TANTRA – Spiritual Mysticism of the East

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Tantra was first systematized by Lord Shiva, also called Sadashiva, who was an enlightened yogi living in the Himalayas more than 7000 years ago. Tantra had its origin in India and South Asia. Tantra in its Káshmiirii and Gaud’iiya Schools did exist before Shiva, but in a scattered and crude form. Shiva was born and brought up in an environment of Tantra, although it was not classical Tantra. He was the original propounder of Tantra, collecting, developing and systematizing all its branches. 

Tantra” means liberation from darkness, the root “tan” meaning darkness, and “tra” liberation. Sensual or erotic tantra, as the term “tantra” is often mistakenly associated to in the West, is not a part of the original tantra nor of the Shaivita or Shakta tantra tradition. In the tantric tradition of Himalayas the spiritual aspirant is called a sadhaka, and he practices sadhana. Sadhana signifies the effort through which a person becomes completely realized. In the tantric tradition the spiritual master, the Guru (Master, Guide), plays a special role. The Guru guides and leads students on the spiritual path that is likened by yogis of knowledge (jinániis) to a sharp razor. Through devotional practices however, the spiritual path is compared to the all-round struggle of a blooming flower. It is also stated in the tantric tradition that the student doesn’t find the teacher, but the teacher finds the student. 

Tantrism doesn’t exclude aspects of the human experience. It is true that sexual imagery is very prominent in Tantric iconography. Images of naked deities in sexual embrace are common. This stands in marked contrast to most other spiritual traditions, where sexual imagery is conspicuously absent. Not only sexuality is present in tantric imagery, but also aggression, in the form of ferocious looking deities, yoginis (female yogis) wearing skull ornaments and brandishing knives. This imagery does not mean Tantric spirituality encourages or prescribes aggression. In reality, the study of the Tantric tradition is very deep and complex. Scholars question whether there really is such a thing as a unitary Tantric tradition, or if it is a sloppy term for covering a range of traditions, like the term Hinduism. 

The word Tantra is Sanskrit, the sacred language of Veda and Hinduism. It derives from the root word tan, which translates as “to extend, expand, spread, continue, spin out, weave; to put forth, show, or manifest.” Like the universe we inhabit, Tantra is continually expanding, spreading, and manifesting itself like a “cosmic weave,” made up of different energies. We are part of this weave, as are our forefathers and foremothers, all life, and every type of energy and matter. This includes thoughts, actions, and all physical matter. Because Tantra is a mystical subject, it is nearly impossible to define. Even eminent scholars have had a hard time explaining what Tantra actually is. The different explanations of Tantra indicate its multifaceted nature. Tantra is a spiritual science, which means it is also mystical, in its interconnectedness, the holistic wisdom link between ourselves and the universe we inhabit. 

Buddhist Tantra is also called Mantrayana and Vajrayana. Mantrayana refers to the importance of mantras in Tantric practice. Vajrayana comes from the word vajra, which means thunderbolt, or diamond, or that which is indestructible. Whether it called Tantrayana, Mantrayana, or Vajrayana, none of these words directly references sexuality. Another word for Tantrayana is “Fruition Vehicle” because it is said that in

Tantra one identifies directly with the result. That is, Tantra is predicated on the idea that the enlightened nature is already present within, though temporarily obscured. Through the use of visualization, meditation, and mantra recitation, ordinary perception is transformed into “pure perception” or a sacred outlook. Tantra is also about energy, becoming aware of, sensitive to, and receptive of energy. Working with energy and transmuting energy. Tantra can involve integrating the “male” and “female” energies. This could be done internally, since each of us has both energies. It could also be done externally, with a partner. Hope, this clarifies that Tantra is not primarily about sexuality as thinks sexual abused liders. Tantra does not exclude sexuality. In fact, Tantra can welcome it. But Tantra is primarily about view and perception and about union with the Shiva God.

Tantra has been one of the most neglected branches of Indian spiritual studies despite the considerable number of texts devoted to this practice, which dates back to the 5th-9th century AD. Many people still consider tantra to be full of obscenities and unfit for people of good taste. It is also often accused of being a kind of black magic. However, in reality, tantra is one of the most important Indian traditions, representing the practical aspect of the Vedic tradition. The religious attitude of the tantriks is fundamentally the same as that of the Vedic followers. It is believed that the tantra tradition is a part of the main Vedic tree. The more vigorous aspects of Vedic religion were continued and developed in the tantras. Generally tantriks worship either Goddess Shakti or Lord Shiva.

