With the upsurge in spiritual interests, the practice of yoga, the desire to incorporate meditation into a hectic daily life and the increasing number of professional spiritual teachers, an undercurrent to this new era of humanity is the evolution of romantic love.
Although, many may not articulate or demonstrate evolved love nor even recognize its mutation. For this accelerated, improved model of love operates very differently from the factors of attraction and the common practice of romance and sexuality.
Still, mainstream yoga audiences are greatly attracted to the facade of what many western yogis refer to as “Tantra”, a term used for what they describe as a spiritual sexual practice. Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. Tantra is not a sexual practice at all. Yet, many use this word to describe a type of intimate relating that incorporates greater awareness into sexual union. Many contemporary authors have used this term to introduce the concept of spiritual sexual intimacy and have terribly misled the western audience and their understanding of the true meaning of tantra.
To understand the true meaning of tantra, we dive into the ancient Hindu teachings for how this term became the buzz word for sexuality. Then we can uncover the true, hidden meaning of tantra.
The original, ancient scriptures of tantra stem from a conversation that took place between Shiva and Parvati, his consort who sits on his left thigh depicted in many Hindu art images portraying these two archetypes. From the conversation that occurred between these two as it is written in many of the ancient texts, the term tantra became the word to describe sacred sexuality for the householder.
Only those residing in expanded state of awareness understood the elliptical meaning behind the stories imparted through these two archetypes of cosmic forces. For In the ancient Hindu philosophies, Tantra is monistic in nature, it is not dual as it often used to represent in sacred sexuality. Rather, the cosmos itself is unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendental in nature.
Please do not misunderstand me, for utilizing these spiritual archetypes as the models for romance has its merits for initiating an understanding of mature loving.
For the householder or the contemporary lover, the dance of Shiva and Shakti represents the role of female and male much like how they are portrayed in the article I wrote here.
In the ancient tradition, there are two terms used to identify consciousness (Shiva) and self-aware consciousness (Shakti). The purpose of Tantra is to explain how these two aspects are actually one and the same. If they were two different aspects as the mind tends to view, then they reside in dualism, an attribute of the program or maya. However, when used to identify male and female forces in the program, it assists with understanding how the two forces of masculine and feminine, yin and yang operate in the space of duality working towards harmonic existence and union.
We learn how to balance this dualistic nature of these two forces, male and female, through the understanding of Ida and Pingala or Odic and Actinic forces. You can read more about these forces in this article (Odic and Actinic forces) and in this article (Integration of male and female forces)
In ancient Hindu teachings, the force of Shiva is used to portray the strong masculine energy that goes through a process of feminization in order to embrace consciousness. The man must become soft, compassionate, loving and nurturing in order to realize consciousness. This is not a natural state for the common man for he is often, pushed into the role of provider, protector and defender as his body is designed to be and a warrior who is aggressive, lustful and full of desire to dominate and control his immediate environment.
Having Parvati positioned on Shiva’s left side subliminally indicates the emphasis of the feminine nature inside human form and demonstrates integration with the masculine energies of the male gender, ultimately representing consciousness in form.
In the ancient Tantric tradition, Shakti or Divine Mother or The One Great Mother has the ability to free the individual from the constraints of the ego, ignorance, desire and all that binds the soul. This feminine power is what frees us from the cycle of karma and has the ability to erase the past, remove attachments and unify integral forces inherent in the conscious being. This is an aspect of the forces of Shakti and the result of activated kundalini energies that only happen in the space of celibacy.
This is another way that you can determine if a guru or swami is “real”. If one is sexually active or engaged with another person one on one, on a regular basis as a companion, they are closed off to higher forces and have no ability to initiate a true transformation into higher states of consciousness.
