What is Tantra?
The spiritual art of
love...of connecting spirit with form. It is experiencing love through through
the beauty of the earth and all existence. It is about acceptance, rather than deniel. It also embraces
compassion...about truth within unconditional love...
What are its elements? Is Tantra a yoga?
Some call it Tantra Yoga.
If we see yoga as union, then I agree. Others say Tantra is not a part of
Yoga, which most people see as Hatha Yoga anyway, but rather an entire
lifestyle. Many in the yoga community consider Tantra "something they would
rather not deal with," so to speak. So, in that sense it is not about yoga
as practiced in America, unless that yoga teacher also embraces the openess
an sensual nature of Tantra.
Is Tantra a religion, or a movement within religion(s), or is it
entirely separate from religion?
Tantra is not a religion. It is a
spiritual path. When religion enters, then barriers are drawn. However, some
call Tantra a religion, although there is no organized body of thought or
practitioners as such. Tantra cannot be encapsulated into a religion or
What distinguishes Tantra from neo-Tantra?
Historic/cultural Tantra follows
many rituals, yantra and mantra. Neo-Tantra is an adaptation by a particular
teacher. Few today follow classical/historic/cultural Tantra, which can be read
in boring texts. I present authentic Tantra but for the 21st Century
based upon Tantra's essential spiritual nature. However, learning technique,
method and practice are the choice of the adapt.I ask my sannyasins
(disciples/students/friends) to become unconditional love.
Tantra is essentially a
lifestyle...a way to acknowledge our sensual and spiritual selves... To
accept all...even the paradox... To open the heart totally.
What is the exact relationship between Tantra and sexuality?
In Tantra, sexuality is total and
filled with bliss. However, Tantra is not about sex. Sex practiced or
performed in Tantra is what is taught by most teachers of this spiritual
lifestyle. In Swami Virato's experiential events sexual ignition energy is
used as a tool to raise the Kundalini, or the participants bioenergy. I simply uses this energy as a tool. At some point Tantrikas experience
a bliss-filled state that can be identified as asexuality. Perhaps because
of general sexual suppression by cultures and religions, ancient carvings in
Nepal and India depicting unbridled sexual sharing create indelible labels.
Some Tantrikas do not engage in sex at all.
Is Tantra an attitude, a belief, or a
No belief. It is an attitude and
there are practices, in sex, and many other areas of life that can be used as
tools. Many of these include contemporary conscious psychotherapeutic
methods, as well as Eastern philosophy and techniques, such as
pranyama, yantra, mantra, etc., as well as simply applying expanded
consciousness to one's existence.
Are there common elements in its practice, if it has any? If so, how
do these relate to any common attitudes or beliefs? When you say you
"practice" Tantra, what do you do exactly?
Tantra is a lifestyle of letting-go,
feeling a oneness with everything. If we were to relate Tantra to life in
general, we would say there is much more lay-back living, more enjoyment of
our sensual nature. However, Tantra is not
Practicing Tantra is to walk our talk...to visualize others as
Divine... to meditate, get and give and receive massages ..and to say YES! more often...to
seek for the purest, highest quality of life, yet to accept whatever we
have...and to feel our Divine nature...God...Goddess.
and when did Tantra start, if it had an origin?
While there are many opinions, there
is no real beginning as such. See articles and books, particularly the Hindu
vedas, and the spiritual philosophy of Tilopa and Milaropa. However, it is now
known that using sexual-heart energy of the
Kundalini for transcendence
and connecting with God or Divinity was known by many
cultures throughout the world. There are references to it in both the new and
old testament's of the Bible, in the Koran, the
other spiritual texts.
Are there certain types of cultures
where it arises?
Interesting question. Tantra seems
to arise and gain interest when we have gone too far with our material world.
More of the lay-back, natural cultures like the Cherokees and Polynesians
follow a similar lifestyle. Some pagan traditions also do. Whenever
civilization has filled its members with fear, Tantra becomes popular. It is
something we all experience at one time or another in our lives. Now, in
Russia, Tantra has become very popular.
Are there historical or fictional people associated with its origins?
You can see glimpses of Tantra in
Krishna's playfulness with the dakinis, and Jesus, no doubt, was also a
Tantrika based upon his words of love and his association with Mary of
Magdalene and Veronica of Nazareth. Tilopa, Naropa and Milaropa also were the
so-called original messengers of Classical Tantra. However, even with the
writings of Sir Richard Burton (the anthropologist not the actoer), much has been lost to antiquity
Is there an 'ideal' Tantra, regardless of how it manifests today? If
so, what is this like?
Returning to the Biblical Garden
of Eden, or a vision of Nirvana
or Heaven. A community of people filled with unconditional love, bliss, a joy of life, tenderness and
acceptance of all. Enjoying the good life, so to speak, unaddicted yet
experiencing with totality and enlightened, of course [chuckle].
Is there an objective or ideal focus of a Tantrika? If so, what is
Not really. Maybe enjoying God's
existence at every moment and allowing enlightenment to occur in the process.
Becoming aware...awake. Follow a form of mantra or yantra meditation, eat a
proper vegetarian diet, be gentle and find love within you at each moment.
The lifestyle itself is the gift and path....
What are the essentials of 'Tantric philosophy' if there is such a
Same as above.
How does this relate to other Eastern or Western philosophies?
Most philosophies and religions
have a dogmatic point-of-view of existence. Eastern as well as Western philosophies
are tied up in dogma. Tantra is about dropping dogma, and simply being in
This is difficult to talk about since all talk is the beginning of a
philosophy. Philo from the Greek language means "life" and
"sophy" from sophic represents study. In Tantra life in its totality
is beyond study... It is experience.
Are there certain
sects of religious traditions which consider themselves or are considered by
others to be 'Tantric'?
Yes, many. Yogi Bhajan
of the 3HO organization (adapted from the Sikh tradition) considers his path
"white" Tantra. Pagan traditions call it Tantrik practice, Tibetan
Buddhists follow a Tantra path (commonly called yellow Tantra), and aspects
of Voodoo and Santamaria use similar practices as in black Tantra, and the
worship of Kali, the destroyer. This is only a sampling. There are many
texts available on Classical Tantra in new age book shops and select
Swami Virato follows the path of red Tantra...for the passion of
flesh and spirit.
Are there Western forms of Tantra or rough equivalents?
Not really. Perhaps
what is being taught by most teachers today could be called Western forms of
Tantra, because because so much has been lost over centuries or
millennia. Quodoshka was a similar form practiced by Native Americans
(Cherokee) and some still study this path. Of course this is not really
"western," and some historians suggest like in Polynesia, it all had the
Can Tantra be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism? If so, in what
forms and characters?
Yes. Read the various texts.
Some say Tantra predates all of them.
Why do people get excited and mention sex when they hear the word
Because sex sells, and most
Tantra teachers accent this portion of the Tantric lifestyle in their
courses, workshops and seminars. Some also go out of their way to "sanitize"
and de-sex their teachings and events. However, Tantra is really not
What inhibits Tantra, what stimulates it, and what kinds of people
are more likely to practice it?
Fear and a closed mind inhibit
living the Tantric life, while dance, other movement, meditation and pranyama
(various breathing techniques) and taking risks stimulate it. People who are adventurous and
open are more likely to connect to a Tantric lifestyle.
it possible for Tantra to die out?