by Octavio Salvado.
What is Tantra?
To answer the question ‘what is Tantra?’ we would need a thousand years just to begin, so vast is the span of its constituents. Instead I will offer a few insights gleaned from my own personal Tantric sadhana and a few others that have infused themselves into my heart through proximity to my beloved teachers.
What I know for sure is that our bodies are living shrines sporting internal architecture adorned with luminous alters that exude beauty the likes of which outer eyes will never see. Tantric sadhana offers us the precise road map to pilgrimage deep inside of ourselves, plus instructions on the appropriate etiquette required to lay our flower-offerings at the feet of the Lord. As a result we become a light unto ourselves, and a light to others, learning along the way that we can only give to others that which we already have.
Tantra is the relentless inner pursuit to be with Her, that great Shakti who lives inside of us and the subsequent desire to bud open and share Her light with the world, which is an out-petalling of our own soul. Botanists claim that flowers open for selfish reasons; to attract insects and pollinate. Let the scientists have their morbid lists about how selfish nature is. We know the truth! Flowers bud and open for the pure joy of it. The blossoming is unconditional. A flower shares its beauty and aroma for no other reason than to give of itself, because sweetness and beauty are its nature.
Similarly, Tantric practice ultimately leads us to our own inner blossoming and to an understanding of that goodness and beauty within us and what it is here to offer the world. If a flower can share so much purposeful light and life with the world, imagine what we can do with our advanced nervous systems, dexterous limbs, spinning chakras and free will!
As a process, committed Tantric sadhana provides us the intelligence and empowerment to access the primordial pool of healing required to mend our inner scars from this life and all others, which is the highest service we can offer to this world. It is easy to get emotional over the trees, oceans and animals, but fixing one problem will simply cause another to spring up. Until we cut out the root, which is ignorance and fear, oppression and greed will live on.
To truly serve this world, which is the highest Tantric motivation, we must first overcome our own inner poverty. Then, effortlessly, like a blooming flower we will enrich the lives of all who enter our field.
Knowing this, practice becomes service, a way to light our own lamp. Only when our own lamp is lit are we able to help light the lamp in the hearts of others. In luminosity, everything we do then becomes purposeful; all actions, thoughts and words express our inner essence, our sacred aroma, the beauty of our Soul. We walk in freedom and give others permission to do the same.
Tantra today – innocence robbed
Today, Tantra’s innocence is being robbed by charismatic perverts, fooling the masses that Sex is Tantra and sensuality can lead to enlightenment. Maha Maya in Her most dazzling cloak, even enveloping the remedy in poison. Such fun She has! Eventually we will come to understand that sex can be sacred, sex can be conscious and beautiful, but for us, it cannot be Tantric.
The ritualistic rigours of the Left-handed path are far beyond the reach and capacity of people like us. Dabbling in that façade will only increase our addictive tendencies and weaken the mind.
But let’s not dwell too long on dull discussions of delusion, there is only one Mother and She who conceals also reveals. All mothers let their kids play in the muck for a time.
True Tantra teaches us there is no substitute for ‘personal’ sadhana
Tantra, true Tantra, teaches that there is no substitute for ‘personal’ sadhana and there are no shortcuts to Samadhi. We must do the work ourselves. Tantra offers us the framework; a precise science that when practiced and understood, leads to a sacred life marked by spiritual and worldly joy and success.
What I know for sure is that your body is the living abode of the Divine. A vortex of Shaktis! To be born is freedom, if we choose to live in constant remembrance of this. All practices, arts, sciences, disciplines and human endeavours are an outgrowth of this desire to experience oneness with Her. Tantra then, is where the consummation of this desire is finally fulfilled.