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Lata Sadhana – Tantric Practice

Lata Sadhana is a tantric practice involving male and female partners. Lata means creeper. Sadhana is spiritual effort and practice. A creeper grows with the support of a tree. Similarly, a woman enjoys the support of a man. So woman is called Lata in Tantra.

Another word for a woman in Tantra is Vama. Vamachara is an influential school of Tantra in which male and female partners to the practices together. It is also called Lata Sadhana, because of the fact that like a creeper embracing a tree, the female embraces the male partner as part of the tantric practice.

It is also called panchatattva sadhana because of the use of five materials or tattvas (pancha makara), such as madya (wine), mamsa (flesh), meena (fish), mudra (posture) and maithuna (sexual union).

It is also called virachara or kaulachara, as the practitioners belong to the vira or kaula sects of the Shakta school of Tantra.

It is claimed that the five M’s are symbolic names of five spiritual practices. These sects are known for very strict restrictions observed by their followers.

As described in Nirvana Tantra (XI.9), five materials can bring liberation in this very life if they are used with due restrictions and with the ultimate aim being one of transcendence and God realization.

Lata Sadhana is the way of going from maithuna (copulation), to the divine union of Shakti and Shiva. It leads the seeker from the craving of the genital organ to the awakening of the sleeping Goddess Kundalini. How this happens is described in Kamakhya Tantra (III. 23-28).

  • Principles of Tantra (1952) – Arthur Avalon – Ganesh and Co Chennai.
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 253 - IHRF