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Rituals and Practices of Tantra
ISBN : 8177551566
Volumes : Set in 3 Volumes
Author : G. Sastri
Pages : 1200 pp
Year of Publishing : 2001
Binding : Hardback
Publisher : Cosmo Publications
The word Tantra is derived from the root tan, “to spread,” and the agential suffix tra, “to save,” meaning that knowledge which is “spread to save.” It is a generic term under which a whole culture of a certain epoch of Indian history found expression. According to their own definition, Tantra denotes that body of religious scriptures (šàstra) which is stated to have been revealed by Siva as a specific scripture for the fourth and present age (Kali Yuga). They are without authorship, for they are revealed by divine inspiration to rsis (sages) who record them for the benefit of men living during this age.
The Tantras have many common characteristics. They all accept the Veda and are in no way hostile to the six Darsanas. Their purpose is to provide a way for the salvation of man during the present age (Kali Yuga). Their principles are of universal application without regard to time or place, temperament or capacity, as is witnessed by the many religious sects that have received inspiration from their teachings. They maintain that mere philosophical speculation on the ultimate nature of things is not enough to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the soul, no more than a description of a banquet is sufficient to satisfy the physical hunger of the body. Therefore, they provide not only the principles of speculation, but also the basis for experience; they not only argue, but they experiment. They provide a rational foundation for the spiritual exercises that will liberate man during one lifetime. These practices are referred to as Sàdhana, derived from the root sàdh, “to succeed,” that is, that success which leads to final emancipation of the soul. Their philosophy furnishes the reasons required to make the mind firm in its faith so that it will not despair in the early stages when all seems so hopeless. Other philosophies offer a theoretical explanation of the ultimate nature of reality which brings peace of mind, but the Tantras provide a basis; for the actual absorption of the essence of man into the essence of Reality. Throughout their structure, the emphasis is placed on the practical aspect of knowledge.
The Tantras are aware of the fact that the world of name and form with its sorrow and suffering cannot be dissolved by logic alone. They teach that only by growth and development can the obstacles of life be surmounted. They accept the world around us as it is, exalting everything, discarding nothing, relegating everything to its rightful place, and providing a spiritual prescription for an orderly life according to the Laws of Nature.
The ultimate aim of this treatise, as of all tantric knowledge is to suggest means for emancipation of the personal soul from the bondage of senses.