Classical Tantra Part 1- Blog
Wow what a deep subject and so much debate about it. I am not a historian however I am someone who was passed along an unbroken history of 3 lineages that have gone back to the beginning of when it all started.
I was thinking first we need some reclassification with the word and concept of Tantra. Perhaps we should be re-categorizing the terms to something more like this.
Ancient Tantra prior to 1700 BC
Classical Tantra 1700 BC to 10 century AD
Sexual Tantra 10 century AD to 18 century AD
Neo Tantra 18 century AD to present
We can find the word Tantra written about since 1700BC and the meaning used in different contexts throughout manuscripts and writings. Of course the biggest problem when researching and trying to understand Tantra is that the context is beyond the scope of our understanding for the most part.
For instance the term sexual energy, one might think this means the horny you feel, or the orgasmic ripples that can run up your body when really turned on. Sexual energy however from a Classical Tantra standpoint means life force energy, Chi, Prana, breath, spinal movement, the Fibonacci sequence.
Another very misinterpreted word is Kundalini. Many people believe it is the shivers of awakening in the body, or the sexual bliss one feels as the sexual centers awaken.
My master was old, really really old and he was the last of his line. When we worked together old school I had to be ready to receive the information he has to give me energetically. It was very much, pass or fail in the sense of you got it or not. Not is ok, because you just keep on going. I promise I will write in more detail the story of my training.
When I wanted to know how far back his line went, when this all started, the only thing I could really get was “tree”. Of course this was from a guy who loved to tell me my Tantrik spiritual name was “shit dog”. He did not speak English so perhaps my translation was off somewhat. Oh how I envy those people with all the Goddess flowing and empowering names.
He “talked” of a Tirthankara at one point saying his teachers went much farther than that even, and it was not until years later that I understood this to be one of carriers of one of the lineages he held and was part of the Jainism order which goes back to the 6th century BC.
I find it curious that historians and scholars were and are the ones debating about it the meaning of Tantra but none that I know of were actually trained and passed along lineages, hard to really understand something like Tantra without ever experiencing it.
I understand that Tantra was around long before being written about because my Nganga teacher also talked about it, though he did not use the word Tantra. I know it to be Tantra because of some of the very specific rituals that I was taught and passed down. He told me this ancient form had been spoken of in his lineage for as long as the sun rose.
I doubt we will ever be clear about who the first teacher was, and I doubt there will be any agreements on the true meaning of Classical Tantra, and I am not even sure it entirely matters.
I can tell you that the point of all the training they did was to master their emotional, physical and energetic bodies, to understand themselves to gain knowledge about everything around them. They believed that there was no way to be masterful without understanding the very basic nature of self.
Tantra masters were grand experimenters, courageous, disciplined and dedicated and most of them would seem flat out crazy to people today. In fact they often played the parts of idiots and crazy men because they did not want everyone to see them… just the people truly seeking them.
Until the time of the 10 century change of Tantra into an enterprising business, masters did not have temples and ashrams they taught from, nor did they give out their names, they stayed secretive for the most part. It was with the advent of the sexual Tantra revolution that name dropping became fashionable. After all how do you get more people coming to you without the referrals?
Read about Neo Tantra for that info.
One thing for certain, many of the greatest masters of Tantra were the greatest masters of energy that ever lived. The stories of raising the dead were tame compared to the feats I have seen and been taught and it was no wonder that many of the masters were hunted down and killed or exiled. Of course imprisonment didn’t work very well with these guys. I think probably the people who wanted to stop them had to cut them into bits and burn their bodies in different countries to actually get rid of them, at least physically….