Today’s practical philosophy and yogic practices of Ananda Shiva Tantra are not only deeply rooted in the ancient original Tantra of Shiva, but further develops Tantra to refine it in a system of personal development balanced with two wings of social transformation. Tantra has a broad metaphysical base which allows for ways of knowing, feeling and processing which go far beyond intelectuality or limited rationality.

Priorities are given to the spiritual development, because spiritual life controls all other arenas of human life. Tantra is a principle, a science which if practiced will lead to the desired objective. The essence of Tantra is to awaken the latent spiritual force in the human personality and unify oneself with the Cosmic Consciousness. It is not a religion or empty philosophy which can be confined to the realms of abstract speculation or theoretical debate. Tantra is a process of subjective transformation, which may be practiced by anyone irrespective of gender, cultural background, education, social status or intellectual evolution, as an adequate system of spiritual endeavor is the birthright of all. 

Traditional dictionary definitions of Tantra are revealing. A Sanskrit word, Tantra is sometimes translated as “leading principle, essential part, model, system, framework, doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work,” also as “order, chief part, rule, authority, science, mystic works, magical formulas, means, expedient, stratagem, medicine.” Finally, a Tantra is sometimes defined as “a type of mystical teaching set out mostly in the form of dialogs between a cosmic couple. intimate insightful dialogs, between God and Goddess, Shiva and Shakti, the male and female Tantric adepts, were at times written down and became known as Tantras.

Tantra has been well tested over thousands of years, not in worldly laboratories but in the laboratories of the human body, by Yogi scientists and Tibetan Lamas who were not driven by commerce but by the earnest desire for spiritual knowledge and liberation. Their observations and insights have been passed down to us. 
The word “Tantra” may be derived from the combination of two words “tattva” and “mantra”. “Tattva” means the science of cosmic principles, while “mantra” refers to the science of mystic sound and vibrations.

Tantra therefore is the application of cosmic sciences with a view to attain spiritual ascendancy. In another sense, tantra also means the scripture by which the light of knowledge is spread: Tanyate vistaryate jnanam anemna iti tantram. There are essentially two schools of Indian scriptures – “Agama” and “Nigama”. Agamas are those which are revelations while Nigama are the traditions. Tantra is an Agama and hence it is called “srutishakhavisesah”, which means it is a branch of the Vedas. 

The practitioner of Himavanti Sampradaya tantra yoga sees the nature of the mind as a “trapped monkey” striving to escape from its cage. The tantra path is the path of the brave, because it requires the practitioner to follow strict disciplines as to their spiritual practice. Meditation is the main practice of this tantric tradition, and through it the practitioner struggles to overcome weaknesses and imperfections. Through daily meditation the practitioners face their minds’ deepest secrets and contents, and to proceed in the practice s/he must manage to overcome whatever obstacles s/he faces in the path of self emancipation. Because the path may be specially challenging in the beginning, often requiring changes of lifestyle habits and mental breakthroughs that supersede dogmas and ingrained irrational beliefs, many people stray temporarily from the path when not able to succeed in triumphing over the initial difficulties. 

When the aspirant decides to follow the path of bliss, s/he will be initiated by a qualified meditation teacher called acarya, Sanskrit for “one who teaches through example”. An acarya is most commonly a monk or nun, but in the Natha Sampradaya or in the Himavanti Sampradaya tradition there are also family acaryas. In the initiation the aspirant makes a commitment to practice meditation and to live in harmony with the universal balance, and is then taught the technique itself. The aspirant is then required to keep the individual lessons personal. The main deities worshipped are Shiva and Shakti. In Tantra there is a great significance of “bali” or animal sacrifices. The most vigorous aspects of Vedic traditions evolved as an esoteric system of knowledge in the Tantras. The Atharva Veda is considered to be one of the prime tantrik scriptures. 

