Classical Tantra: a spiritual science
Tantra originates from the Kashmiri Valley, unlike today an oasis of peace and profound spirituality.
At Yogi Living, we teach the early form of Tantra that originated from Kashmir in the northwest corner of what later became India. Its beautiful science, philosophy, and practice before the birth of Christ dominated the sub-continent between the 700 and 1300 century and influenced all major religions at the time. Classical Tantra prescribes a scientific set of techniques for awakening. By following these techniques one can enter into the highest state of meditation and thereby attain an elevated state of consciousness. Classical Tantra is different from Vedantic thought in that its aim is not to escape this world or enter into another realm, but rather to return from the higher state so that one can fully live life in the present moment.
Classical Tantra offers a set of time-tested techniques including meditations, Kundalini Kriyas, visualizations, and mantras to work with the different bodies or koshas – the physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual body – to create a peaceful and present way of living life. While many view Kundalini awakening as a process of raising energy, Classical Tantra regards it as a process of balancing the upward-moving energy with the downward-moving energy. When practiced correctly in line with ancient scriptures, Classical Tantra is a safe and beautiful practice that is life-changing for many.
The difference between Classical tantra and neo-tantra
Classical Tantra is often seen as a physical practice involving sexual energies. But the essence of Tantra is not physical but the quintessential unifying force: love.
The main difference between Neo-Tantra and Classical Tantra is that Neo-Tantra focuses on sexual liberation and sacred sex, whereas Classical Tantra aims to reach the higher state of meditation, Bhairava, or Samadhi. Intimacy and lovemaking are just a few of the numerous techniques that one can apply to reach the highest state of meditation, and these should never be practiced in isolation from the manifold meditative practices of Classical Tantra. In effect, only three out of 112 techniques in the Vigyana Bhairav, taken as the core text of Neo-Tantra, are physical.
In the ancient practice, sexual rituals were reserved for initiates who had been practicing Tantra for decades, and not condensed into weekend retreats as it happens in the Neo-Tantric sex market today. Such focus on ecstatic sex can be dangerous as sexual energies need to be balanced through daily meditation. The safe way is to practice tantric lovemaking with one’s partner in conjunction with other aspects of Tantra and avoid any retreat that promises spiritual, sacred, and kinky sex; or enlightenment through sexuality.
Is Tantra religious?
In Classic Tantra, the gods are simply metaphors of the higher energy state which we humans can also enter through daily meditative practice.
Whether Tantra is religious is a complex question. In effect, Classical Tantra has served spiritual atheist as well as religious followers. Notably, the foundational tantric text of Kashmiri Tantra, the Tricka, states that there are no gods. And still the Vigyana Bhairav is a dialogue between the gods Shiva and Shakti. In the non-dual tantric worldview of Kashmiri Tantra, gods not material beings, but metaphors for the highest energy state that one enters while in the highest state of meditation. In the Vigyanna Bhairav the gods are given the same name as this state, Bhairava, because they are the same.
The practice of Tantra means to be present in everything that you do, whether you listen to good music, walk in nature, dance, or any passion that makes you forget the monkey brain and instead live life fully. This is also true for your love life, where a helathy love life is seen as good karma. With Tantra, you can focus thoughts on what is relevant and experience the world with intuitive wisdom and love. Classical Tantra empowers you to meet the world from the heart and to enter a new life. Welcome to the practice of Classical Tantra!
Feel free to ask questions if you wish further clarification!