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Tantra And Advaita

Tantra and Advaita are two distinct spiritual and philosophical traditions that originated in India and have had a significant influence on Hinduism and, to some extent, Buddhism. While they share some common elements and have been practiced in parallel, they have different approaches and goals.

Advaita Vedanta:

Advaita means "non-dual" in Sanskrit, and Advaita Vedanta is a school of philosophy that emphasizes the non-dual nature of reality. It is found in the Vedas.

Key Concepts: Advaita Vedanta posits that the ultimate reality (Brahman) is devoid of distinctions and is the only true existence. It teaches that the individual self (Atman) is identical to Brahman and that the apparent diversity of the world is an illusion (maya).

Practices: Advaita Vedanta primarily involves self-inquiry (atma-vichara) and meditation to realize the non-dual nature of reality. It places a strong emphasis on understanding the teachings of ancient texts like the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.


Tantra is a diverse and complex tradition that encompasses various practices and philosophies. It emerged as a response to the rigidities of traditional Hinduism, and its origins can be traced back to the 2nd century CE.

Key Concepts: Tantra emphasizes the idea that the divine (Shiva and Shakti) is present in everything, including the physical world and the human body. It does not reject the world as an illusion but seeks to transcend and transform it.

Practices: Tantra involves a wide range of practices, including rituals, mantra chanting, meditation, and the use of yantras (sacred diagrams). It is known for its emphasis on the integration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of human life.

Differences between Tantra and Advaita:

Goal: Advaita's primary goal is the realization of the ultimate reality as non-dual and the identity of the individual self with that reality. Tantra, on the other hand, aims at spiritual awakening through the recognition of divinity within the world and the individual.

Worldview: Advaita considers the world to be an illusion (maya), while Tantra embraces the world as a manifestation of the divine and seeks to harness its transformative power.

Practice: Advaita mainly relies on meditation and self-inquiry to realize the non-dual self, whereas Tantra employs a broader range of practices that often involve ritual, symbolism, and energy work to connect with the divine.

Texts: Advaita Vedanta's foundation lies in the teachings of the Upanishads and the writings of Adi Shankaracharya. Tantra has a diverse body of texts, including the Tantras themselves, which vary among different sects and lineages.

It's important to note that both Tantra and Advaita have evolved and diversified over the centuries, resulting in numerous sub-traditions and interpretations. Some individuals may even combine elements of both traditions in their spiritual practice, seeking a synthesis of non-dual realization and engagement with the world.