--> Skip to main content

Shatkarma in Tantra

Shatkarma in Tantra refers to the six tantric applications. In Tantra there are six procedures grouped under the name of “black rites”. They are called “black” to indicate the fact that they are techniques of lesser merit, and are of a rather unwholesome nature. They are also called tantric shatkarmas because they are six in number. Their names are given in Yogini Tantra (IV.3) as follows

  1. Vashikaran – which means bringing under control
  2. Vidvesana – meaning causing envy, conflict and enmity
  3. Uccatana – meaning uprooting, removing or driving away
  4. Marana – killing or destroying
  5. Santi or Svastyayana – meaning turning anything inauspicious into auspicious and favorable
  6. Stambhana – making standstill and fixed  like a pole, or restricting the movement of a thing

Only a highly specialized and expert practitioner of Tantra, who has achieved siddhi, can succeed in applying these black rites with his control over them. There is an element of mystery about them.

The suitable timings for these satkarmas are different for different acts. They are mentioned in Jnanarnava Tantra (XX.166-167). In respect of the above six black rites the timings are, respectively, forenoon, noon, afternoon, evening, midnight and morning.

In Dwitiya Mundamala Tantra (III. 5-6), different skins are recommended for sitting in meditation for the above rites. The skins are those of the rhino, the tiger skin, the deer, etc. Instructions regarding mudras, yantras, and mandalas used in these six procedures are found in the tantric text Mantra Mahodadhi (Chapter 25 and 26).