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Ways To Reach Non-Dual Awareness In Tantrism

Tantrism has a number of highly effective devices to reach non-dual awareness. The most important are the five essentials of worship. These are –

  • Bhuta Shuddhi (purification of the place of worship)
  • Nyasa (ritualistic touching of the body)
  • Mudra (symbolic gestures)
  • Mantra (powerful words)
  • Dhyana (meditative absorption)

Kularavana Tantra speaks of right-handed and left-handed rituals as two stages of initiation out of a total of seven, which are –

  1. Vedachara
  2. Vaishnava Chara
  3. Shaiva Chara
  4. Dakshina Chara
  5. Vamachara
  6. Siddhantachara
  7. Kaulachara

The first four are of pravrtti (wordly activity). The last three are of nivrtti (liberation). The last three represent spiritual maturity and are open only to certain types of yogins. The Bhagavad Gita speaks of three types of yogins – Pasubhava yogin, Virabhava and Divyabhava. The first type of yogi has no control over his sense organs; he is excluded from the vama types of tantra achara (conduct). The vamachara has five essences (pranatattvas). These are –

  • Madya (wine)
  • Mamsa (meat)
  • Matsya (fish)
  • Mudra (parched grain)
  • Maithuna (sexual union)

The Tantras proclaim that the realization of the transcendent reality can be achieved by meditative absorption. These rituals culminate into one flash of intuition, which is called sahaja yoga. The second type of yogi with self-control is encouraged to use vamacara, which is samarasa for achieving the desired state of consciousness. The divyabhava yogi is pure and need not follow the ritualistic path.