Tantra is an ancient spiritual science that goes back more than 7,000 years! “Tan” means expansion, while “Tra” means liberation
At its root, Tantra is a school of thought where the goal is to expand your consciousness in order to attain liberation. There is no one set way to do this, but a basic premise in Tantra is that all unit beings– human beings, animals, plants, fish, mountains, etc. — all individual unit beings– have consciousness, going from crude to subtle. The subtle stages of consciousness indicate a VERY slow, almost imperceptible merging (think geological time), moving closer and closer to infinity, eternity, and the collective conscious.. That is the true objective of Tantra– to allow your unit consciousness to begin to merge with infinite consciousness; that spiritual journey that we’re all going through, each in our own unique way. The institutionalization of tantric practice is also equated with the creation of civilization, at least in India.
When Tantra came around it really helped to organize life– not only in a spiritual way but actually in creating the foundation of civilization! The first Tantra ‘guru’ or the first person to actually teach Tantra in an organized an widespread fashion was called Sada Shiva or Sadasiva (Sanskrit: सदाशिव, Sadāśiva), also known as just Shiva. Sada Shiva wasn’t the founder or creator of Tantra but he’s the guy that made it an institution, made it a thing that everyone wanted to learn and even teach their children. Another famous Tantra Guru came on the scene around 3500 years ago –he was called Krishna. In modern history we can think of Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii, a Tantra guru from 1955 to 1990 — in fact, Tibetan Buddhism is a tantric lineage, Zen Buddhism is a tantric lineage, Taoism is a tantric lineage, ananda marga, is another tantric lineage.
This process of you expanding your unit consciousness takes a lot of struggle– it takes a lot of work, and that’s one of the tenants of Tantra. The Tantric practitioner recognizes that expansion is always going to be difficult– there’s always going to be clashes when boundaries get pushed and they’re always going to have to go through obstacles in life. In fact, as you may well know, just sitting for meditation can be a struggle! Trying to merge with infinite consciousness is a glorious thing to do– nothing should be standing in your way– yet sometimes it seems as if all of humanity stands in your way!
To live a tantric life is to acknowledge the importance of having Yin and Yang in balance in all areas of one’s life, thereby allowing one to be fearless– and to be able to overcome any and all obstacles in order to attain the goal of starting down the ‘long and winding road’ of merging with that universal consciousness. You can be sure there’s going to be challenges in all areas of life– not only in your individual spiritual practice, but in family life, in social life, in relationships and in society, but when things are balanced you can easily maneuver around the obstacles!
Does Tantra Mean Sex?
Absolutely not! However– Tantra acknowledges that one of the most influential interactions between the male and female aspect– one that changes the course of entire lives and even creates new lives, is of course sex and physical intimacy. In Tantric practice we openly talk about the body, sex and intimacy in order to be able to learn and teach as much as possible about this incredibly important aspect of life on Earth!