Tantra was a worldwide culture at some point in the history of time. Nobody knows exactly how it evolved. It seems an evolution according to the human need. There are talks of sects in Tantra. They are –
Shaiva Tantra in which Shiva is the master and Parvati is the disciple.
Shakta Tantra in which Shakti is supreme.
Vaishnava Tantra in which Narayana is the chief.
Ganapatya Tantra in which Ganesha is the chief deity.
Saura Tantra in which the sun is the primordial force.
These are the five main classifications of Tantra. According to some study, it is said that there were 14,000 Tantric texts in existence. Now, only a few texts remain for most of the traditional texts have been lost or destroyed. Yoga evolved from Tantra and it is one of the subjects matters in Tantra.
Tantra – Tantra essentially means “system”. The Sanskrit word Tantra comprises of two words, “tanoti” which means “expansion” and “tarayati” which means ‘liberation’ respectively. Therefore, Tantra is the means of expanding the consciousness (mind) and liberating the energy. The subject matter of study in Tantra is mind. Tantra initiates with knowing the limitations and capacities of body and mind and then it prescribes ways for the expansion of consciousness (mind) and the liberation of energy through which individual limitations are transcended and higher reality is experienced. Tantra is the science of seeing, feeling, knowing the infinite in and through the finite. Tantra aims at expanding the experience of everyday life, of enjoying and living life to the full, as a means to higher awareness. It encompasses all aspects of life, whether in the material world or that which is transcendent. It is in the widest sense a universal system. It has been and still is a way of life for various diverse groups of people throughout the world.
Yoga – The Sanskrit word Yoga is derived from root word “yuj” which means ‘to join’, therefore Yoga literally implies ‘unity’ or ‘oneness’. This unity or joining at transcendental level implies the union of the individual soul with the cosmic soul. On a more practical level, Yoga provides also means of balancing and harmonising the body, mind and emotions. This is possible through observing the disciplines of Yoga before transcendental union may dawn on individuals.
Scope of Tantra – Tantra concerns the whole realms of the physical, psychic, mental and spiritual. It addresses not only the work, play, devotion, thought but also so many other parts of human affairs. A Tantric text called the Varahi Tantra gives an elaborate description of the subjects of Tantra. For more information about Tantra and its wider aspects please refer to Blog.
The relevance of Yoga at present – In the present century, a colossal spiritual wave is surging globally, so the relevance of Yoga stands peerless. Apart from providing means for realising spiritual aims, Yoga has succeeded also as a matchless alternative into mending many physical, mental, emotional and psychic maladies such as asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, digestive disorders and other ailments which are chronic and constitutional in nature where modern science stands mum. At present, this is one of the most significant achievements of Yoga about which the modern medical scientists opine on the basis of their experiments that “Yoga becomes successful because the practices of Yoga create a balance in the nervous and endocrine systems that in turn influences other systems and organs of body”. Beyond the needs of individuals, when the world now seems to be at a loss, misunderstanding and ignoring past values without being able to establish new ones, Yoga provides concrete means of support and systematise many things that are essential for human evolution.
Traditional and Scriptural implication of Yoga – The very term “Yoga” needs a considerable deal of description regarding conceptions and misconceptions yoked with it. With the change of time the approach to Yoga has also undergone sea changes as a result of which many misconceptions have sprouted. Nevertheless, “Yoga”, as the very root of the wisdom shines into the pages of holy texts and sings celestial songs. We fetch the attention of the readers to that hereunder –
At several places in The Gita, the most beautiful and the most concise sense of Yoga is seen. For example, in chapter 2, verse 48 where Lord Krishna speaks to Arjuna. For more information please refer to Blog.
Branches of Yoga – Yoga has several branches of which three are the major one. Regarding those branches of Yoga, the same Lord Krishna reveals the secrets in the Grand Text Srimada Bhagavatam where He talks to Uddhava in canto – 11, chapter – 20, verse – 6,7,8. For more information please refer to Blog.