We view this cosmic divine feminine force simplistically, through the teachings of the goddess Parvati for gaining power of manifestation, in Lakshmi for gaining wealth, in Saraswati for knowledge, in Kali for destruction of evil and the impetus for transformation. There are many aspects of the Divine Cosmic Mother represented in various sects of Hinduism as well as Buddhism, Jainism and other similar ancient religions. You can read more about the various aspects of Divine Mother here
In certain factions of Hinduism and Buddhism, we find The Mother Goddess as a compliment to the masculine gods such as Parvati with Shiva, Saraswati with Brahma and Lakshmi with Vishnu and so on. All of these archetypes hold a hidden message for how consciousness grows inside the human form in various ways unique to how one is designed to experience the integration of body with spirit consciousness.
In the ancient text, Devi Upanishad, Shakti is recognized as the ultimate reality and from her rises matter, consciousness, bliss and non-bliss and so on. She is also recognized as the creative power of Shiva in a few of the Upanishads, which are sacred, holy Hindu texts.
In this era known as “Kali Yuga”, a time of darkness on our planet, Shiva is the savior who initiates the Golden Age, therefore, the agent for transforming the human condition and leading a portion of humanity out of darkness and into harmonious, cooperative state of oneness relating through the quality of compassion.
Masculine energy must be transformed in order for peace to be established on our planet earth. There has been too much war, greed, lack of compassion, competition, comparison and ignorance – inside men and women, both. A terrible imbalance of these forces have been created within humanity.
Shiva is real and is a cosmic force that we can rely upon to transform our aggressive, egoistic, ignorant nature into a higher state of consciousness and its expression of compassion.
In the teachings shared by my beloved Guru, Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam, he imparts that in order for a person to experience romance, they must feel as though the other is equal to them.
In higher states of consciousness, it is not possible to feel as though the other is equal because a conscious being first, is whole unto itself. There is no way that a conscious person who is fully integrated of male and female energies can operate inside the laws of opposites attract. There is no room for a blending nor is excitement created by the presence of another human form as what happens in sexual attraction.
Next, the conscious being can see where problems may rest inside of the other. They can see what is causing turmoil, challenging life experiences and the state of the emotional nature. The conscious person can see the whole person: the past of the individual, the possibilities for the future and the imbalances of the system physically, emotionally and spiritually.
An enlightened being is also aware of what happens to the aura when it engages in sexual union. Sexuality changes the condition of the subtle body greatly as the two become one and merge into a single entity, enveloped in a yoke, holding the two as one through the Solar Plexus chakra, the spleen and liver.
Instead, what operates inside the conscious being is compassion for all as they radiate from a fully alive subtle body activated by higher conscious forces, from Root chakra to Crown chakra and more.
This is the true practice of Tantra, integrated cosmic forces within while expressing deep compassion for the other without the influence of hormones or the desire to merge as one with only one.
The true meaning of Tantra is expansion, not contraction.
“After enlightenment, you don’t even need sense objects to enjoy. You will simply be enjoying all the time. There will be such an intense excitement for no reason.
If I have to define enlightenment in two words, I will say it is ‘intense excitement’ for no reason, intense passion directed towards no object. There is no object, yet there is intense passion.
There is no reason for the excitement.
That is what I call enlightenment.”
🌷Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam
Deeper meaning of yoga ~
“You need to understand the deeper meaning of the word “yoga.”
What precisely Paramashiva means by the word “yoga.” Integrating, uniting all components of your existence…your thought currents, your emotional patterns, your feeling patterns, your internalization patterns, your visualization patterns, your cognitions – everything.
Your internalization patterns, your visualization patterns, your body, your breathing pattern – integrating everything so that you feel a powerfulness, raised consciousness in your core, understand.
If you are broken pieces due to the powerlessness, you feel you are good, you are bad, you are right, you are wrong, your taste, joy, pain – all will be silly. Too cheap. It’ll all be causing more powerlessness.
If you are integrated, your right, your wrong, your good, your bad, your taste, your joy, your pain, your right, your happiness – everything will have matured taste, powerfulness.”