To step into the world of Śaiva Tantra is to enter a world of magic and mystery…
Mind-expanding philosophy and arcane rites, pantheons of fierce goddesses embodied in mystic syllables, energy diagrams that map the many dimensions of reality, visualizations of power centers within the body, gestures that express the purest forms of consciousness, nectarean experiences of the sheerest ecstasy, wielders of supernatural power, and concepts that challenge the fundamental norms of ordinary society: these are just some of its features. In short, it is a world that encompasses the entire range of human spiritual and religious activity, from the most elevated and sublime contemplations of our inner nature to the strangest of superstitions. (The fact that we’ll be focusing on the former should not be taken to mean that the latter did not exist.) Some people today are interested only in the high philosophy of the Tantra; others in the purely practical techniques;others are curious about the entire historical picture.
Whoever you are, to fully delve into this world, you must not only relinquish any notions of what you think Tantra is, but also some of your deeply-held assumptions about reality itself. Otherwise, you will never be able to truly understand this alternative worldview. Any alternative worldview can function as a critique of the status quo view on reality in our society, but for it to do so in a real and productive way we must—at least temporarily—lay open to question even the fundamental principles by which we create interpretations of phenomena; in other words, we must question the very frameworks with which we create a world for ourselves to live in.
Tantra Illuminated takes the reader on a fascinating journey to the very heart of Tantra: its key teachings, foundational lineages, and transformative practices. Since the West’s discovery of Tantra 100 years ago, there has been considerable fascination, speculation, and more than a little misinformation about this spiritual movement. Now, for the first time in the English language, Tantra Illuminated presents an accessible introduction to this sacred tradition that began 1,500 years ago in the far north of India. Rooted in primary Sanskrit sources and offering a profound look at spiritual practice, this book reveals Tantra’s rich history and powerful teachings.