Tantra interjected a kind of magical, proactive means for gaining control of the temporal world, which had an element of unpredictability. “Tantric ritual is about powerful and dangerous forces, which must be encountered and dealt with for the good of the community. These forces can only be manipulated by specialist priests and ritualists, and even then there is a risk that things can ‘go wrong’” (Samuel, 2008, p. The presence of sexual ritual, which the early Vedic scholars reviled, has been much misunderstood as something gratuitous, even debased and degrading. As such, Tantra introduced a new and potent physical means of finding transcendence through a bodily discipline. The act of sex became “the vehicle of illumination itself; for it was in orgasm that the deity revealed itself as the transcendental core of the energies of cognition and action, the unity of light and emptiness” (Ibid). Early tantric sexual ritual included the use of semen, blood and various pigments – its goal was to generate power through the breaking ofThere is a palpable force to the mode of wisdom, and to its achievement through the discipline of yoga. Tantric yoga’s origins, as with ritual, are obscure, though its introduction as a practice can be traded to the Upanishads. Many of the mystical pathways of inner transcendence that are so closely identified with Hinduism are the products of yoga, including asceticism, meditation and salvation through hallucination (Hopkins, 1901). The Upanishadic meaning of yoga has to do with restraint of the senses; in fact, in this early period “yoga” and “restraint” have more or less equivalent meanings (Ibid). What followed was the systematization of yoga, which took place roughly between 300 and 500 A., emerging as a system concerned with the integration of the body and mind (Spiritual Teachings, 1995). All of this represents the evolution of an early, perceived need to move past the physical restraints of life by altering one’s consciousness, one’s reality.This tantric wisdom was fully part of the Hindu tradition by the 11th century; by this time, “tantric theory and practice begin to have profound and observable affects (sic) on ‘mainstream’ Hinduism” (Brooks, 1990, p. It is during this period that the teachings of tantric yoga “gain popularity and influence the works of non-tantric writers” (Ibid). However, evidence of
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