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Objective of Tantra
Tantra is a holistic spiritual path, an accurate science of personal development. Its aim is to positively transform the practitioner until he or she reaches enlightenment, provide the practitioner with the tools to rule over manifestation, and to control its secret forces. The integral nature of Tantra recognizes both material and spiritual aims.
The Sanskrit word Tantra literally means to warp as on a loom or to extend. It comes from the verbal root tan– to stretch or to expound, and tra– to save.
Principles of Tantra
Tantra is a life-affirmative path – It does not deny the world like many spiritual paths, but rather embraces it. The philosophical basis of the Tantric attitude is that everything is divine; hence nothing is refused, denied, or repressed, and instead, everything is accepted, integrated, and transformed. Tantra offers the possibility to reach spiritual realization in the world and through the world, for the Tantric route is a paradox where the walls of one’s prison are the roads to one’s liberation. This is in stark contrast to the ascetic spiritual paths that form most of our spiritual influence. In order to be successful in Tantra, emancipation from ascetic modalities of thinking is necessary.
Tantric metaphysics – Tantra adopts an integral non-dualistic understanding of the universe, where Macrocosm and microcosm resonate and correspond with each other. “What is here is everywhere, what is not here is nowhere.” The manifested part of the universe is divided into seven planes, from the gross to the subtle: physical, energetic/etheric, astral, mental, causal, and two additional very subtle planes sometime called Buddhi and Atman. These planes can also be called bodies. Most people are only aware of the physical plane, or the physical body. The perception and control of the deeper bodies and the subtle planes of the universe are developed through the practice of Yoga and Tantra.
Shiva and Shakti – While traditionally most spiritual systems are directed toward men, Tantra creates an equally valued place for women and the Divine Feminine. Shakti is the manifested principle of the universe, while Shiva is pure consciousness. Shiva and Shakti are seen as the divine couple. They are the dual aspects of the same one consciousness, appearing as separate and yet ultimately united through their perfect love. Most of these traditional systems focus solely on the Shiva principle of pure consciousness. Tantra recognizes that it is easier for people to be aware of the manifested part of the universe, Shakti, and it is through this awareness and connection with Shakti that Shiva can be reached. Shakti becomes the vehicle of spiritual transformation and is therefore worshiped as the Divine Feminine. © Swami Vivekanda Saraswati