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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Forbidden Tantra

Finding a tantric master and preparing to undertake these disciplines is difficult, and attempting to learn from those who do not know them is useless and may even be injurious. Those who do know the practices rarely teach them because many of the practices, like scientific experiments, require a precise technique in order to yield results. And if the practitioner's intentions are not pure, some practices can be used for destructive and selfish purposes.

For example there are scriptures which can be classified as "applied tantric science," which contain formulas which illintentioned tantrics can use for marana (killing), vashikarana (seduction), mohana (manipulating the minds of others),vidveshana (creating animosity between two people), and other negative purposes. But even when the purpose of these practices is not negative, experimenting with them without the guidance of an adept is like playing with nuclear weapons.This is why the scriptures label them "forbidden tantra." To discourage misinformed and unprepared students from undertaking them, the adepts warn: "An aspirant should not even open and read the scriptures containing these practices (prayoga shastra) without the guidance of a master."

Once I read about an experience that Sri Swami Rama of Himalayan Institute had,that he shares in his book 'Living with the Himalayan Masters' illustrates how "forbidden" practices not only can awaken an extraordinary force but also can materialize it regardless of an aspirant's intention or purity of heart. Swami Rama's master, Sri Bengali Baba (Babaji), had an old handwritten scripture that he always carried with him.Once when he was a very young man Babaji showed him this book, instructing him never to open it without his permission. This of course aroused the young man's curiosity,and he resolved to read it at the earliest opportunity.

That opportunity came one day when master and disciple were traveling in northern India along the banks of the Ganga and stopped for the night at a place called Garh Mukteshwar.After Babaji went to sleep Swamiji quietly took the scripture and sat down to read it in the moonlight.Almost immediately he came across a mantra with a commentary that explained how to practice it and what the result would be.Young,Swami Rama did not want to waste time reading the rest of the scripture; he wanted to see what would happen - so he memorized the mantra and resolved to do the thousand recitations required, along with the auxiliary practices of mudras and nyasas. There were, however, two other auxiliary practices which Swamiji did not know how to do - the invocation and propitiation to Bhairava, and the drawing of a protective circle (Lakshamana rekha) around oneself - but in his enthusiasm he undertook the practice anyway. He had no idea what would happen - but, he rationalized, in any case there was no reason to be afraid, for he was a student of a great master, whose blessing would compensate for any errors he might make.

Just before dawn, as he was nearing the end of the practice,Swami Rama opened his eyes and saw a gigantic, nude woman making a fire several yards from where he sat. Thinking he might be hallucinating, he closed his eyes. By this time he had completed almost 900 repetitions, and continued the practice.After a while he opened his eyes again - and this time he saw an even bigger man, also nude, walking toward the womanand her fire.Frightened, He quickly closed his eyes again.Next he heard the thunderous voice of the man demanding,"Have you cooked my food?" The woman answered, "You haven't brought me anything to cook." He opened his eyes and saw the giant standing next to the fire, glaring at Swami Rama and gesturing in his direction. "Why don't you cook him?" he roared. Swami Rama fainted from fright.

When he regained consciousness it was dawn, and his master was standing beside him. There was no trace of the two giants or their fire, but as soon as Swamiji remembered them,he fainted again. This happened several times, until finally his master kicked him in the rear and shouted, "Wake up! I hope you got the lesson."

Many years later Swami Rama explained that the results of these practices can be so overwhelming that an unprepared student cannot handle their extraordinary force. That is why before imparting these "forbidden" techniques masters lead their students through a series of rigorous tests to ensure that each has purified his or her mind and heart and is interested in higher spiritual pursuits rather than in worldly power and pleasure. Those who pass are given the practices, and when they are completed successfully the aspirant discovers the dynamics underlying the extraordinary forces that establish and implement the laws governing matter and energy. And because they are intent on attaining wisdom, peace, and everlasting happiness, such aspirants use these practices to subdue the forces of ego, anger, hatred, desire, and attachment.

The practices of "forbidden" tantra may or may not result in inner illumination - enlightenment - but they do unveil the mystery of the life-force which manifests in numberless forms. And they can help us see through the forces of matter and mind and attain a glimpse of the radiant divine being who shines both inside and outside us. They can also help us subdue,conquer, or seduce the negative forces in our own being,and thereby help us attain freedom from the obstacles they create - disease, inertia, doubt, fear, the inability to reach the goal, the tendency to slide back once the goal is achieved, and a host of secondary impediments such as grief and moodiness,as well as mental and physical instability. Tantric masters impart these practices to their prepared students so they can overcome these obstacles quickly and prepare themselves for even higher practices.

Rajmani Tigunait (Tantra Unveiled) 


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