Tantra is derived from the two Sanskrit words – Tanoti, meaning to expand, & Trayate, meaning to liberate. It is the Hindu science of expanding and liberating the soul. It encompasses almost all the spiritual practices of the Hindus – like Pooja, Stotra, Mantra, Yantra, Yoga, Meditation etc.
Unfortunately quite a few people have projected Tantra as some kind of a witchcraft & medieval sexual ritual. So strong is this myth that today a tantrik is looked upon as the practitioner of some gruesome rituals to hook people for his advantage. Nothing is farther than the truth. The same goes with their interpretation of the word “Kama”. In Sanskrit the word “Kama” means desire – desires of all kinds like, hunger, thirst… to sex. But once again it is sensationalized by playing to the gallery by mentioning only sex. What is even more gruesome is that the various names of the Divine mother are sexyfied. Kamakshi becomes the sexy eyed Goddess and Kamaroopini becomes sexy looking Goddess!
Tantra aims at enhancing each and every aspect of human life, because to attain liberation, one must become perfect. First one must perfect ones physical & mental faculties, and then learn to control them and sublimate them, and then convert and divert them to rise the soul to higher levels of spiritual progress. It enables you to perfect and control anger, hunger, thirst, hatred, ego, concentration, psychic faculties etc. It also teaches you to perfect and control sex, which is a part of our daily natural life. But to pick on this three letter word only and to project tantra as a four letter practice is ludicrous jocundity.
As one raises higher in the spiritual ladder, one gets various siddhis or what are being described as “powers” like intuition, mind reading, healing, future gazing, mesmarising etc. At this stage some people get carried away and forget the main goal and succumb to displaying and using these powers to gain money & fame. Fully self realised gurus like Sivananda, Satyananda, Chinmayananda rise their disciples to their level but these semi-elevated fake “Gurus” stoop down to the level of their hankering disciples and their crash is imminent.
There are a lot of ancient tantrik texts which give details of various principles and practises of tantra. The Yogini Hridaya, Sri Tripura Rahasya, The Todala Tantra (which gives the dasa mahavidyas of Kali, Tara, Sodashi (Tripurasundari), Bhuvaneshvari, Cchinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala), Matrikabheda tantra, Devi Rahasya tantra, Vamakeswari tantra, Gandharva tantra, Mahanirvana tantra, Mantra Mahodadhi, Mantra Yoga Samhita, Mantra Maharnava, Mantra Muktavalîi, Mantra Kaumudi, Tattvananda Tarangini, Yogini Tantra, Gupta Sadhana Tantra, Devirahasyam are just some of the important works in tantra.
The Soundarya Lahari by Adi Shankara also has a special place in tantra.
Learn how to worship Devi with the great Shodasi Mantra japa.
Those who are interested in Devi poojas this is a simple and fairly easy to perform Sriyantra pooja.
For those who don’t have the time a simple Khadgamala recital is > here
For those who have the time and inclination a full and very detailed Navavarana pooja as per the great Kaulavachara is > here
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6. You can learn and do the Srividya Tarpanas from > here