Tantra is different from other traditions because it takes the whole person, and his/her worldly desires into account. Other spiritual traditions ordinarily teach that desire for material pleasures and spiritual aspirations are mutually exclusive, setting the stage for an endless internal struggle. Although most people are drawn into spiritual beliefs and practices, they have a natural urge to fulfill their desires. With no way to reconcile these two impulses, they fall prey to guilt and self-condemnation or become hypocritical. Tantra offers an alternative but simple path. 

The practitioners of higher Tantra (Anuttara, Para) would look upon things from a broader point of view, renouncing all narrow thinking. They would always strive hard to advance the welfare of the masses. Through self-realization and selfless service they would overcome the fetters of the mind, such as hatred and shame. The unprepared practitioners who followed the less-developed or crude Tantra would yet behave in the opposite way, indulging in casteism, superstitions of untouchability, and in manifestations of hatred and envy in relation to other groups. In Indian villages, tantriks are still not quite hard to find. Many of them help the villagers solve their problems like shamans or healers. Every person who has lived in the villages or has spent his childhood there, has a story to tell. What is so easily believed in the villages might appear illogical and unscientific to the rational urban mind, but these phenomena are realities of life. 

A person who, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, aspires for spiritual expansion or does something concrete, is a Tantric. Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an ‘ism’. Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science. So wherever there is any spiritual practice it should be taken for granted that it stands on the Tantric cult. Where there is no spiritual practice, where people pray to God for the fulfilment of narrow worldly desires, where people’s only slogan is “Give us this and give us that” – only there do we find that Tantra is discouraged. So only those who do not understand Tantra, or even after understanding Tantra do not want to do any spiritual practice, oppose the cult of Tantra. 

There are 18 “Agamas“, which are also referred to as Shiva tantras, and they are ritualistic in character. There are three distinct tantrik traditions – Dakshina, Vama and Madhyama. They represent the three “shaktis” or powers of Shiva and are characterised by the three “gunas” or qualities – “sattva”, “rajas” and “tamas”. The Dakshina tradition, characterised by the “sattva” branch of tantra is essentially for good purpose. The Madhyama, characterised by “rajas” is of mixed nature, while the Vama, characterised by “tamas” is the most impure or magical form of tantra. Tantra does not discriminate by any racial, genealogical, political, national or economic differences amongst human beings, as the later might form the basis for one human group to assert superiority over another. Tantra does, however, give recognition to individual vigor and the development of latent human potentialities, which make some people outstand in their lives. Consequently Tantra puts greater emphasis on human values than on social values. 

Tantra School taught many systems of meditation such as Prárambhika Yoga, Sádharana Yoga, Sahaja Yoga and Vishesha Yoga. In addition, Tantra also taught Kapalika meditation to many sanyásins. Tantra system of yoga can be termed as Rájadhirája Yoga, Tantra Yoga, or simply “Ánanda Yoga”. The basic Ánanda Shiva  Márga meditation system is called Sahaja Yoga, meaning ‘simple yoga’ or ‘natural yoga’. The sahaja system consists of 6 meditation techniques or lessons. The lessons are taught one by one, on a personal basis. There is no specific system as to when one can learn a new technique, but it depends on the level of interest and dedication of the student. Thus some students learn all six lessons in a year or two, while some complete all lessons in over 20 years. There is also a set of higher meditation lessons taught by Ananda Marga to advanced practitioners committed to dedicate more time for spiritual practices and universal service. 

For success on the path of Tantra, the proper preceptor and the proper disciple are both essential. So the first step in Tantra is the selection of a competent preceptor by a worthy disciple. According to Tantra, disciples are of three categories. The first category disciples acquire spiritual knowledge when they are in close contact with the preceptor, but as soon as they are apart from the preceptor they forget all his/her teachings. The second category of disciples learn many things from the preceptor with great hardship, but do not take proper care to preserve those instructions. They lose their hard-earned knowledge out of negligence. The best category of disciples carefully preserves deep in their minds and hearts whatever they have learned from their preceptor by wisely putting those teachings into practice. 

