Tantra is a religious practice that originated in the Indian subcontinent between the 5th and 9th centuries CE. For many followers of tantra, it is a spiritual journey of discovering and integrating different aspects of the divine within oneself. It is an ancient practice that seeks to bring balance and harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. Tantra is based on various spiritual concepts, including the five elements, mantras, mantras-in-action, beeja-mantras, Natya-yoga, and many more.
The expression of tantra does not have a direct translation from the Sanskrit language. It is derived from two words, Tan and Trayam, which mean ‘to stretch’ and ‘threefold’, respectively. Tantra is broadly described as the ‘union of the microcosm and macrocosm in a creative, sacred, and balanced manner’. It self-references the unity, balance, and interconnectedness of all things.
Tantra is practiced in three broad categories; Mantra, Yantra, and Tantra. Mantra is an outward form of chanting and is the use of words, sounds, and vibrations to manifest desired results. It is believed that by using a phrase or a single word repeatedly the mind will become attuned to it, and eventually experiences and understanding will be gained. Yantra is an interior practice and is the use of geometric patterns and the sacred geometry in meditative practices to help bring the practitioner closer to higher states of understanding and awareness. Finally, Tantra encompasses all practices and is used to describe this spiritual journey of awakening.
Tantra encompasses various forms of yoga, including Haṭhayoga, Jñanayoga, and Kriyayoga, all of which are considered integral parts of this spiritual journey. Each of these aspects brings about different aspects of spiritual enlightenment, from physical health and vitality through to profound meditative states. Additionally, tantric teachings place a strong emphasis on ethical principles, compassion, and emotional intelligence, and practitioners are taught to learn how to cultivate inner peace and harmony.
In tantra, the goal of spiritual advancement is not to avoid the world and its problems, but to cultivate a deeper understanding of one’s true Self within the ever-changing context of life itself. This path is seen as a path of conscious awakening, rather than escapism or avoidance. Practitioners of tantra might use meditation, breathwork, yoga, and other practices to cultivate consciousness, harmony, and balance.
Tantra is often seen as a path of transformation, as it can help the individual to recognise and dissolve the many patterns of conditioning that can limit one’s capacity for awareness, love and growth. Through letting go of such thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, practitioners of tantra can seek to transcend their ego and ultimately discover the deeper truth of their true nature.
Therefore, tantra can be seen as a spiritual journey of self-exploration, integration, and freedom. Ultimately, tantra is designed to help us create a life of balance and harmony by cultivating deeper understanding, awareness, and integration of the inner and outer realms. This inner wisdom can then be used to manifest positive change in ourselves and our relationships with others.
For those who are open to exploring its potential, tantra can provide an experience of profound healing, integration, and transformation. With commitment and dedication, its teachings can help people to rediscover their true selves and explore inner and outer realms with balance and grace.