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The name Tantra,today,invariably brings a sense of fear or disgust or plain nondifference when checked with a cross section of people

that inhabit our land. Ev


eryone who exibits these feelings have a reason to feel so. So,is there a necess
ity then to discuss this topic, that hardly evokes a positive response? There ab
solutely is! Read on..
Tantric know-how comes from scriptures that are known as 'Tantra Shaastra', and
form a part of the oldest scriptures amongst a myriad of ancient knowledge repos
itory in India. Unlike what we understand today, these tantric scriptures were a
testimony to the extra terrestrial kind of intelligence, highest spiritual exce
llence achieved (siddhi, saadhana-s) and to their unquenchable thirst for excell
ence in esoteric knowledge hitherto unseen!
The product of successful quest for excellence,fulfilment in knowledge and mirac
ulous human spiritual achievements took the shape of 'Tantra Shaastra'.
So what is so special about this Shaastra? Why did our ancestors pursue this cou
rse of life culiminating in this storehouse of knowledge and achievements?
Before we understand the purpose of the ancients pursuit, lets understand what '
Tantra' means in reality.
tantra is tanum traayate iti tantra ( doing which protects our body).
As tantra Shaastra provides us the knowledge so important and essential and prot
ects us during times of difficulty, the ancients called it 'Tantra". This kind o
f meaning is found in many 'Tantra' scriptures, one of which is provided below:
tanoti vipulaan arthaan tatva mantra samanvitaan |
traanam cha kurute yasmaat tantramityabhidheeyate ||
This means, tantra provides unlimited knowledge being comprised of mantraa-s and
that which protects and provides life to humans is known as 'Tantra'.
So the first alphabets of the words tanoti and traanam here is 'Tantra.
We find many such references to Tantra being a storehouse of knowledge and pract
ical miraculous feats achievable by the followers of such tantra.
So what then has happened today, where people dread the very word Tantra? Unfor
tunately, the last few 100's of years have brought the demise of the 'knowledge'
part of the tantra Shaastra, whereby unknown to the practitioners, deeply steep
ed in superstitious practices and lack of indepth scriputural knowledge , the ma
ntra-s and tantra-s are but a shadow of the reality that was gifted to us by our
ancestors!
Esoteric knowledge in India has grown in many facets, being reflections of intel
lects of various practitioners. To understand which of these disseminate the rig
ht or the wrong knowledge is difficult to assess or to determine. These aagamaas or scriptures talk about facts that are mostly unknown to us or are unseen by
us. But the tantra Shaastra is way different from these scriptures, in the sense
that the efficasy of which could be proved by the strength of saadhana or achiv
ements. Therefore, the ancient philosophers eulogised tantra Shaastra thus;
anyaanya shaastreshu vinoda maatram na teshu kinchid bhuvi drishta masti |
chikitsita jyautisha tantra vaadaha pade pade pratyam aavahanti
||

All Shaastraa-s are but for fun, as there are none that can vouch for the result
s, whereas tantra shaastra is akin to medical practice or like astrology where r
esults could be demonstrated at every step !
Therefore the need of the hour is to preserve this ancient miraculous science an
d study them for a life of fulfilment. The same is reflected by a western philos
opher thus;
"The Indian who has lost his Indian soul must regain it if he would retain that
independence in his thought and in the ordering of his life which is the mark of
a man that is of one who seemks svarajyasiddhi"
However, such attention bestowed by the westeners has still not kindled the desi
re to study the tantra scriptures in the right earnest.
Sir John Woodroffe, the celebrated writer of the classic "The serpent power" and
other great books, says thus:
"Again the cause of this ignorance is the fact that the Tantra Shaastra is a saa
dhana Shaastra. The greater part of which becomes intelligible by Saadhana"
Tantra shaastra is primarily of three types:
That which declares supremacy of Shiva is Shiva tantra.
That which declares supremacy of Shakti is Shaakta tantra.
That which declares supremacy of Vishnu is Vaishnava tantra.
These Tantra Shaastraa's thus could be also classified as 'Saatvika, raajasika a
nd taamasika" shaastaa-s!
With this basic understanding of Tantra, we would then move to understand the me
aning of mantra and yantra in the next few blogs!