The tantrik approach to life avoids pitfall. Tantra itself means “to weave, to expand, and to spread”, and according to tantrik masters, the fabric of life can provide true and ever-lasting fulfillment only when all the threads are woven according to the pattern designated by nature. When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern. But as we grow, our ignorance, desire, attachment, fear, and false images of others and ourselves tangle and tear the threads, disfiguring the fabric. Tantra “sadhana” or practice reweaves the fabric, and restores the original pattern. This path is systematic and comprehensive. The profound science and practices pertaining to hatha yoga, pranayama, mudras, rituals, kundalini yoga, nada yoga, mantra, mandala, visualization of dieties, alchemy, ayurveda, astrology, and hundreds of esoteric practices for generating worldly and spiritual prosperity blend perfectly in the tantrik disciplines. 

The physical practice of Tantra comprises yoga ásanas, mudras, bandhas, pranayama, self-massage and specific dances like shamanic kaos’ikii and tandava. Sentient diet and fasting are also considered to be an integral part of yogic practices. Sentient diet is generally a vegetarian yogic diet. The Tantric system of yoga comprises 84 yoga ásana postures which were specifically selected by Shiva God for their complementary benefits to health and for preparing body/mind for meditation. In the Tantra system yoga asanas should be performed at least once a day, but preferably twice, in the morning and in the evening. After the practice a full body massage and final relaxation is performed.

Tandava is a vigorous dance associated with Shiva in his cosmic dancer image of Nataraja. The name tandava is derived from the Sanskrit word tandu, which means to jump. This dance is only performed by male followers in Ananda Marga because of its testosterone producing effect, which consequently strengthens male characteristics in body and mind. The dance is performed to imbue the practitioner’s mind with courage and honour, dispelling all sorts of complexes and fear, even fear of death itself. Thus the dance also has an associated ideation. The dancer starts off with the two arms outstretched, the left arm with an open palm, and the right arm with a clenched fist. The dancer ideates holding a human skull in the left hand, symbolizing death, and ideates on holding a knife in the right, symbolizing the fight for life. The actual objects (human skull and knife) may be also used. The dance starts with a vigorous jump and landing in a position of bent knees. Another jump follows, and the dance continues in a jumping manner lifting one leg then the other continuously. 

Kaoshikii, the “dance for mental expansion”, is a physico-psycho-spiritual exercise which can be performed by all and consists of 18 mudras aligning with 6 physical postures, each associated with a specific idea. The spiritual ideation is carried along with the dance in order to establish a subtle link with the divine, while strengthening body and mind and making them flexible. There is also a claim that the exercise strengthens the nervous and endocrine system to give full body balance. 

Tantra Marga (Way, Path) advocates a world of justice, security and peace for all. To this end Tantra Marga gives a practical, rational, and systematic way of life for the balanced development of all human potentialities: physical, psychic and spiritual. It is a system that incorporates practices that are beneficial for personal and social upliftment. These range from proper hygiene and diet, yoga postures, to a scientific technique of meditation based on morality and leading to complete peace and inner fulfillment. It recognizes that a balance is needed between the spiritual and mundane aspects of existence, and that neither one should be neglected at the expense of the other. Hence, the goal of Tantra Marga is “self-realization and the welfare of all”. Tantra emphasis is placed on solving the problems of the local people, whatever they may be, by empowering them in managing all their personal and social resources for the prosperity of all. 

Generally speaking, the Hindu god and goddess Shiva and Shakti are perceived as separate and distinct. However, in Tantra, even in the process of evolution, Reality (Tat) remains pure consciousness, pure being and pure bliss, and Tantra denies neither the act nor the fact of this process. In fact, Tantra affirms that both the world-process itself, and the individual jiva, are themselves Real. In this respect, Tantra distinguishes itself both from pure dualism and from the qualified non-dualism of Vedanta. Evolution, or the “outgoing current,” is only half of the functioning of Maya. Involution, or the “return current,” takes the jiva back towards the source, or the 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.” 

Tantram (Sanskrit for tantrism) is a religious philosophy according to which Shakti is usually the main deity worshipped, and the universe is regarded as the divine play of shakti and shiva. The word Tantra also applies to any of the scriptures commonly identified with the worship of Shakti. Tantra deals primarily with spiritual practices and ritual forms of worship, which aim at liberation from ignorance and rebirth. The tantric movement has influenced the Hindu, Bön, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain religious traditions. Tantra in its various forms has existed in India, Nepal, China, Japan, Tibet, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia and Mongolia. 

