What is Tantra?
Tantra is a set of Hindu teachings generally giving various rituals and techniques to achieve
the various goals of life, including liberation. Buddhist and Jain
Tantras of a similar nature also exist.
The highest Tantras are
spiritual texts providing worship of deities, mantras, and meditation to achieve union with God and Self-realization. They are great yogic teachings and imbued with the higher truths of Vedanta. Tantras of an intermediate level use rituals and mantras to gain personal goals like health, prosperity, marital happiness or children. Inferior Tantras use similar methods to gain control over the minds of other people or even inflict harm. Inferior Tantras are a kind of black magic that no spiritual person can really approve of.
In the West Tantra has
mainly become known through various sexual Tantric practices. In
fact to most Westerners Tantra means sex. Such sexual Tantras were
usually part of the intermediate or inferior Tantras, not the higher
Tantras. They make up only a small portion of Tantric teachings and
should not be made to represent Tantra as a whole.
As the Goddess represents
the Divine Word and the force of Nature, most Tantric approaches are
based on worshipping Her. She controls all energies and gives
mastery over all techniques. She is the power of Yoga, the Yoga
Shakti, that leads us to our true Self.