Tantra Yoga is a holistic approach to the study of the universal from the point of view of the individual: the study of the macrocosm through the study of the microcosm. Tantra Yoga draws on all the sciences – astronomy, astrology, numerology, physiognomy, physics, chemistry, alchemy, Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India), psychology, mathematics, geometry, and so on – to provide a practical means of realizing the highest ideals of philosophy in daily life. Instead of separating and categorizing the different areas of human knowledge, Tantra Yoga draws them together. Tantra Yoga studies the tree of life itself instead of limiting itself to any single branch of the tree. This tree is a microcosm, a great organization of diverse elements linked together by a unifying law (dharma) that is inherent in their very nature. Tantra Yoga seeks to understand this law.
The aim of Tantra Yoga is to expand awareness in all states of consciousness, whether waking state, dream state or sleep state. To accomplish this we need a kind of “deprogramming” and “reprogramming” of our human computer. Our birth in a particular place and time gives us our primary programming, influenced by heredity and environment. If we are content with the results and live our lives without too many problems, then we will see no need for change. But when we experience great difficulties in life or begin to seek something beyond our limited “program” then we need a way to alter it. Tantra Yoga provides the methodology and the tools for this work. Tantra Yoga teaches us to identify the various factors that influence our thoughts and feelings and to transcend the obstacles to our evolution arising from ignorance, intolerance, attachment to our animal nature, and selfishness. By refining our thoughts and feelings by means of these Tantra Yoga practices, we learn to create peace, harmony, and order within ourselves. Tantra Yoga thus promotes a one-pointedness and centeredness that help us to free the consciousness from limitations.
The universe is a product of two opposites: the static principle (rest, shaktiman, powerholder, Shiva) and the dynamic principle (movement, energy, power, creativity, Shakti). The external part of everything is the creative aspect, and inside every dynamic creation is the static aspect. The play of Shakti has no beginning or end. Although it is restless, the energy moves in an orderly cycle, alternating periods of motion and rest. Energy undergoes many changes, gets distorted and then it reorganizes itself during the period of rest. Thus a continuous process of creation, preservation and destruction, reorganization and re-creation goes on forever. Tantra Yoga believes that as long as the phenomenal world exists, it is the Universal Mother who is the creator, preserver and destroyer. Thus in Tantra Yoga she should be worshipped as an aspect of the Divine.
The motivating force behind this eternal play of the illusory world of phenomena is the power of desire (ichcha-shakti). This desire is present in the one who is without attributes, the nameless and formless aspect of the divine (Brahman). Tantra Yoga accepts desire as the prime motivating force of the universe, so it does not ask its’ aspirants to renounce desire. Many other spiritual sciences advise the avoidance of desire, which they claim leads to bondage and is an obstacle to achieving higher consciousness. They try to overcome desire through ascetism. Yet one is left with the paradox that to achieve desirelessness, one must have a strong desire to be without desire.
Tantra Yoga asserts that desires are natural and that as long as we are embodied, we will have them. Our sense organs serve as windows through which desires enter. The constant presence of desire arouses a yearning and love for the desired object. Most desires center on the physical body and its comforts. People become slaves to their instincts, which constitute the lower part of the personality and fall prey to agitation, loneliness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, selfishness and misery. Tantra Yoga offers practical tools for reprogramming the mind and our desires. By means of physical and ritual cleaning, breathing exercises (pranayama), contemplation, visualization (of yantras and deities), repetition of a mantra (mantra japa), Tantra Yoga helps to unfold our divine nature.
Tantra especially works on the feeling level, giving you the freedom of choice to be happy or not. In this respect, see the Yoga of the Nine Emotions or Rasa Sadhana.
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