There are different levels of knowledge. The main two are Aagam and Nigam. Aagam is based on Tantra and Nigam is based on Vedas, Tantra is secret science and Vedas are ultimate knowledge. Tantra is subject of feeling in world of experience. Tantra is no way a philosophy. It is neither a subject of consideration nor a way of thinking. Tantra is purely a sensation. Its first step is sensation, our own sensation, own mind own feeling, own perception and sensation of finding oneself complete. Its second step is sensation of other and third and last step is sensation of undivided universe. That's why Tantra is named secret science.
Tantra is described in two ways. First description say that Tantra is to develop knowledge in oneself and add experiences to that knowledge. According to other definition, it is such a guide, which give physical, worldly and supernatural pleasures to man besides it clears the path to salvation too. So Aadi Shankaracharya has accepted static theory of philosophy as Tantra.
The great philosopher of Indian philosophy Pt, Vaachaspati Mishra has made it clear that why Tantra is called Aagam. According to him, it is a specific science based on typical matters of Yoga, which is bartered between Guru and Shishya secretly. Its ultimate goal is attaining peace and at last salvation. Shakt Tantra has divided saadhakas in 3 categories according to their intellectual level which are respectively beastful, strengthful and with divine feel. If we describe these words in terms of Tantra these are Pashu Bhava, Veer Bhava and Divya Bhava.
In Tantra, after Bhava comes conduct. According to outer practice of Tantra there is a seven level position of Tantra too. They are Vaishnavachaar, Shaivachaar, Dakshinachaar, Vamachaar and Kaulachaar. To know all these subjects properly is very important for the traveller of the path of Tantra.
Literature on Tantra is quite wide and elaborate. Its philosophical aspect, spiritual aspect and practical aspect all are very serious and deep in them self. Its not possible for everyone to enter these. On the basis of these three aspects, Tantra is divided into three parts - Vishnu Kranta, Rath Kranta and Ashva Kranta. In every part there are 64 Tantras. Further literary ideologies of these 64 parts can be divided into 3 different ideologies each. Brahman Tantra, Bodh Tantra and Jain Tantra. Brahman Tantra's 3 main currents of thoughts are Vaishnavam, Shivagum, Shaktagum. On these three Aagamas, vast literature is avialable, specially in Sanskrit and English. But gradually they are getting translated into Hindi too. Still it is admitted that among these Shaaktagam is most important. Two important sub-divisions of Shaiv Tantra are Veer Shaiv and Kashmiri Shaiv. Veer Shaiv is also called Lingaytanu or Lingayan. Inspite of these, there are various believes related to Tantra. Tantra is the supreme knowledge and science. It is the ultimate treatise which is famous for it's secrecy. That's why people couldn't understand it. Tantra had been a subject of disregard for a long period. Now scholars, religious. people, scholars of chemistry and all intellectual people are showing interest in Tantra. They all are trying to penetrate into depths of Tantra. Not only this, besides India even European countries are showing interest in studies of Tantra. From last 50 years even critics and analysts are working on it. They are highlighting the purposes of bhakti, rituals and attaining sidhhies through Tantric bhakti.
In history we find several evidences that different streams of culture and intellects have been spreading all over since humans have started civilized life. Whatsoever is done in the stream of Tantra so far is not ultimate goal. Those scholars who are involved in this stream, they should discover new paths of Yogi and Tantric principles.
Approximately two thousand year ago, four siddh peeth's (seats) were established for complete favour of siddhi - Jalandhar peeth, Kamakhya peeth,Poorn Giri peeth and Uddayaan peeth. Peeth means a center of energy which have direct and invisible contact with Divine empire and supernatural world. In this way Uddhyaan peeth is of great significance. Even history has proved that Orissa, where Uddhayaan peeth is situated is the oldest center of saadhna of power or energy and if studied deeply, we see, that old name' of Orissa was Uddhayaan.
When we consider Tantra common in Orissa, we often think about Shakti peeth, Yogini peeth. There was a large number of saadhakas practicing under these peeths, beside this they did a great act of attracting common man towards the knowledge and practice of Tantra.
In 1945, when I started my journey and researches in Tantra, my first center was Orissa. There are 2, Chausath (64) Yogini peeth in Orissa. One is situated at Hirapur, 8 Km from Bhuvneshwar and the second one is at district Bolanpur. Approximately one thousand year ago, people were gready convinced by these peeths. Manuscripts related to Tantra written on Palm Leaves are preserved in central museum of Bhuvneshwar. Those priceless books of Tantra are still not published. They tell that how broad was the subject of Tantra at that time. Aagam brief gist, preserved in that museum,tells that rituals performed according to Tantras were commonly merged in religious rituals those days.
Era of Tantra initiated in 5th or 6th century in Orissa. Most probably in early 9th century, when Aadi Shankaracharya came to Orissa, he felt devotion of people in Tantra. At that time Tantra was so common that Purushottam Vishnu, who is Jagannath of Puri was known as Bhairav and form of Shiva. Along with this, it was considered that the idol of Vimla Ji in temple of Puri, was female form of Bhairav and with that started the custom of sacrificing the animals in Temple of Vimla to show devotion.
