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Tantra

A tradition of dhyana yoga called tantra yoga (also called kundalini yoga) which involves male-female cosmic symbolism, is often associated with Saktism (worship of the Goddess). It has two forms (two subtraditions): Right-handed Tantra and Left-handed Tantra. Right-handed Tantra involves activation of a succession of centers along the vertical axis of the body called chakras by raising and refining the kundalini energy that is latent at the base of the spine, culminating in the bliss of union with ultimate reality. Left-handed Tantra involves the same except it is pursued as a transcendence of opposites and makes use of practices forbidden to orthodox Hindus (e.g., eating the five forbidden foods, ritualized sex) as vehicles of transcendence.

By embracing Tantra, we become more "real," more "complete." How? By recognizing and stimulating our inherent sensual spirituality, we discover parts of ourselves that have remained asleep or have been repressed. With Tantra, an energy is released that is evolutionary and "upwardly motivated." We can learn to use this energy for pleasure, for achieving our worldly goals, and for aiding our spiritual evolution.

Familiarity with Tantra can help a person to enjoy life to the fullest. It can help do away with guilt or fear, break down self imposed or limiting cultural boundaries, and guide us in our search for solutions. Tantra teaches us to become familiar with our mystical nature, and when we do so, our boundaries expand. We enter into new domains of awareness. We become empowered, more fulfilled, and more perfect.

Traditional dictionary definitions of Tantra are revealing. A Sanskrit word, Tantra is sometimes translated as "leading principle, essential part, model, system, framework, doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work," also as "order, chief part, rule, authority, science, mystic works, magical formulas, means, expedient, stratagem, medicine." Finally, a Tantra is sometimes defined as "a type of mystical teaching set out mostly in the form of dialogs between a c cosmic couple. intimate insightful dialogs, between God and Goddess, Shiva and Shakti, the male and female Tantric adepts, were at times written down and became known as Tantras. Naturally, these dialogs, being intimate, included sexual secrets as well as many other fascinating topics.

Tantra has been well tested over thousands of years, not in worldly laboratories but in the laboratories of the human body, by Yogi scientists and Tibetan Lamas who were not driven by commerce but by the earnest desire for spiritual knowledge and liberation. Their observations and insights have been passed down to us.

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