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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:16 am  Reply with quote

Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 337

Location: Calgary Ab

The Origin and History of Tantra
The word "Tantra" comes from the root tan, to "extend", "continue", multiply". "Tantra" means "what extends knowledge"  
Some Indian pandits and Western scholars argue that Tantra constitutes the continuation of the original Indian aboriginal tradition (especially the Dravidian), which predates the coming of the Indo-European Aryan invaders and their Vedid religion (2nd millenium b.c.e.). According to this theory, the ritualistic Vedism and the yogic-mystical aboriginal tradition co-existed independently for some time. But the Aryan political takeover, and intermarriage with the native population, resulted in the Dravidian religion being assimilated into the Vedic the result of the merger being the mystical Hinduism of the Upanishads.
Growing out of this yogic tradition, Tantra appears in provinces that had not been strongly Vedicised: e.g. the Northwest, Bengal, and the South (Eliade, Ibid p.201) in the fourth century of the common era. Within the space of a few centuries it had attained pan-Indian inflence. A number of distinct and independent branches developed, so that one can speak of Mahayana Buddhist tantrism (Tibetan Vajrayana, "adamantine vehicle", and Japanese Shingon "Mantra teaching") Shaivite tantrism (in Kashmir, emphasising the monistic Vedantic perspective), Natha tantrism (a hybrid Shaivite yogic movement), Shakta tantra (in Bengal, emphasising the chakras, kundalini, and occult practices), cosmological tantrism (the Pancharatra movement), Jain tantrism, and even Vaishvana tantrism (among devotees of Vishnu and Krishna).
Adapted from:
The term "tantra" can create more confusion than clarity. First, there exist both a celibate tantric tradition known as "the right-hand path" and a sexual tantra tradition known as the "left-hand path." Second, there exist both a Tibetan Buddhist tantra and the classic Hindu tantra. Finally, even within the category of classic tantra, streams diverge...and have shifted with time.
Classic sexual tantra is often not about mutual enlightenment. Despite the showy display of worshiping the divine god or goddess in man or woman, the energy exchange is for the purpose of solo spiritual attainments. Frequently missing is the concept that glad giving leads to mutual transcendence. As a result, yogis not infrequently exude a fear of women or exploit them, which attitudes may account for the frightening image of Kali the goddess of tantra, with her necklace of skulls and lethal knife. Both fear and exploitation suggest that such yogis haven't overcome the separation between the sexes, which the Gnostic Gospels, for example, say anchors us to the illusion of the material plane.

For more History of Tantra:  


THE Indian Tantras, which are numerous, constitute the Scripture (Shastra) of the Kaliyuga, and as such are the voluminous source of present and practical orthodox "Hinduism." The Tantra Shastra is, in fact, and whatever be its historical origin, a development of the Vaidika Karmakanda, promulgated to meet the needs of that age. Shiva says: "For the benefit of men of the Kali age, men bereft of energy and dependent for existence on the food they eat, the Kaula doctrine, O auspicious one! is given" (Chap. IX., verse 12). To the Tantra we must therefore look if we would understand aright both ritual, yoga, and sadhana of all kinds, as also the general principles of which these practices are but the objective expression.
The Sacred Tantra Texts:


More soon to follow....  TG

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