiguation. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country It exists in Hindu, Bönpo, Buddhist, and Jain forms. A Hindu ( Devanagari: हिन्दू is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, a set of religious, Philosophical Bön ( is the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibet. Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, has recognized the Bön tradition as the fifth principal spiritual Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma / Shraman Dharma (जैन धर्म is an ancient religion of India. Tantra in its various forms has existed in South Asia, China, Japan, Tibet, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia and Mongolia. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Definitions of Tibet See also Definitions of Tibet Name In English The English word Tibet, like the word for Tibet in most European Korea is a geographic area composed of two sovereign countries a civilization and a former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. The Kingdom of Cambodia ( formerly known as Kampuchea (, transliterated: Preăh Réachéanachâkr Kâmpŭchea) is a country in South East Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar ( pjìdàunzṵ mjàmmà nàinŋàndɔ̀ is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. The Republic of Indonesia ( (Republik Indonesia is a Country in Southeast Asia. Mongolia (mɒŋˈɡoʊliə, literally Mongol country/nation,) is a Landlocked Country in East  David Gordon White, while cautioning against attempting a rigorous definition of tantra, offers the following working definition:
Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, in creative and emancipatory ways. 
There are a number of different definitions of tantra from various viewpoints, not all of them necessarily consistent. Robert Brown notes that the term "tantrism" is a construction of Western scholarship and that:
It is not a concept that comes from within the religious system itself, although it is generally recognized internally as different from the Vedic tradition. This immediately makes it suspect as an independent category. 
Rather than a single coherent system, Tantra is an accumulation of practices and ideas which has among its characteristics the use of ritual, energy work, the use of the mundane to access the supramundane and the identification of the microcosm with the macrocosm. Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the Cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level  The Tantric practitioner seeks to use the divine power that flows through the universe (including one's own body) to attain purposeful goals. Prana (प्राण) is the Sanskrit for " Breath " (from the root prā "to fill" cognate to Latin plenus "full" These goals may be spiritual, material or both. 
A practitioner of tantra considers mystical experience or the guidance of a Guru imperative. Mysticism (from the Greek grc μυστικός mystikos, an initiate of a Mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with identity A guru (गुरु গুরু is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge wisdom and authority in a certain area and uses it to guide others  In the process of working with energy, the Tantric has various tools at hand. These include yoga—to actuate processes that will yoke the practitioner to the divine. Yoga ( Sanskrit: योग, IAST: yóga, joːgə refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India, to the Also important are the use of visualizations of the deity and verbalisation or evocation through mantras—which may be construed as seeing and singing the power into being; identification and internalisation of the divine is enacted—often through a total identification with a deity, such that the aspirant "becomes" the deity , the Ishta-Devata. Evocation is the act of calling or summoning a spirit demon god or other supernatural agent in the Western mystery tradition. A mantra ( Devanāgarī मन्त्र (or mantram is a religious or mystical syllable or poem typically from the Sanskrit language Within Hinduism, an Ishta-deva or Ishta devata (Sanskrit iṣṭa-deva(tā, literally "cherished divinity " from iṣṭa
The Tantric tradition may be considered as either parallel to, or intertwined with, the Vedic tradition. "Veda" redirects here For other uses see Veda (disambiguation. André Padoux notes that in India, tantrism was marked by a rejection of the orthodox Vedic notions.  Maurice Winernitz, in his review of the literature of tantra, points out that while the Indian tantric texts are not positively hostile to the Vedas, they propound that the precepts of the Vedas are too difficult for our age, and that, for that reason, an easier cult and easier doctrine have been revealed in them.  Some orthodox Brahmans who accept the authority of the Vedas reject the authority of the Tantras.  N. N. Bhattacharyya explains that:
It is to be noticed that although later Tantric writers wanted to base their doctrines on the Vedas, the orthodox followers of the Vedic tradition invariably referred to Tantra in a spirit of denunciation, stressing its anti-Vedic character. 
