"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tantra : Shrines As Teachers 1

Kamakhya Temple:

Kamakhya Temple

The apparent contradiction between the left- and right-hand paths of tantra can be resolved by visiting the Kamakhya shrine in Assam and doing practices there. This is a shrine where animal sacrifice is still practiced - but the atmosphere is permeated by an overwhelming air of compassion and tranquility. Here all the pairs of opposites - light and darkness,compassion and cruelty, to name a few - exist side by side. The protector of all living beings, the Divine Mother Kamakhya, consumes flesh; Bhairava, the giver of mental clarity and spiritual illumination, is pleased by the offering of liquor. Tantrics at Kamakhya talk as if they invariably include sex as the fifth and last step in their sadhana, but in reality they observe celibacy. Those tantric masters who simply sing the glory of the Divine Mother but do not display special powers are honored by those aspirants who seem to possess extraordinary tantric siddhis (powers). Anyone who is not familiar with the basic metaphysics of tantra will find the experience at this shrine disorienting. On the other hand, if they come properly prepared they will experience the dance of the destructive and creative aspects of divinity. In other words, if you do not know how to see motherly affection in both aspects of the divine force, the initial experience of compassion and tranquility is soon replaced by fear, and you will vow never to return. But if you are interested in unveiling the mystery of left-hand tantra and the sublime method of meditation on tantric goddesses like Kali, Tara, and Tripura Sundari, then this is the right place for you.

The habit of allowing your attention to be pulled here and there by distractions is the greatest obstacle to an extended stay at Kamakhya. The next obstacle is an attraction to miracles. The tantrics who deliberately perform miracles,however, are shielding the true adepts from aspirants who are merely seeking power and pleasure. If you are not distracted by miracles you will meet a master. Incidentally, this is one of the rare sites where you can find tantric adepts of all ten of the esoteric paths known as the maha vidyas.

Chinnamasta Temple:

Chinnamasta Temple

Another shrine, Chhinnamasta, in the jungles of Ram Garh in the state of Bihar, is the locus for tantric sadhana inspired by the goddess Chhinnamasta, a manifestation of the Divine Mother. The shrine itself consists of a tiny temple in the middle of nowhere, but the area within a radius of several miles is known for miraculous occurrences. Chhinnamasta represents the energy of transcendental consciousness, and in her personified form she is represented as a decapitated woman who holds a sword in her right hand and her own head in the left. On her left and right two other goddesses are drinking the blood that spouts from her neck. Like Jesus Christ she has given her body (to be taken as food) and her blood (as drink) to those she loves. If you know where to look you will find tantric adepts of this school; figuratively speaking they have beheaded themselves in order to find an eternal place at Chhinnamasta's feet.

If you want to cultivate the power and wisdom that will enable you to conquer your ego and offer the best of yourself to your fellow beings then you must visit this place. But, as scriptures like Shakti Sangama Tantra state, you must be ready to be beheaded symbolically (and perhaps even literally), for you gain immortality only after you are resurrected. Here you will certainly find someone who can explain the spiritual meaning of crucifixion and its role in attaining everlasting life. And the yogic techniques of leaving the body without dying and entering another body without being born (parakaya pravesha) are a specialty of the adepts belonging to the Chhinnamasta school of tantra.



Banaras in North India is another hub of tantric mystery,but walking through the streets of this ancient city you find what you seek only if you know how to search. All known or unknown spiritual traditions that ever existed in India have their roots here, but to a casual tourist the city is chaotic, noisy, and polluted; its streets are full of cows and lined with crowded temples. Without proper guidance and a well-defined goal you could roam endlessly without finding anything.

Banaras is an excellent destination for those who know nothing about tantra and are genuinely interested in learning;it is also an excellent destination for those who are intellectually well-versed in tantric principles and are keen on gaining direct experience. But it is not the best place for those in between. Beginners can begin by studying with any known teacher, and soon they will understand how and where to find someone who can help them undertake an appropriate tantric practice. Those who are familiar with tantric principles and have begun practicing find that the spiritual energy emanating from any of the shrines may become a living guide. Such aspirants do not waste their time trying to find a tantric master; instead, the divine force comes to them in some form (human or non-human), and such a blessed aspirant knows whether such experiences are genuine or illusory. Problems await the intermediate group: those who have read a little but have not done any practice. Such tantric enthusiasts are gullible and usually get lost in this spiritual mall.

This is another reason why knowledge of the scriptures is crucial. To those who have studied acclaimed tantric texts (such as Netra Tantra, Swacchanda Tantra, Tantraloka, RudraYamala, Prapancha Sara, and Sri Vidyarnava) Banaras is a tantric paradise. They will know exactly which path is perfect for them. They can, for example, walk directly to the shrine of Ganesha (known as Duddhiraja), receive his blessings, and then proceed to Kala Bhairava and with his permission enter the city of light (which, spiritually speaking, is situated at the tip of Shiva's trident - a city beyond the realm of earth). With clarity and confidence they can then walk into the temple complex of Kamaccha and by following the left-hand path of tantra gain experience within a few months which might take many years for them to gain elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. "'Problems await the intermediate group: those who have read a little but have not done any practice""
    By practice what do you mean....any spiritual practice or tantrik practice?
    If you mean tantrik practice then how someone can practice tantra sadhna before ha had met his master.


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