The Occult World of a Tantrik Guru
5. Tantrik Yoga
Shri Gurudev Mahendranath
The art of Tantrika is so complete in its life and attainment that is can truly be called the Yoga of Liberation. In its earliest and most original meaning, the word “yoga” came from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning “to unite, to connect, to link.” The English word “yoke” is taken from the same root. The original usage of the word has been completely changed and it is now found to mean or imply “a system, a path or a method.” Thus we have words like “Laya Yoga” meaning “the Path of Dissolution” (meaning not the disintegration of the yogi, but the destruction of obstacles). This yoga is often called Kundalini Yoga in modern literature and as such means “the Yoga of the Ascension of the Goddess (Kundalini.)” Here the Goddess Kundalini is equated with the divine consciousness in men and women. Types of yogas are too numerous to mention and their usage presents a variety of meanings. We must accept the changes which have taken place and use the word as it is understood. In speaking of “the Yoga of Liberation” we mean that Kaula, Shakta or Tantrika is a complete system to assist man to actually attain that state. The process, however, involves much activity which remains yoga and yet is not in itself the complete attainment. It does not claim to be the only path.
Tantrika is unique among Indian schools of wisdom and philosophy because it gives a wider meaning to the word “Liberation” and a much more immediate and practical application. In the Tantra of Blowing the Mind, Shiva replies to questions of the Devi by saying:
“The subject of Tantrika is the Supreme Reality, If this is not gained then nothing is attained.”
And on another occasion:
“Shakta does not teach union in a remote future, But here and now and in everything we do.”
Here we have a clear concise statement as to what Kaula intends to do. It is important to contemplate on its real subject so that one is less misled by the writings of uniformed people whose sole aim is to imply and present Tantrika (usually wrongly called “Tantra”) as being a system of lust, eroticism and male chauvinism.
Then in the second reference (one of the teachings often classified as “Secret Tantrika”) we have a mind-blowing concept of a real down to earth spiritual attainment such as all normal people should enjoy instead of the usual “pie-in-the-sky” concept beyond the reach of most people.
One of the first gems of spiritual teaching found in the Bhagavata Purana is the definition of mankind’s prime and therefore most important aim in life. It is to attain union with the Supreme Cosmic Soul from whence it originally came. Then all other deeds, attainments and ambitions must be seen as secondary to this.
To return again to the first shloka (verse) in the Tantra above, we have not only a clear and concise statement indicating the aim and goal, but also a warning that we must not let any thought, word or deed, from within or without to deviate us from the goal. Thus, Tantrika constantly reminds us that it has no fixed patterns and warns us against developing any. From this we pass to the next stage and conclude that the end will always justify the means and we must not permit conventional patterns, customs, morals in vogue, or other people’s ideas to obscure and obstruct the path. This is important since we must always remember that few will be able to approach this way of life who have not been conditioned, brainwashed and molded into other’s patterns in former days.
To add to the misery of modern life, to confuse all sincere seekers, thousands of spurious occult and Tantrik works flood the bookshops. In such chaos and confusion, in such a mass of contradictory ideas, generated by fools without any vital experience of their own, who can find a sure, safe and profitable path. Instead of a better way of life and the ultimate attainment we get a new whirl of ideas and activity. Kaula Shakta was not intended to make for entertainment nor to inspire furtive masturbators manipulating on Tantrik themes behind locked doors. The trail of bogus, erotic, underground ideas brings down to a sad and sorry level the great expansive way of life of the ancient Pagan world.
In those mystic days of cosmic sunshine which I enjoyed at Ranchi, with Pagala Baba Maharaj, a new period of awakening came to the top. I began to remember things I had learned from previous gurus. Pagala Baba thought it was a most auspicious sign that my first guru, when I was eleven, was a woman. He thought this was a grand opening for the future life of a Shakta. Her name was “Clay,” – Madam Clay Palmer, related to me as a great-great-great aunt. She was known as the Witch of Rottingdean, a coastal village only a few miles from Brighton. As she had the patronage of Queen Victoria, her craft and fortune-telling activities were ignored by the police. Clay could have taught much to the witch covens which have recently mushroomed in Britain and America and given some more tangible taste to their claims of having inherited an ancient European tradition.
When my Tantrik initiation under Pagala Baba was complete, he handed me a sheet of foolscap paper on which were written six shlokas in Bengali. He instructed me to absorb the material of these verses but only to reveal them when the right time came. “How,” I asked, “would I know what was the right time?” “This,” he explained, “will be revealed to you and in a way you will most clearly understand.” When I left Ranchi, I traveled to Calcutta to meet one of my earlier Tantrik gurus. The visit was without fruit as he had passed away. From Calcutta I went west along the Ganges valley. Some few miles out of Varanasi I found my other Tantrik guru. Although he was still alive, it was obvious that he could not remain so much longer. I showed him the document of the six shlokas but he did not know Bengali nor were his eyes good enough to read anything. He advised me not to be careless in getting a translator and it would be advisable to divide the sheets into six strips and have each verse translated by a different person. He too felt the time for revelation might not be far away, but until I received direct instructions I must not reveal them to anyone who was not a proper initiate of the level required. Thus far, I have never done so.