In contrast, the modern author Swami Nikhilananda wrote not only of the close affinity with the Vedas, but also that the development of Tantric thought shows the influence of the Upanishads, the Puranas and Yoga. Swami Nikhilananda (1895-1973 was an initiated disciple of Sri Sarada Devi. The Upanishads ( Devanagari: उपनिषद् IAST: upaniṣad also spelled "Upanisad" are Hindu scriptures that constitute the core teachings For other meanings see Purana (disambiguation. The Puranas ( Sanskrit: sa पुराण purāṇa, "of ancient times" Yoga ( Sanskrit: योग, IAST: yóga, joːgə refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India, to the 
Tantras exists in Shaiva, Vaisnava, Ganapatya, and Shakta forms, amongst others. Shaivism, also spelled "Saivism" names the oldest of the four sects of Hinduism. Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu or its associated avatars principally as Rama and Ganapatya is a denomination of Hinduism that worships Ganesha (also called Ganapati as the supreme God. Shaktism ( Sanskrit: Śāktaṃ sa शाक्तं lit "doctrine of power" or "doctrine of the Goddess") is a denomination of Strictly speaking, within individual traditions tantric texts are classified as Shaiva Āgamas, Vaishnava Pāñcarātra Saṃhitās, and Shakta Tantras, but there is no clear dividing line between these works, and on a practical basis the expression "Tantra" is used generally for this class of works. Tantras (" Looms " or " Weavings " refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions 
According to Tantra, being-consciousness-bliss or Satchidananda has the power of both self-evolution and self-involution. Saccidānanda or Sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit सच्चिदानंद is a compound of three Sanskrit words Sat (सत् Cit (चित् Prakriti or 'reality' evolves into a multiplicity of creatures and things, yet at the same time always remains pure consciousness, being and bliss. Prakrit (also transliterated as Pracrit) ( Sanskrit: prākṛta प्राकृत (from pra-kṛti प्रकृति according to one In this process of evolution, Maya conceals Reality and separates it into opposites, such as conscious and unconscious, pleasant and unpleasant, and so forth. Maya ( Sanskrit sa माया māyā) in Indian religions, has multiple meanings If not realised as illusion, these determining conditions bind, limit and fetter (pashu) the individual (jiva). In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva (जीव jīva alternate spelling jiwa) is a living being or more specifically the immortal essence of a living being 
In this relative dimension, Shiva and Shakti are perceived as separate. However, in Tantra, even in the state of evolution Reality remains pure consciousness, being and bliss, though Tantra does not deny either the act or fact of this evolution. In fact, Tantra affirms that both the world process itself and the individual jiva are themselves Real. In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva (जीव jīva alternate spelling jiwa) is a living being or more specifically the immortal essence of a living being In this, Tantra distinguishes itself from pure dualism as well as from the qualified non-dualism of Vedanta. Dualism denotes a state of two parts The word's origin is the Latin duo, "two". Nondualism implies that things appear distinct while not being separate Vedanta ( Devanagari: sa वेदान्त Vedānta) is a spiritual tradition explained in the Upanishads that is concerned with the Self-realisation 
However, evolution or the 'outgoing current' is only half of the functioning of Maya. Involution, or the 'return current', takes the jiva back toward the source or root of Reality, revealing the infinite. Tantra is understood to teach the method of changing the 'outgoing current' into the 'return current', transforming the fetters created by Maya into that which 'releases' or 'liberates'. This view underscores two maxims of Tantra: "One must rise by that by which one falls" and "the very poison that kills becomes the elixir of life when used by the wise. A saying is something that is said notable in one respect or another "
The Tantric method is to sublimate rather than negate relative reality. This method of sublimation consists of three phases: purification, elevation and the "reaffirmation of identity on the plane of pure consciousness. In Psychology, sublimation is a coping mechanism It has its roots in the Nietzschean & psychoanalytical approach and is often also referred to as a type "
Because of the wide range of communities covered by the term tantra, it is challenging and problematic to describe tantric practices definitively. Avalon (1918) does provide a useful dichotomy of the "Ordinary Ritual"  and the "Secret Ritual" .
Because of the wide range of communities covered by the term tantra, it is challenging and problematic to describe tantric practices of the ordinary rituals definitively. The ordinary ritual or puja may include any of the following elements:
As in other Hindu and Buddhist yoga traditions, mantra and yantra play an important part in Tantra. This article is about Hinduism. Puja or "pooja" may also refer to certain devotional practices performed by Balmikis Buddhists (see A Hindu ( Devanagari: हिन्दू is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, a set of religious, Philosophical Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices Yoga ( Sanskrit: योग, IAST: yóga, joːgə refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India, to the A mantra ( Devanāgarī मन्त्र (or mantram is a religious or mystical syllable or poem typically from the Sanskrit language Yantra are 'instruments' or more simply 'symbols' usually used to focus the mind The mantras and yantras are instruments to invoke specific Hindu deities such as Shiva and Kali. Kali redirects here See Kali (disambiguation for other uses Not to be confused with Kali (demon, the personification of Kali Yuga Similarly, puja may involve focusing on a yantra or mandala associated with a deity. This article is about Hinduism. Puja or "pooja" may also refer to certain devotional practices performed by Balmikis Buddhists (see Yantra are 'instruments' or more simply 'symbols' usually used to focus the mind Mandala ( Sanskrit maṇḍala मंड "essence" + ल "having" or "containing" 
Tantra, being a development of early Hindu~Vedic thought, embraced the Hindu gods and goddesses, especially Shiva and Shakti, along with the Advaita philosophy that each represents an aspect of the ultimate Para Shiva, or Brahman. Advaita Vedanta ( IAST Advaita Vedānta; Sanskrit अद्वैत वेदान्त əd̪vait̪ə veːd̪ɑːnt̪ə is a sub-school of the Brahman ( bráhman-, Nominative bráhma sa ब्रह्म is a concept of Hinduism. These deities may be worshipped externally with flowers, incense, and other offerings; but, more importantly, are engaged as attributes of Ishta Devata meditations, the practitioners either visualizing themselves as the deity or experiencing the darshan (vision) of the deity. Within Hinduism, an Ishta-deva or Ishta devata (Sanskrit iṣṭa-deva(tā, literally "cherished divinity " from iṣṭa Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness Darśana ( Darshan, दर्शन is a Sanskrit term meaning "sight" (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding from a root
Secret ritual may include any or all of the elements of ordinary ritual either directly or substituted along with other sensate rites and themes such as a feast (food, sustenance), coitus (sexuality, procreation), charnel grounds (death, transition) and defecation, urination and vomiting (waste, renewal, fecundity). It was this sensate inclusion that fueled Zimmer's praise of Tantra as having a world-affirmative attitude:
In the Tantra, the manner of approach is not that of Nay but of Yea . Heinrich Zimmer (1890 - 1943 was an Indologist and historian of South Asian art . . the world attitude is affirmative . . . Man [sic] must approach through and by means of nature, not by rejection of nature. 
