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Panchamakara – Pancha Tattva Sadhana in Tantra

Panchamakara is a term used to refer to five essentials in Vamachara Tantra of Shakta School and it is also known as Pancha Tattva Sadhana. There are five words beginning with the syllable ‘ma’ which are the names of the five items used in the practice of Tantra, particularly in Vamanachara, by the Shakta school of practitioners.

These five items have their names in Sanskrit starting with the syllable ‘ma.’ Therefore they are known as Panchamakara.

Pancha Makara are
  1. Mamsa (flesh)
  2. Madya (alcohol)
  3. Matsya (fish)
  4. Mudra (parched grains) and
  5. Maithuna (coitus part of ritual worship)
The tantric way of worship is undertaken with strict restrictions on the materials used and the practices followed.

Pancha Tattva Sadhana in various Tantric Texts

As per Mahanirvana Tantra (I.57), the five materials were approved by Lord Shiva himself and are meant only for the brave ones, called viras and not for ordinary people.

In Nirvana Tantra (XI.9), the five materials are said to be essential of final liberation.
Kamakhya Tantra (II.39) speaks highly about the Pancha Tattva Sadhana.

It is said in Kularnava Tantra (II.23) that the Kaula worshipers are advised to make use of both enjoyment and enlightenment; without condemning the former.

According to Kularnava Tantra (II.122  - 124), the Kaula way, which use Panchamakara for worship, is more difficult that walking on a razor’s edge or holding a deadly cobra in hand or putting one’s arm around the neck of a tiger.

 Source – Encyclopedia of Hinduism – Volume VIII – IHRF – ( page no 5)