The sacred Jaina, Hindu and Buddhist scriptures known as Tantras provide detailed instructions on a wide range of topics, including spiritual knowledge, technology, and science. Their content is often paradoxical. In Tantra, science and mysticism go hand in hand, as do sensuality and asceticism. Just as advanced scientific treatises are difficult for the layperson to comprehend, so traditional Tantras require adequate preparation before they can be properly understood. The Tantric aim is to sublimate rather than to negate relative reality. This process of sublimation consists of three phases: purification, elevation, and the “reaffirmation of identity on the plane of pure consciousness.” The methods employed by Dakshinachara (right-hand path, pingala, masculine) interpretations of Tantra are very different from the methods used in the pursuit of the Vamachara (left-hand path, Ida, feminine).

The primary sources of written Hindu Tantric lore are the agama, which generally consist of four parts, delineating metaphysical knowledge (jnana), contemplative procedures (yoga), ritual regulations (kriya), and ethical and religious injunctions (charya). Schools and lineages affiliate themselves with specific agamic traditions. Hindu tantra exists in Shaiva, Vaisnava, Ganapatya, Saurya and Shakta forms, amongst others, so that individual tantric texts may be classified as Shaiva Āgamas, Vaishnava Pāñcarātra Saṃhitās, and Shakta Tantras, though there is no clear dividing line between these works. The expression Tantra generally includes all such works. 

Linguistically the three words mantram, tantram and yantram are related in the ancient traditions of India, as well as phonologically. Mantram denotes the chant, or “knowledge.” Tantram denotes philosophy, occultism or ritual actions. Yantram denotes the means by which a human is expected to lead his life. According to Tantra, “being-consciousness-bliss” or Satchidananda has the power of both self-evolution and self-involution. Prakriti or “reality” evolves into a multiplicity of creatures and things, yet at the same time always remains pure consciousness, pure being, and pure bliss. In this process of evolution, Maya (illusion) veils Reality and separates it into opposites, such as conscious and unconscious, pleasant and unpleasant, and so forth. If not recognized as illusion, these opposing determining conditions bind, limit and fetter (pashu) the individual (jiva). 

The ordinary ritual or puja may include any of elements as in other Hindu, Jaina and Buddhist yoga traditions, mantra and yantra play an important role in Tantra. The mantra and yantra are instruments to invoke specific Hindu deities such as Shiva, Shakti, or Kali Durga. Similarly, puja may involve focusing on a yantra or mandala associated with a deity. Tantra, as 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. These deities may be worshipped externally with flowers, incense, and other offerings, such as singing and dancing. But, more importantly, these deities are engaged as attributes of Ishta Devata meditations, the practitioners either visualizing themselves as the deity, or experiencing the darshan (the vision) of the deity. These Tantric practices form the foundation of the ritual temple dance of the devadasis, and are preserved in the Melattur style of Bharatanatyam by Guru Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer. 


Tantra chakras uses the seven chakra (cakras) levels (six in the body) of energy to raise and allow our energy to flow upwards in the body and spirit. Practically speaking it means wherever a person is blocked or wounded by conditioning or repression of sexual energy it shows in the contractions of the body, mind, emotions and so in the closeness of the corresponding chakra. For example: Sexual and physical abuse often creates a contraction in the first the Sex or Root chakra – Muladhara. Certain healing methods can free and unlock the physical and emotional knot in the system. Tantra chakras: The word chakra is Sanskrit for “moving wheel.” The traditional 7 major chakras are the psychic energy centres or better the soul organs located along the spine. They serve as channels, or portals for prana – the  universal life force that animates us. Various life traumas can upset our tantra chakras, causing them to become blocked or damaged. When this happens, it can affect our lives in adverse ways. Knowing what our tantra chakras are trying to tell us, and following their guidance can help us overcome all kinds of obstacles in life. 

Chakra is a concept originating from Hindu texts and used in Hindu practices. Its name derives from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “turning” (cakraṃ चक्रं ). Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the etheric double of man. The Chakras are said to be “force centers” or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies. Different systems posit a varying number of chakras; the most well known system in the West is that of seven chakras. It is typical for chakras to be depicted as either flower-like or wheel-like. In the former, “petals” are shown around the perimeter of a circle. In the latter, spokes divide the circle into segments that make the chakra resemble a wheel (or “chakra”). Each chakra possesses a specific number of segments or petals. Texts describing the chakras go back as far as the later Upanishads, for example the Yoga Kundalini Upanishad.

