Tantric meditation of east or Tantric sex of west?
Have you ever wondered what Tantric meditation of east is all about, or for that matter tantric sex of the west? For centuries literature and various popular sites have woven Goddess Kali with Tantra, primarily because she embodies ultimate female power and energy and her unison with Lord Shiva, the core of male energy, results in the supreme power of the universe. For those who follow and try attaining this power, are said to have possessed the power of Tantra.
Kali has been a goddess of contrasts, on one hand she conveys death, destruction, and slaying of vicious demons, whose skulls she wears around her neckline.On the other hand, she is the ultimate of female power, who dispels fear through her divine wrath. Does then Tantra, somewhere help in bringing respect for women? Tantric interpretation of Kali standing on top of her husband reflects an image of Shiva (Divine Consciousness) as inactive, and Shakti (Divine Energy as Kali) as active. She is his Shakti, or creative power, and is the substance behind all consciousness. She can never exist apart from Shiva or act without him as Shaktiis not distinct from Shiva, but is rather his dynamic power.Without female power of action, male power of consciousness is dead.From a Tantric perspective, when one meditates on reality as pure consciousness, one refers to this as Shiva and dynamic meditation is referred to as Kali. Doesn’t then Tantra help us to respect women, something utterly missing in the Indian society, that has been a bed of such revolutionary religious ideologies?
In the West however, mother goddess is seen in a different paradigm. In eastern philosophy, Kali is Nature in her raw, exuberant power, while in the west, mother nature evokes visions of abundant harvests, forests teeming with wildlife, majestic mountains and inspiring sunsets, not rampage and destruction that Kali signifies in Shakta scriptures. However, western pagan literature does regard life and death as complementary and has triple goddesses: maiden, mother and crone ie. beginning, middle and end. But then again there is a new beginning.
Goddess Kali is thought to represent a cultural matrix of ancient India where Vedic and Tantric religions went hand in hand. Even there are archeological and textual evidence that Indus Valley people might have also worshipped Mother Goddess in form of Kali. Origins of the Tantric strands may be traced to a magical or fertile cult of pre- or non-Vedic people in ancient Indus Valley civilization, with a later admixture of folk, magic and tribal shamanism.
Today, Kali and Tantra are commercialized, through preachings and popularization of Tantric Sex. Kali’s intense blackness represents her ability to absorb everything evil. For her,death signifies not physical death but death of the ego. But a deeper understanding of Tantra reveals it is not just about sex. It is a rigorous path that involves cultivation of inner and outer purity, control of mind through meditation, leading to ultimate freedom of unitary consciousness. While some Hindu sects see the physical body and the restless, desiring mind as entrapping the spirit, Tantra accepts that, paradoxically, the instruments used to overcome the limitations of body, mind and intellect are the body, mind and intellect themselves.
But Tantra has been greatly misunderstood and misrepresented in the West. The most infamous practice is the circle ritual, the chakrasadhana or chakrapuja, which involves the panchamakara or "five M's": mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), madya (alcohol), mudra (parched grain) and maithuna (sexual intercourse). This is almost like what some Wiccans of the west practise, physically enactinga Great Rite through sexual union of priest and priestess, though it is primarily celebrated symbolically by lowering of the athame into the chalice.
Indian Tantra has never been a licensefor free sex, like New Age Tantra of the West, marketed as a commercial package as a collection of incense, candlelight and naked bodies gently writhing in soft focus. Marketing of Tantra today is aimed at enhancing sexual pleasure, cloaking it under the mantle of religion. A tantric sex video can be at the most a productof Kama Sutra, a classic Hindu treatise on love and sex, but has nothing to do with Tantra. The purpose of Hindu Tantra is to break through the barriers of nescience to attain spiritual union with the divine, not to have longer and stronger orgasms. Hope the world understands its superior take!