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Vamachara Form Of Worship In Hinduism – Vama Marga

Vamachara is a form of worship and meditation in Hinduism. Vama in Sanskrit means left. Achara means behavior, practice or procedure of worship. Vama Marga means the left path. In Tantra, the word vama means a female partner in Tantric worship.

The word Vamachara, which is most commonly used in Tantra, means the special practice of Tantra discipline in which a Vama, that is a female partner takes part. The word Vamachara has assumed a special significance in Tantra practices mainly because of the presence of women in it for a highly specialized procedure of union.

Vamachara is also called lata sadhana, because in it the woman embraces the male partner, like a creeper encircles a tree, in the course of worship. It is also called Pancha Tattva sadhana as it makes use of five materials in worship – wine, meat, fish, union and parched grains.

Also, it is known as virachara or kaula marga or kaulachara, because it is the path followed by advanced aspirants called vira or kaula. It is also called guhyatattva (secret) as it is not taught to ordinary aspirants, but is kept secret and made available only to the highly advanced students of Tantra who have achieved a considerable measure of maturity and understanding.

In the texts of Tantra, vamachara is described as very useful and obligatory for achieving liberation quickly, it is said in the mahanirvana tantra (V.23-24) that “worship without the use of pancha tattva is nothing but exorcism and an inauspicious act (abhichara). It cannot lead to any achievement. It is like sowing seeds on a rock. it cannot germinate.

It may be noted here that the vira and kaula aspirants belonged to the shakta school of Tantra who were the worshippers of Goddess Shakti.

In Kamakhya Tantra (11.39), the five materials (madya, mamsa, matsya, maithuna and Madura) are highly praised for their special usefulness in the present Kali Yuga for achieving liberation quickly.

There are two types of arguments in favor of the use of Pancha Tatva in Tantra worship of the Kaula way. It is said that just as the use of poison in minute doses is not harmful but useful in combating poison and toxic materials, similarly the use of the five materials yields good results in spiritual discipline if special care is exercised.

The other argument is that everything in the universe is created by god, so nothing should be looked upon as bad or impure in itself. The bad or good effect depends upon our outlook, our uncontrolled desires, and in our use of that which God has created.

Desires cannot be overcome by running away from the objects of enjoyment. We must, instead, face the objects of enjoyment boldly, and with a trained and controlled mind.

Source - 
  • Principles of Tantra (1952) Arthur Avlone published by Ganesh and Co, Chennai.
  • The Tantras (1972) Chintaharan Chakraborty – published by Punthi Pustak Kolkata.
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI page 173 – 174 published by Rupa IHRF