The study of the chakras is a part of many philosophical and spiritual traditions, as well as many therapies and disciplines. In eastern traditions, the theory of chakras is a central part of the Hindu and Buddhist tantra, and they play an important role in attaining deep levels of realisation. In Hinduism, particularly in tantric Laya Yoga and Kriya Yoga, the concept of chakras is part of a complex of ideas related to esoteric anatomy. The chakras are described in the tantric texts like the Sat-Cakra-Nirupana, and the Padaka-Pancaka, in which they are described as emanations of consciousness from Brahman, an energy emanating from the spiritual which gradually turns concrete, creating these distinct levels of chakras, and which eventually finds its rest in the Muladhara chakra. The energy that was unleashed in creation, called the Kundalini, lies coiled and sleeping at the base of the spine. It is the purpose of the tantric or kundalini forms of yoga to arouse this energy, and cause it to rise back up through the increasingly subtle chakras, until union with God is achieved in the Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head. 

The central role of the chakras in this model is the raising of Kundalini, where it pierces the various centers, causing various levels of realisation and resulting in the obtention of various siddhis or occult powers, until reaching the crown of the head, resulting in union with the Divine. The methods on how to raise kundalini are generally secret, but a number of methods have been published, for example the tantric school of Laya Yoga begin with a number of preparatory practices such as asanas and pranayama to purify the nadis (meridians), and then a number of practices and meditations specific to each chakra, and finally the raising of the kundalini through special kriyas, which terminate in the vision of ones causal self. 

Foto: Kundalini Laya Chakras – Himavanti Sadhana 


1 – Muladhara (Mūlādhāra) – Root chakra (red). The Root chakra is about being physically there and feeling at home in situations. If it is open, you feel grounded, stable and secure. You don’t unnecessarily distrust people. You feel present in the here and now and connected to your physical body. You feel you have sufficient territory. If you tend to be fearful or nervous, your Root chakra is probably under-active. You’d easily feel unwelcome. If this chakra is over-active, you may be very materialistic and greedy. You’re probably obsessed with being secure and resist change. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “LAM”. 
Muladhara or root chakra is represented as a yellow square, with 4 red petals. The seed syllable is Lam, the deity is Ganesh, and the Shakti is Dakini. The associated animal is the elephant Ganesha. This chakra is where the 3 channels are merged, then separate and begin their upward movement. Inside of this chakra is wrapped up the goddess kundalini three times around a indigo black lingam. It is the seat of the red bindu, the female drop (which in Tibetan vajrayana is located at the navel chakra).

Muladhara is related to instinct, security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. This center is located in the perineum, which is the region between the genital and the anus. Although no endocrine organ is placed here, it is said to relate to the gonads and the adrenal medulla, responsible for the fight-or-flight response when survival is under threat. There is a muscle located in this region that controls ejaculation in the sexual act of the human male. A parallel is charted between the sperm cell and the ovum where the genetic code lies coiled and the kundalini. Muladhara is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the colour red for healing. Key issues involve sexuality, lust and obsession. Physically, Muladhara governs sexuality, mentally it governs stability, emotionally it governs sensuality, and spiritually it governs a sense of security. 

There is no chakra that is used in this position within Tibetan buddhism. Instead, below the secret place wheel, there are 2 other wheels, the jewel wheel, which is located in the middle of the sex organ, and the wheel located at the tip of the sex organ. These wheels are extremely important for the generation of great bliss, and are involved with tantric consort practices.

2 – Svadhishthana (Svādhiṣṭhāna) – Sacral chakra (orange). The Sacral chakra is about feeling and sexuality. When it is open, your feelings flow freely, and are expressed without you being over-emotional. You are open to intimacy and you can be passionate and lively. You have no problems dealing with your sexuality. If you tend to be stiff and unemotional or have a “poker face,” the Sacral chakra is under-active. You’re not very open to people. If this chakra is over-active, you tend to be emotional all the time. You’ll feel emotionally attached to people and you can be very sexual. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “VAM”. 