Separating the shlokas was successful. I returned to Calcutta and visited a few places in Bengal and Bihar. Each verse was translated by several people until I could be satisfied the real meaning was retained. The original document has gone the impermanent way of all impermanent things, but the substance I have retained in my memory. From the point of view of spiritual, philosophical, religious or moral teaching, the “secret Tantrika” – for such it must be called – is the most blowing of explosive thought the human race has had revealed or has ever conceived. It shatters most of conventional religious ideas, pulverizes the pseudo-morality and relationships of all the Black Dharmas (Hebrew, Christian and Muslim) and even the vague Western morality which passes as Hinduism today. This far out wonder forms the central core of the teachings in the “Tantra of Blowing the Mind.”
The fulfillment of many prophecies to indicate that this period can be regarded as the opening era in the peak period of the Kali Yuga has since been supplemented by mystical experiences which constitute a cosmic explosion coupled with a Divine command to “Reveal the Tantrik Dharma.” It is also necessary to mention that the scriptures, for what they are worth, declare Tantrika as being the correct and most suitable for mankind in the Age of Darkness. Here also, much of Kaula Dharma has been kept secret as far as the public may be concerned. It was useless and futile to preach or reveal the esoteric teachings of Kaula to people of other religions or those who chose to follow a different way of life. In addition to this, caution was necessary because they were teachings which could be abused and their level as a supreme spiritual way of life liable to misunderstanding.
In this we have a clear example of misinterpretation, not by backward or decadent people, but by the educated scholars, missionaries and Theosophists. Madame Blavatsky abhorred Tantrika, but gave no tangible reasons. “The stanzas of Dzyan,” which she claimed to reveal, are Tantrik teachings. Obviously there was much confusion here. Brian Hodgson called Tantrik Dharma “ferocity, lust and mummery.” Sir John Woodroffe completely obscures Kaula Dharma because of his too academic approach. Apart from this he played the role of an apologist and fell heavily in trying to prove that all the naughty things which were in Tantrika could also be found in the Vedic Aryan religion. This led to the incorrect conclusion that Tantrika, Kaula and Shakta were a development which had its origins in the Vedic religion. At that time, the period in which most of his material was produced, the Harappa civilization had not been discovered or unearthed. Apart from these defects, he did try to make a useful contribution to reveal the Tantrik aspect of Hinduism to the Western world. Most writers on “Tantra” (really meaning Tantrika) have plagiarized his works and writings. Sir John had completely broken away from Christian tradition and his sincere acceptance of Tantrika is beyond question. Unfortunately, we are led to believe that it was an acceptance in theory which saw little practice. He was also unaware that during his life and times, quite a few people, some high rankers in the British Army, had embraced Maha Kali and there were several temples to her worships in London and other European cities. Also in America we saw the rise of the Yankee Tantrik guru and cults. Now we are left in the simplest and most primordial of all situations where Tantrika must again reveal and speak for itself.
Kaula is a way of life. Although not a religion, religious elements have developed from it. Although not a philosophy, many philosophies owe their inspiration to Tantrika. Because it is a way of life for normal human beings it must have powerful erotic expression, since human beings can only express themselves in the ultimate sense in the sex play between male and female. All creative and fertility principles are based on a sex process. It is the Yang-Yin of Taoism and the Yab-Yum of Tibetan Lamaism. In Kaula it is expressed as Shiva-Shakti, potential and manifestation. A philosophy or religion which ignores this principle tends to increase misery for mankind. The Judea-Christian tradition does not deny it, but only tried to suppress it. And that has been its greatest crime.
It therefore follows that a natural way of life for human beings will be uninhibited and erotic. Kaula not only teaches us of the need to remove these inhibitions if we would succeed in spiritual attainment, but it reveals the methods by which it can be done.
Tantrika will always retain secrets from the uninitiated. This is because it uses a secret language which in itself is unique. Phony gurus, claiming to be Tantrik experts, can never grasp the real meaning and the sense in which normal words are used. Kaula as an expression of the Supreme Reality has its own means of protecting itself from commercial exploitation. It is dangerous, dear Soul, to play with these things if you are not sincere in your purpose.
Kaula accepts the undeniable fact that men and women are, by nature, erotic creatures. If sex is suppressed or destroyed, then life becomes meaningless and diseased mental conditions quickly develop. Yet this also requires a word of warning. Tantrika has nothing to do with modern concepts of free love, promiscuity, lechery, lewdness, wife-swapping, or any perversions which deviate from the normal basis and relationship in sexual expression. Shaktas are often naked in their rites because they feel that a presentation of themselves as a worshiper also requires the inferior aspect of going before the deity as a naked child. Then also, we cannot overlook the fact that men and women are more truly natural in nudity than when they are dressed. It should be possible in a sane society for men and women to worship naked if they feel inclined to do so. The restrictive patterns and law enforcement of societies dominated by the Black Dharmas deny people this freedom and secrecy “might” remain a necessity until a better oriented society develops.
