“Shakti is the creator of the Universe,
And the Universe is her fascinating body;
Shakti is the basis of the entire world;
She is the intimate substance of any body.”
- Shaktisangama Tantra
Tantra pertains to a group of religious and magical texts concerned with various techniques of attaining enlightenment in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, dating from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Tantra is largely concerned with the mantras, meditation, yoga, and rituals dedicated to the worship of the feminine principle of divine energy called, “Shakti.” We have previously shown that the Vedic gods were largely male personifications of nature and human virtues. We have also seen in that the objects of worship of the feminine goes back earlier than the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization into prehistoric times by Vedic and non-Vedic cultures. Some historians postulate that there were parallel currents of religious veneration of the male and female representations in different regions of India. Indeed, many apparent “Goddess” figurines have been located at the Harappan site causing some historians to believe that a pre-Vedic Mother Goddess cult may have existed in Neolithic India.
In any case, the Vedas do mention Aditi, the mother of the Gods, and goddess of the sky and earth, quite remarkable and unique for an ancient culture.
The name Shakti translates into ‘power’ or ‘energy,’ and is the personification of this feminine principle; worshipped as the Supreme Deity in Shaktism, one of the three primary denominations of Hinduism with the other two main denominations focusing on Shiva and Vishnu as their respective Head Deities. Tantra explains that the universe is the result of the “dance” of erotic energetic interaction between Shakti (divine creative power) and Shiva (divine consciousness). According to Shaktism, existence was created by Shakti and she is the energy that animates creation.
Kali, Durga and Parvati are three principle aspects of Shakti. Kali is often depicted as black, intimidating and aggressive, depicted as wearing a necklace of skulls while standing on the body of her husband, the god, Shiva. The Indian city of Calcutta derives its name from Kali, and in the temple dedicated to her, a continuous flow of blood is kept at the altars in appeasement to the goddess, or else it is feared that Kali will take her revenge on the people with pestilence, floods or natural disasters.
Durga is a more restrained aspect of the destroyer Kali, often depicted as a beautiful demon-slaying warrior with eight or ten arms, but still a terrifying symbol of feminine wrath, fearsomeness and unstoppable power, casually destroying demons the other gods feared.
Pavarti is the most benevolent and motherly aspect of Shakti. Pavarti, like the Vedic Aditi, is the mother of all the Gods and Goddesses. Her husband Shiva derives all his power from her.
Tantra is said to have been founded by Shiva during Kaliyuga, which in Hindu cosmology is the current, dark and lawless age -the age of vice and darkness – the last of four vast repeating ages, or “yugas.” The Vedas are regarded by the Tantrics as useless and no longer apply in this age of Kaliyuga, the Age of Kali. Thus, the Tantrics of the “Left Hand Path” say that their job is to make religion attractive to men, so liquor, meat, corn, fish and sex are permitted in certain mysterious rites. The “Right Hand Path” Tantrics prefer to perform their rituals symbolically.
Shakti cosmology relates that after Shakti created the human physical form, seven latent energetic-consciousness points were deposited within. These are termed the “chakras.” The tantric yoga masters discovered that the Kundalini, the latent energy that is believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine, contains vast, cosmic power within all human beings, and can be awakened and activated through various techniques, resulting in blissful unification with the divine, often depicted symbolically as the “awakened” and dancing Shiva; the Nataraja.
Activating the Kundalini is said to be the key in ultimately transcending the physical and uniting with the Divine. Rituals and meditative techniques based on sexuality were developed in service of attaining mystical experiences and enlightenment by identifying with the spiritual union between Shakti and Shiva. This is an interesting reversal of the renunciation of desire and sexual activity by the Vedic and post-Vedic sages. The historical and psychological conflict between human desire and reverence for spirituality is seen in sharp contrast in the competing philosophies between Shaktism and Vedism, between the annihilation of sexual desire and embracing sexuality in service to attaining the same goals: enlightenment and freedom from the wheel of rebirth.
However, tantra’s controversial tradition of using the energy generated through sexual ritualism as a short-cut to enlightenment, is considered by Hindu orthodoxy as reckless and dangerous. Kundalini is also carries a controversial history as well, with its creation of an energy flow through the chakras being seen by some as beneficial for breaking the bonds of the ego, and by others, as a waste of time.
In modern times, the Tantic ritual of orgasmic intercourse was appropriated by Western Occultists like Aleister Crowley, who appropriated the Left Hand Path tantric rituals to generate orgasmic sexual energy for magical purposes to achieve higher consciousness and power. Tantric traditionalists insist that non-orgasmic sexual continence was practiced by the yogi masters, claiming that control of ejaculation was prescribed by the tantric texts themselves. Otherwise, the goal of uniting with the divine is destroyed through orgasm.
Today, the use of Tantra has been transformed by the New Age and occultists in the West in lurid and sensational ways as “sacred” or “spiritual” sexuality. The goal isn’t so much achieving divine consciousness as it is achieving a mind-blowing orgasm. The fulfillment of “Sacred Sex” is marketed and sold as a commodity. The traditional tantrics deplore this appropriation, claiming that tantra has been distorted and polluted by Westerners who don’t understand nor appreciate their native religion.
So how does tantra relate to the Law of Attraction? Well, Napoleon Hill remarked in his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” that
“Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times … which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling.”
As we have said before, the Law of Attraction has a secret history of undergoing many transformations in different cultures and eras. The tantric aspect of the Law of Attraction appears again in Think and Grow Rich, where Napoleon Hill claims that sexual desire is the most powerful catalyst for human evolution in the arts, sciences and culture. There isn’t much literature regarding sex and the Law of Attraction specifically, only promises that one will attract a person within that “like attracts like” principle; if one uses intense, passionate focus, one receives their desires. The drive for self-empowerment through human sexuality, whether it is spiritual awakening through tantra, or achieving the ultimate “sacred” sexual pleasure, is ever with us.
Next: the Law of Attraction and Modern Hinduism
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Leslie A. Shepard, Vol. 2
The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath, by Yogi Ramacharaka
Tantra: sex, secrecy politics, and power in the study of religions, by Hugh B. Urban, University of California Press
Kama Kapla, The Hindu Ritual of Love, by P. Thomas, Taraporevala Sons & Co. LTD, 1960
Kama Shilpa, by Francis Leeson, Taraporevala Sonss & Co. LTD, 1962
“Aditi.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Dec 2009, 07:42 UTC. 9 Jan 2010 .