Swadhisthana, Svadisthana or adhishthana is symbolized by a white lotus within which is a crescent moon, with six vermillion, or orange petals. The seed mantra is Vam, and the presiding deity is Vishnu, with the Shakti being Rakini (or Chakini). The animal associated is the crocodile of Varuna.The Sacral Chakra is located in the sacrum (hence the name) and is considered to correspond to the testes or the ovaries that produce the various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. Swadisthana is also considered to be related to, more generally, the genitourinary system and the adrenals. The key issues involving Swadisthana are relationships, violence, addictions, basic emotional needs, and pleasure. Physically, Swadisthana governs reproduction, mentally it governs creativity, emotionally it governs joy, and spiritually it governs enthusiasm. In Tibetan buddhism, this is known as the Secret Place wheel. Below this point the Shakta tantra and Vajrayana systems diverge somewhat. 

3 – Manipura (Maṇipūra) – Navel chakra (yellow). The Navel chakra is about asserting yourself in a group. When it is open, you feel in control and you have sufficient self esteem. When the Navel chakra is under-active, you tend to be passive and indecisive. You’re probably timid and don’t get what you want. If this chakra is over-active, you are domineering and probably even aggressive. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “RAM”. 

Manipura or manipuraka is symbolised by a downward pointing triangle with ten petals. The seed syllable is Ram, and the presiding deity is Rudra, with Lakini as the Shakti. Manipura is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura is believed to correspond to Islets of Langerhans, which are groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. The colour that corresponds for healing to Manipura is yellow. Key issues governed by Manipura are issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth. 

In Tibetan buddhism, this wheel is represented as a triangle with 64 upward pointing petals. It is the home of the Red drop, or red bodhicitta, which is the essence of feminine energy (as opposed to the Shakta system, where the kundalini energy resides in Muladhara). It contains the seed syllable short-Ah, which is of primary importance in the Tummo inner fire meditation, which is the system by which the energy of the red drop is raised to the white drop in the crown.

4 – Anahata (Anāhata) – Heart chakra (green). The Heart chakra is about spiritual love, kindness and affection. When it is open, you are compassionate and friendly, and you work at harmonious relationships. When your Heart chakra is under-active, you are cold and distant. If this chakra is over-active, you are suffocating people with your love and your love probably has quite selfish reasons. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “YAM”. 

Anahata, or Anahata-puri, or padma-sundara is symbolised by a circular flower with twelve green petals. (See also heartmind). Within it is a yantra of 2 intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolising a union of the male and female. The seed mantra is Yam, the presiding deity is Ishvara Shiva, and the Shakti is Kakini Devi. Anahata is related to the thymus, located in the chest. The thymus is an element of the immune system as well as being part of the endocrine system. It is the site of maturation of the T cells responsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. Anahata is related to the colours green for healing, blue like sky for air element or pink for spiritual love principle. Key issues involving Anahata involve complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion. 

In Tibetan buddhism, this centre is extremely important, as being the home of the indestructible red/white drop, which carries our consciousness to our next lives. It is described as being white, circular, with 8 downward pointing petals, and the seed syllable Hum inside. During mantra recitation in the lower tantras, a flame is imagined inside of the heart, from which the mantra rings out. Within the higher tantras, this chakra is very important for realising the Clear Light. In reality, Tibetan buddhism use another cakra than Anahata, called Secret Eight Petal Hrit-Cakram… 

5 – Vishuddha (Viśuddha) – Throat chakra (blue). The Throat chakra is about self-expression and talking. When it is open, you have no problems expressing yourself, and you might be doing so as an artist. When this chakra is under-active, you tend not to speak much, and you probably are introverted and shy. Not speaking the truth may block this chakra. If this chakra is over-active, you tend to speak too much, usually to domineer and keep people at a distance. You’re a bad listener if this is the case. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “HAM”. 

Vishuddha (also Vishuddhi) is depicted as a silver crescent within a white circle, with 16 light or pale blue, or turquoise petals. The seed mantra is Ham, and the residing deity is Panchavaktra shiva or Sadashiva, with 5 heads and 4 arms, and the Shakti is Shakini (Śakini). Color for healing yoga is blue. Vishuddha may be understood as relating to communication and growth through expression. This chakra is paralleled to the thyroid, a gland that is also in the throat and which produces thyroid hormone, responsible for growth and maturation. Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security. In Tibetan buddhism, this chakra is red, with 16 upward pointing petals. It plays an important role in Dream Yoga, the art of lucid dreaming. 

