Tantra: Path of Ecstasy
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Tantra—often associated with Kundalini Yoga—is a fundamental dimension of Hinduism, emphasizing the cultivation of "divine power" (shakti) as a path to infinite bliss. Tantra has been widely misunderstood in the West, however, where its practices are often confused with eroticism and licentious morality. Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy dispels many common misconceptions, providing an accessible introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of this extraordinary spiritual tradition.
The Tantric teachings are geared toward the attainment of enlightenment as well as spiritual power and are present not only in Hinduism but also Jainism and Vajrayana Buddhism. In this book, Georg Feuerstein offers readers a clear understanding of authentic Tantra, as well as appropriate guidance for spiritual practice and the attainment of higher consciousness.
life-giving, sustaining, and ordering aspect - what in Buddhist Tantra is known as kala-cakra.s A similar notion is present in the DeviMahatmya, popularly known as the Candi, after the name of the goddess to whom it is addressed. This hymn is to pious Shaktas (worshipers of Shakti, the great goddess) what the Bhagavad-Gita is to votaries of Vishnu in his earthly incarnation as the god-man Krishna. Both hymns consist of seven hundred verses and are chanted daily. The Candi is a heartfelt eulogy to
traditional teachings is vast and diversified. It includes, among other things, such works as the Mahabharata epic (of which the Bhagavad-Gita is a part), the numerous Puranas (though some, like the Bhagavata-Purana, are counted as revealed literature by certain groups), and the Sutras (notably the Yoga-Sutra) and their many commentaries and subcommentaries. A large proportion of India's liberation literature avows teachings that fall into the category of what I have called "verticalism." They
high-mettled horse, nor does it cause him to abandon his "daughter" of wisdom to evil greed and so forth. The body, then, is the field in which we grow and harvest our experiences, which may be positive or negative, painful or pleasant. While negative, painful experiences do not bring us immediate joy, they do so in the long run because - if we are wise - we relate to them rightly by regarding them as useful lessons. No experience need be devoid of merit. People have had major spiritual
their entire skin surface, and compared to a dog, our sense of smell is exceedingly poor. Understandably, we tend to regard the sliver of existence we experience through our senses as if it were the entire cosmos. If we fail to check this naive attitude, however, we end up with an impoverished materialist philosophy that stunts our spiritual growth and keeps us entrapped in samsara. To avoid this pitfall, we must resort to reason and intuition. Accomplished tantrikas generally enjoy greatly
current is none other than the axial pathway, which holds special significance in all schools of Tantra Yoga, as is obvious from such alternative technical terms for it as moksha-marga (way to liberation) or "unsupported interior" (niralam- The Subtle Body and Its Environment 161 Representation of the subtle channels (nadi) through which the life force circulates. 162 T A N T R A hana-antara). Significantly, its most c o m m o n name, sushumna-nadi, means "most gracious current" -