In the Panchatattva the five elements, five things, are offered in worship and dedicated to the Deity. The last of the five is known as maithuna or union. In Hindu astrology Maithuna is the Sanskrit name symbolized by the pair of lovers and known in the nomenclature of Western astrology as Gemini, often spoken of as The Twins, is really a couple or pair. Hindu tradition makes no pretense that anything other than sexual union between man and woman is implied. Maithuna as “the fifth thing” is offered to the Deity to worship and follows the simple, natural Pagan custom of offering to the Deity the things people like or enjoy most. The strange, perverted and dirty concept, common in the Black Dharmas, that some things or expressions or human existence are foul, inferior or unworthy of being associated with religious activity finds no place in Tantrika. Everything that exists must be associated with God and the sexual organs, the five senses and even body secretions cannot be regarded as separate or exceptions to this general rule. There may be things we like and things we dislike, but the differences are in our “minds” and do not separate these things from God. Everything is created by God and everything is God. Since God is everywhere is there some place or thing from which we can expect God to be absent? Kaulas think that they should offer to God in worship the gifts for which they themselves have great regard and enjoy the most. As creation cannot be separated from the creator, man cannot be separated from God. Thus as mankind enjoys, God must enjoy also. The senses and their expressions must be part of God, one with God, enjoyed by God, part of the divine creation and part of mankind itself. How then can God enjoy the creation except through the sense expressions of that creation?
In spiritual life gurus will give various mantras. In the more intense sadhana or discipline the disciple is given such mantras as “So’ham” (That am I), “Sa’ham” (She am I) “Devo’ham” (I am God), etc. These are mantras of oneness or togetherness. If they are to have a real place in spiritual life, can we conceive that the oneness implied in the mantra ceases to have any meaning because at some moment one is engaged in the toilet, one is blowing one’s nose, masturbating or having sexual intercourse? Rather than suggest a moment or act is improper Tantriks stress that the acts become sacred by natural law and more so if accompanied by the concept of oneness expressed by the mantra. The Aghori sect, at one time, very numerous, based their way of life on this principle and worshiped the Mother Goddess as Aghoresvari. Aghora – literally “not horrible”, means that there is nothing really horrible and it is only the mind which makes it so, or makes it appear so.
Unfortunately, for the investigator into Tantrik ways and patterns, real Tantrik communities no longer exist in India. Since Independence a great transformation and westernizing process has much eliminated the ancient ways of the Indian people. Most Hindu temples have been “nationalized” and compelled by law to operate under a new trustee system. The laws did not make the same provisions for Christian churches and Muslim mosques. New laws prohibit India’s more than famous Digambara (naked) sadhus from passing through certain areas of the cities and a new modern Western type of education has corrupted the morals of young people and encouraged harassment of these sadhus. Children no longer go naked except in families where poverty is extreme. These new regulations and new imported custom carry the subtle implications that the ancient Hindu customs and ideas were wrong. Even village fairs have come under the modern Christianized bans. Some dancing, songs and play in village fairs have been banned by the Government as being obscene and improper.
Ancient history makes it quite clear that India had its periodic festivals and erotic explosions similar to the Saturnalia and erotic religious festivals of Greece and Rome. The ancient world knew that human tension and sexual energy had to be released otherwise it would stimulate internal civil strife. The occurrence of unending riots, students on the rampage, and civil disorders in India are not only due to economic and political circumstances, but to the sex-starved frustrations of youth. It may sound almost incredible to overseas people, but many young men in India today, especially the new class of college students, do not have any real sexual experience with the opposite sex until they marry. As the college may keep them otherwise occupied, marriage may not take place until they are between 24 to 26 years of age. Even then there can sometimes be an extended waiting period until they obtain employment. Of course, masturbation is the customary and frequent outlet for young people, but even here the approach is unscientific and young people have never learned to utilize stimulation and sexual fantasy to increase the pleasure of auto-eroticism. In the new Christianized morality, a guilt complex has developed and so the practice fails to give young people full satisfaction and sublimation. Now, instead of a college orgy, they burn the college furniture and equipment and smash doors and windows. Hymens are left intact.
Although we now see the tendency of suppression, India did rate its sexual life very highly in the past. The erotic literature of India was neither an open secret or material which was passed furtively from hand to hand. Books like the Kama Sutra were widely read by both sexes, or those unable to read it had it read to them. Children sat by their mothers and nothing was hidden. The remarkable feature of all this is its Tantrik aspect where sex was not singled out or regarded as a special separate subject, but rather as a normal part of normal life. Thus modern India is something of an enigma today when we see that the element of dirty-mindedness was so completely unknown to the Indian people in the past. We must recall that for thousands of years India has not one single law against drinking intoxicating liquors, using drugs like ganja, hashish and others and not even a tiny injunction against nudity or sex. There were never any laws which imposed censorship on plays performed in public, on any poetry, literature, art or temple sculpture. Laws were lacking and the heavy hand of government was unknown. In spite of this, Indians were moral and noble people. We have not better testimony of this than the words of praise of Queen Victoria. Regarded by some as a very narrow-minded Christian, but broad enough to see that the Hindu religion was, in her terminology, “A good religion and the Hindus are moral people.” Think on these things!
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