6 – Ajna (Ājñā) – Third Eye chakra (indigo). The Third Eye chakra is about insight and visualization. When it is open, you have a good intuition. You may tend to fantasize. If it is under-active, you’re not very good at thinking for yourself, and you may tend to rely on authorities. You may be rigid in your thinking, relying on beliefs too much. You might even get confused easily. If this chakra is over-active, you may live in a world of fantasy too much. In excessive cases hallucinations are possible. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “OM”. 

Ajna is symbolised by a lotus with two petals, and corresponds to the colors violet, indigo or deep blue. It is at this point that the 2 side nadis Ida and Pingala are said to terminate and merge with the central channel Sushumna, signifying the end of duality. The seed syllable for this chakra is the syllable OM, and the presiding deity is Ardhanarishvara, who is a half male, half female Shiva/Shakti. The Shakti goddess of Ajna is called Hakini. Ajna (along with Bindu), is known as the third eye chakra and is linked to the pineal gland which may inform a model of its envisioning. The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland that produces the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and waking up. Ajna’s key issues involve balancing the higher & lower selves and trusting inner guidance. Ajna’s inner aspect relates to the access of intuition. Mentally, Ajna deals with visual consciousness. Emotionally, Ajna deals with clarity on an intuitive level. 

In Tibetan Buddhism, this point is actually the end of the central channel, since the central channel rises up from the sexual organ to the crown of the head, and then curves over the head and down to the third eye. While the central channel finishes here, the two side channels continue down to the 2 nostrils.

7 – Sahasrara (Sahasrāra) – Crown chakra (violet). The Crown chakra is about wisdom and being one with the world. When this chakra is open, you are unprejudiced and quite aware of the world and yourself. If it is under-active, you’re not very aware of spirituality. You’re probably quite rigid in your thinking. If this chakra is over-active, you are probably intellectualizing things too much. You may be addicted to spirituality and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Bija mantra for growing this cakra is sound “SAM”. 

Sahasrara, which means 1000 petalled lotus, is generally considered to be the chakra of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. When the female Kundalini Shakti or Sri Himavanti energy rises to this point, it unites with the male Shiva energy, and a state of liberating samadhi is attained. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-coloured petals, it is located either at the crown of the head, or above the crown of the head. Sahasrara is represented by the colour white and it involves such issues as inner wisdom and the death of the body. Its role may be envisioned somewhat similarly to that of the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones to communicate to the rest of the endocrine system and also connects to the central nervous system via the hypothalamus. Sahasrara’s inner aspect deals with the release of karma, physical action with meditation, mental action with universal consciousness and unity, and emotional action with “beingness”. 

In Tibetan buddhism, the point at the crown of the head is represented by a white circle, with 32 downward pointing petals. It is of primary importance in the performance of phowa, or consciousness projection after death, in order to obtain rebirth in a Pure Land. Within this chakra is contained the White drop, or Bodhicitta, which is the essence of masculine energy.

Tantra is an accumulation of practices and ideas, characterized by ritual that seeks to access the supra-mundane through the mundane, identifying the microcosm with the macrocosm. The Tantric practitioner seeks to use prana, an energy that flows through the universe (including one’s own body) to attain goals that may be spiritual, material or both. Most practitioners of tantra consider mystical experience imperative. Some versions of Tantra require the guidance of a guru. Long training is generally required to master Tantric methods, into which pupils are typically initiated by Sri Guru.

Yoga, including breathing techniques and postures (asana), is employed to subject the body to the control of the will. Mudras, or gestures, mantras or syllables, words and phrases, mandalas and yantras, symbolic diagrams of the forces at work in the universe, are all used as aids for meditation and for the achievement of spiritual and magical power. During meditation the initiate identifies with any of the numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, visualizes them and internalises them, a process likened to sexual courtship and consummation. The Tantrika, or tantric practitioner may use visualizations of deities, identifying with the deity so that the aspirant “becomes” the Ishta-deva or meditational deity. 

Excerpts from Master L.M.B. Teachings 

(be continued) 


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