Worship with the Pañcatattva generally takes place in a Cakra or circle composed of men and women. Sir John Woodroffe (1865&ndash1936 also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, was a British Orientalist whose work helped to unleash in the West a deep A ganachakra (Sanskrit gaṇacakra, or 'gathering circle' Tibetan tshogs kyi 'khor lo) is also known as tsog, ganapuja, chakrapuja Panchamakara, also known as the Five Ms, is a Tantric term referring to the five substances used in a Tantric Puja or Sadhana: . . sitting in a circle, the Shakti [or female practitioner] being on the Sadhaka's [male practitioner's]left. Hence it is called Cakrapuja. . . . There are various kinds of Cakra -- productive, it is said, of differing fruits for the participator therein.
In this Chapter, Avalon also provides a series of variations and substitutions of the Panchatattva (Panchamakara) "elements" or tattva encoded in the Tantras and various tantric traditions and affirms that there is a direct correlation to the Tantric Five Nectars and the Mahābhūta. Tattva is a Sanskrit word meaning 'thatness' 'principle' 'reality' or 'truth' Tantras (" Looms " or " Weavings " refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions Panchamrita (Sanskrit pañcāmṛta) generally refers to a collection of five sweet things used in Hindu worship services Definitions In the Pali canon, the most basic elements are usually identified as four in number but on occasion a fifth and to an even lesser extent a sixth element
Sexual rites may have emerged from early Hindu Tantra as a practical means of generating transformative bodily fluids.  These constituted a vital offering to Tantric deities. Sexual rites may also have evolved from clan initiation ceremonies involving the transaction of sexual fluids. Here the male initiate was inseminated or insanguinated with the sexual emissions of the female consort, sometimes admixed with the semen of the guru. He was thus transformed into a son of the clan (kulaputra) through the grace of his consort. The clan fluid (kuladravya) or clan nectar (kulamrita) was conceived as flowing naturally from her womb. Later developments in the rite emphasised the primacy of bliss and divine union, which replaced the more bodily connotations of earlier forms. Although popularly equated with Tantra in its entirety in the West, sexual rites were practiced by a minority of sects. For many practicing lineages, these maithuna practices progressed into psychological symbolism. Maithuna is a Sanskrit term used in Tantra most often translated as sexual union in a ritual context 
When enacted as enjoined by the tantras the ritual culminates in a sublime experience of infinite awareness, by both participants. The Tantric texts specify that sex has three distinct and separate purposes — procreation, pleasure and liberation. Tantras (" Looms " or " Weavings " refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions Those seeking liberation eschew frictional orgasm for a higher form of ecstasy, as the couple participating in the ritual, lock in a static embrace. Religious ecstasy is an Altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is frequently Several sexual rituals are recommended and practised. These involve elaborate and meticulous preparatory and purificatory rites. The act balances energies coursing within the pranic ida and pingala channels in the subtle bodies of both participants. Prana (प्राण) is the Sanskrit for " Breath " (from the root prā "to fill" cognate to Latin plenus "full" The sushumna nadi is awakened and kundalini rises upwards within it. Nāḍi (the Sanskrit for "tube pipe" are the channels through which in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science the energies of the Subtle body Kundalini (kuṇḍalinī sa कुण्डलिनी Sanskrit, literally "coiled" This eventually culminates in samadhi wherein the respective individualities of each of the participants are completely dissolved in the unity of cosmic consciousness. Samadhi ( Sanskrit: sa समाधि is a Hindu and Buddhist technical term that usually denotes higher levels of concentrated meditation or Cosmic consciousness is the concept that the Universe is a living Superorganism with which animals including humans interconnect and form a collective Tantrics understand the act on multiple levels. The male and female participants are conjoined physically and represent Shiva and Shakti, the male and female principles. Shiva:(pronunciation; Sanskrit: शिव Śiva, lit "Auspicious one" One of the Trimurtis Shiva is the supreme God in the Shaiva Shakti, meaning sacred force, power, or energy, is the Hindu concept or personification of the divine feminine aspect sometimes referred Beyond the physical, a subtle fusion of Shiva and Shakti energies takes place resulting in a united energy field. Subtle may refer to Subtle, a musical group consisting of members of the Anticon On an individual level, each participant experiences a fusion of their own Shiva and Shakti energies. 
