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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kaula Tantra

As already mentioned, the word kaula is derived from kula, which means "family"; those tantrics who believe that every aspect of creation is part of a divine family are called "kaulas." They believe that Shakti, the Divine Mother, is the origin of all that exists. Everything - all forms of matter and energy - emerge from Her. It is not that the universe as a distinct entity evolves from Her; rather, She becomes the universe, She is the universe. She is both inside the universe and beyond it. Considering anything to be different from Her is ignorance, and experiencing anything as other than Her is bondage. Liberation is experiencing Her alone, within and without. Becoming one with Her in every respect is the highest achievement.

Kaula tantrics practice this philosophy in every aspect of their daily lives. First they cultivate a positive attitude toward their relationships with their family, environment, society,and, ultimately, the entire world. The process of self-transformation they undertake is guided by this philosophy - they see their spouse, children, friends, and even enemies as the manifestation of the Divine Mother. And because they have dismantled the wall that ordinarily stands between right and wrong, good and evil, auspicious and inauspicious, they do not find worldly objects and experiences to be a barrier in their spiritual quest. They see the Divine Mother in everything, so they see no need to renounce the world in order to find Her.

Tantrics commit themselves to sadhana in order to bring this philosophy into the realm of direct experience. To accomplish this the first and most important step is to analyze our own consciousness to find out how effortlessly we are able to live with the philosophy.On the practical level few of us experience our oneness with the Divine Mother, and even if we do the experience is momentary. Instead we experience a sense of separateness and a longing to be connected with Her. According to the adepts this is the root cause of all loneliness and fear, and it cannot be overcome until we are established in non-dualistic consciousness.

In most of us, however, the perception of duality is so strong that not only do we experience ourselves as totally different from the all-pervading Divine Force, we also feel that this separation is intrinsic to our existence. We identify with the physical realm so strongly that we experience our self-existence only in terms of our bodies. In other words,because we do not see ourselves as having any existence beyond the physical, our experience of pleasure and pain, loss and gain is totally body-centred. We find ourselves driven by the four primitive urges (food, copulation, sleep, and self-preservation) from which spring emotions such as desire, anger,hatred, jealousy, and greed. And until we find a way to establish ourselves in non-dual unitary consciousness these negative emotions constantly flood our mind and nervous system with anxiety, fear, and a pervasive sense of insecurity.This is the level on which animals operate.

Unlike animals, however, our thoughts, feelings, and actions are not always motivated by the need for food, copulation, sleep, and self-preservation, and our consciousness is not confined to our bodies. As our awareness becomes more refined we attain a degree of freedom from these urges, even though we are at their mercy to some extent as long as we identify with the body. There is no question, however, that staying alive requires maintaining some degree of body consciousness-the association of consciousness with the body is what keeps us here, and that is why kaula practitioners insist that there is no point in condemning the primitive urges. Instead we must learn the techniques for managing and using them wisely.

The slightest carelessness on this path can lead to indulgence. It is easy for the mind to justify acts of sense gratification." I have observed that the adepts of this path rarely reveal themselves. They may practice left-hand tantra in private, but they generally teach only the techniques of the right-hand path. And before they do reveal themselves they lead their students through a series of arduous tests while they are still involved in the practices of right-hand tantra. The masters want to make sure the aspirant has no craving for sense gratification and will uphold the sacredness of this path.

To summarize: the complete knowledge and practice pertaining to the kaula school is traditionally imparted in three stages. Each consists of a specific kind of practice, and to get that practice directly from a master a student goes through a formal process of initiation. There are three levels of initiation.The first two help the aspirant unveil the mystery of the right-hand path of the kaula school. The third and final initiation allows the aspirant to gain access to left-hand kaula tantra. And it is only after going through these three levels of initiation and doing the practices that accompany them that we can systematically unveil the dynamics of matter and spirit, attain mastery over the forces governing life within and without, and take charge of our destiny.


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