Most strange thing, is that there are two temples of Laxmi and Vimla in Puri and the temple of Vimla gets more importance. Although Lord Jagannath is considered as form of Lord Vishnu and Laxmi is his better half. In this context its also noteworthy that amongst the gods and goddesses worshiped in Orissa, Mahavinayak temple has a high specific place. Mahavinayak temple is about 2 Km from Chandikoth. Yoga Tantra was discussed here for the first time. As its name suggests this is a temple of Ganesha or Vinayak. Unlike many other parts of country all five important deities i.e., Punch Parmeshwara are worshiped equally and with same devotion in Orissa.
A famous centre for worship of Shakti is Jeypur. There the goddess is esteemed as Viraja. The other is temple of son of Shiva and Durga,Ganesha,which is known as Mahavinayak temple.
Bhuvaneshwar is the most famous peeth for the worship of Lord Shiva. Puri is famous for the worship of Vishnu Purushottam.
Fifth is Lord Sun. His idol is esteemed as world famous Konark temple. In Puri, as J agannath is considered as collective form of many gods and goddesses, the same way Vinayak temple is worshiped as Punch Parmeshwara.
The way idol worship is performed in Mahavinayak temple, it is fully based on Punch Permeshwara which is most probably unmatchable in whole Orissa. Lords in form of Shakti are worshiped with such devotion and reverence, which is quite different and important too. Like this as I told that the aura which is felt in temple of Puri, the same aura upto some extend in felt at temple of Mahavinayaka too i.e., of devotion and reverence for Shakti. It doesn't mean that there is no place for other deities in the Tantric traditions of Orissa rather practically devotees give them a special place too in their worship and rituals.
When we see temples of Purl with such investigating sight we find that from centuries temples of Puri are symbols of cultural history of Orissa and have been center for Tantras in the world of religious rituals. When the rituals were performed in the stream of Tantra in the temples of Puri, those days worship and rituals were performed with wine or madira traditionally and that tradition is still followed there.
But the wine or madira offered in the temple of Puri is not considered as intoxicating agent. Actually to follow the rules of tantra, coconut water is offered in vessel or paatra.
Mostly there are Shiva Mandirs in Bhuvneshwar which were constructed between 7th century and 12th century. Among thousands of temples of Bhuvneshwar, there is a Vitthal temple which represents the example of Tantric devotional traditions of more than thousand years ago. On National Highway No.5 between Bhuvneshwar or Katak, in Prachiveli there are many temples, which have silent echoes of hundreds of years old tradition of Tantric devotion from history. In the temples of Prachiveli, different form of Durga are seen. Here we see idols of Durga With 2,4,6,8,10,12, 14,16 arms. Without knowing details of these forms of Durga, in temples of Prachiveli, it's not possible to estimate Tantric devotional traditions of Orissa actually. To gain knowledge and for the transaction of thoughts, saadhakas of Tantra, go around India and attempt difficult journeys to Himalaya and Tibet too. Means, even today Tantra and Yoga should be studied and understood on national level atleast. Even it's possible that saadhakas of higher level are living in difficult to reach caves of Himalaya and their disciples are moving around in India secretly, presenting the literature on Yoga and Tantra. In other words, what ever traditions or literature we find at a particular place, we should not analyse them with in a particular territory or region. Rather this ignored subject should be studied deeply and vastly to open new doors of knowledge, so that today's generation may be able to consider more aspects for the progress of nation and themselves.
In ancient time six streams of Hindu Philosophy were studied deeply. These scholars were highly respected in society. Among these six streams one is Yogic tradition too. In Gita too Yoga Darshan is shown as the ultimate truth.
Yoga tells us how can we control our mind, to become physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. It's not only, useful on spiritual and psychological level, rather it helps to reach higher levels of intellectual development with the help of physical exercises.
Many scholars have correlated yoga of Hindu Philosophy with Rigveda period. Even we see examples of principles of early yogic traditions in Upnishads too. No doubts that Patanjali's Yoga Shaastra is unmatchable literature of Yoga Darshan, but some other myths say that the basic thought process was given by Hiranaygarbha to Patanjali. What ever was the initial point of Yoga Shaastra. In present four chapters of Yoga Philosophy 195 verses are described.
In philosophy of yoga many parts of psychology are also included. With the help of .that we learn how to control our mind and how can we attempt to retain our sweet wish with the help of Dhyaan or meditation.
Saankhya doctrine of philosophy is based on basic principles of 25 elements. Yogic tradition accept those 25 principles as it is, but accepts existence of Almighty in the form of a seperate principle. In Yoga Darshan of Patanjali we see very rarely something mentioned regarding God. Although it's difficult to know the knowledge of yoga exactly before the time of Buddha, but it's doubtless that in ancient India, yogic culture was quite common.
Original Tantric Texts (27)
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