The first Western scholar to take the study of Tantra seriously was Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936), who wrote about Tantra under the pen name Arthur Avalon. Sir John Woodroffe (1865&ndash1936 also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, was a British Orientalist whose work helped to unleash in the West a deep A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a Pseudonym adopted by an Author or their publishers to conceal their identity He is generally held as the "founding father of Tantric studies. " Unlike previous Western scholars, Woodroffe was an apologist for Tantra, defending Tantra against its many critics and presenting Tantra as an ethical philosophical system greatly in accord with the Vedas and Vedanta. "Veda" redirects here For other uses see Veda (disambiguation. Vedanta ( Devanagari: sa वेदान्त Vedānta) is a spiritual tradition explained in the Upanishads that is concerned with the Self-realisation  Woodroffe himself practised Tantra as he saw and understood it and, while trying to maintain his scholastic objectivity, was considered a student of Hindu Tantric (in particular Shiva-Shakta) tradition. 
Following Sir John Woodroffe, a number of scholars began to actively investigate the Tantric teachings. These included a number of scholars of comparative religion and Indology, such as: Agehananda Bharati, Mircea Eliade, Julius Evola, Carl Jung, Giuseppe Tucci and Heinrich Zimmer. Comparative religion is a field of Religious study that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes myths rituals and concepts among the world's religions Indology refers to the academic study of the languages texts History and Cultures of the Indian subcontinent, and as such a subset of Asian studies Agehananda Bharati (अगेहानन्द भारती ( Vienna, April 20 1923 – New York, May 14 1991) was Mircea Eliade ( – April 22, 1986) was a Romanian historian of religion fiction writer philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago Julius Evola, also known as Baron Giulio Cesare Evola, ( May 19, 1898 &ndash June 11, 1974) was an Italian Philosopher Giuseppe Tucci ( 5 June 1894 &ndash 5 April 1984) was an Italian scholar of oriental cultures specialising in Tibet and Heinrich Zimmer (1890 - 1943 was an Indologist and historian of South Asian art 
According to Hugh Urban, Zimmer, Evola and Eliade viewed Tantra as "the culmination of all Indian thought: the most radical form of spirituality and the archaic heart of aboriginal India", and regarded it as the ideal religion of the modern era. All three saw Tantra as "the most transgressive and violent path to the sacred. "
Following these first presentations of Tantra, other more popular authors such as Joseph Campbell helped to bring Tantra into the imagination of the peoples of the West. Joseph John Campbell ( March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American Mythology Professor, Writer Tantra came to be viewed by some as a "cult of ecstasy", combining sexuality and spirituality in such a way as to act as a corrective force to Western repressive attitudes about sex. 
As Tantra has become more popular in the West it has undergone a major transformation. For many modern readers, "Tantra" has become a synonym for "spiritual sex" or "sacred sexuality", a belief that sex in itself ought to be recognized as a sacred act which is capable of elevating its participants to a more sublime spiritual plane.  Though pop-tantra may adopt many of the concepts and terminology of Indian Tantra, it often omits one or more of the following; the traditional reliance on guruparampara (the guidance of a guru), extensive meditative practice, and traditional rules of conduct - both moral and ritualistic. Parampara ( Sanskrit: परम्परा paramparā) denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture
According to one author and critic on religion and politics, Hugh Urban:
Since at least the time of Agehananda Bharati, most Western scholars have been severely critical of these new forms of pop Tantra. Agehananda Bharati (अगेहानन्द भारती ( Vienna, April 20 1923 – New York, May 14 1991) was This "California Tantra" as Georg Feuerstein calls it, is "based on a profound misunderstanding of the Tantric path. Dr Georg Feuerstein (born 1947) is a German-Canadian Indologist specializing on Yoga. Their main error is to confuse Tantric bliss . . . with ordinary orgasmic pleasure. 
He goes on to say that he himself does not consider this "wrong" or "false" but rather "simply a different interpretation for a specific historical situation. "