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What is Tantra in Hinduism?

Today there is lot of confusion and wrong meaning attributed to Tantra in Hinduism. Today tantra is considered a license to indulge in the sensual but tantra is anything but that. Tantra is not sex or a license to wanton lifestyle. Tantra is the channeling of human weaknesses by directing them towards God.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say that if you want to cry, cry for God; if you want to desire something, desire God; and if you want to love, love God.

Channelise or direct your impulses and instincts towards God. That is tantra. Tantra has various streams, but the goal of all the streams is to channelize all desires towards God. The basic philosophy of tantra is the divinization of desire albeit in a different way not by acceding to desires but by superseding them, by divinizing them.

Desire creates problems. You take this desire away and channelise it towards something divine, something godly, something ennobling, and something that will elevate you. That is tantra.

But what are people doing now? They are holding on to desire and bringing oneself down to the level of desire, to the level of the body. That is not tantra.

We are dependent on material comforts, we are dependent on our desires, and it is our desires that propel us in our daily lives. So if we know how to control desires or to channelise them, then and only then, can we go towards our goal in life: God Realisation.

There are numerous in-depth studies in tantra and there is still much yet to be understood. The acknowledgement of human desire and its transformation by various spiritual practices including Kali worship is tantra.

SourceThe Prabuddha Bharata Issue January 2016 Editorial Page 13