tantra aspects of awakening
In the ordinary human society , man and woman are the two different poles of energy. These energy poles have been discussed in detail in ancient tantric tradition. You may have seen a photograph of Kali standing practically naked, with one foot placed on Shiva, who is flat on the ground. She has a ferocious expression, a blood stained tongue and a mala of 108 human skulls. That is Kali in the awakened state. You may also have come across some pictures, though they are very rare, of Shiva seated in lotus posture. Half of his body is Shiva and half is Shakti. Then, you may have seen the picture of Shiva and Parvati sitting in the position of guru and disciple. Shiva is seated in lotus posture and Parvati is seated on a lower platform. Shiva is instructing her in the secrets of tantra.
These are the relationships between Shiva and Shakti at one point, Shakti is the disciple and Shiva is the guru i.e. woman is the disciple and man is the guru. At another level, they are not at all different. Shiva and Shakti are intertwined together in one body, one frame and one idea. At another level of evolution, Shakti is supreme and Shiva is subservient. This is the philosophical interpretation of the stages of awakening of the inherent shakti in everybody.
In the tantric tradition, the woman is considered to be higher than the man. This should by n means be understood as a social claim. It is purely a spiritual attitude in relation to the evolutin of higher consciousness. Whenever, we make a reference to a man and woman, we always refer to the woman first and then the man. We never say Ram Sita, we always say Sita Ram. We never hear Shyam Radha, it is Radhe Shyam. Radha being the feminine and Shyam the masculine. This is because in the scheme of evolution, Shakti comes first and Shiva comes next. With this attitude , if we go on in spiritual life, either with your wife , daughter or disciple, then your have to see that she is the activator anf you are the participant in every sphere. The frame of a woman, her emotions and her psychic evolution is definitely higher than that of a man. Awakening of the spiritual force, i.e. Kundalini is much easier in the body of a woman than in the body of a man.
Besides this, a man who goes into the deeper realms of mind and comes out, is not able to bring those experiences back with him, but a woman can. There is very little difference between a woman’s inner and outer awarness. The psychic being of a woman is highly charged with spiritual awareness. The external expressions that will find in a woman or in a girl – love for beauty, tenderness, sympathy, understanding are expressions of her inner state. The inner awareness of woman is very receptive and ready to explode.
In the Kundalini yoga also, the woman’s body is charged by a particular centre. Mooladhara chakra in the male body is intricately situated in a very congested area. Men do moola bandha and still nthing happens. But in a woman’s body, you can even touch mooladhara with your fingers. So, awakening can take place in a woman’s body much more quickly than in the body of a man. Woman has always been the main transporter of energy and man the medium. Shakti is the creator and Shiva is instrumental. Shiva has never been considered a creator. Hindus have accepted the union of man and woman in order to facilitate the process of evolution through tantra.
In tantra, a woman’s place is on the left side. Before marriage, the girl sits on the right side and when the marriage ceremony has taken place, then she sits on the left. She is thus known as vama. In Sanskrit, ‘vama’ means one who is on the left side. In tantra, vama marga actually means the path of spiritual evolution which is practised with your wife. Marga means path and vama means the wife, the woman, the partner, whichever she may be.
In vama marga, it is Shakti who is important, not only in sexual life but in spiritual practices, carrying out the processess of creation and in conducting most of the spiritual rituals. Amongst Hindus, all the rituals are mainly conducted by women. Woman is the commissioner; man is the participant. Whether it is an ordinary social ceremony, a religious ceremony, the worshipof sonic deity or a day of fasting, it is the woman who has to introduce it. The man just has to follow her. This is the tradition in India known as initiation from the woman to the man.
Vama Marga is the spiritual path which can be practiced along with your partner. It is a sad mistake to consider the woman in tantra only as a sexual partner. Sexual life is important but it is not the only relationship that can exist between a man and woman. In tantra you don’t have to fight with your religion or tradition. Tantra never said that sexual life is a sin. It says that sexual interaction is a natural urge; do it if you like. In tantra the role of initiator is shifted from the male to the female. In tantra, the woman has to be dealt with very carefully because she is the high tension line for kundalini energy.
Tantra aims at enhancing each and every aspect of human life, so to attain liberation, one must become perfect. First, one must perfect ones physical and mental faculties and then learn to control them and sublimate them and then convert and divert them to raise the soul to higher in the spiritual ladder, one gets various siddhis or powers like intuition, mind reading, healing, future gazing, mesmarising etc. At this stage, some people get carried away and forget the main goal and succumbe to displaying and using these powers to gain money and fame.
In tantra, it is also to be remembered that there is another path called dakshina marga or Vedic tantra. Here, the woman is not necessary because the aspirant is considered to have both forces within himself. Ida is feminine and pingala masculine. Union between the mental and pranic forces is equivalent to union between a man and woman. This is the hypothesis in hatha yoga, ida is Shakti and pingala is Shiva. When they unite in ajna chakra, that is the real union. The seat of Shakti is in mooladhara. The seat of Shiva is in sahasrara, Shiva is in eternal yoga nidra there, inactive, unconcerned, nameless and formless. He has nothing to do with destruction or creation. His consciousness is homogeneous and total. There is no vibration in sahasrara. Shakti is in mooladhara and by the practices of yoga, you awaken her. She becomes aroused and makes headway through sushumna upta ajna. When Shakti reaches ajna chakra, union takes place.
This union occurs when the two poles of energy come together. When you put on switch, there is light because the wires of the switch are uniting. In the same way, in ajna chakra, when union takes place, the explosion also simultaneously occurs. Then the energy created in ajna chakra moves up to sahasrara chakra. There Shiva and Shakti unite with each other and when they unite, Shiva begins to dance. Perhaps, you have seen a photo of Nataraja. That is the symbolic expression of the awakened shiva.
When Shiva wakes up from his profound yoga nidra, then he begins to dance. The awakening of that force in man is symbolized by the dance of Shiva in the form of Nataraja. Then, Shakti and Shiva descent together through the same path to mooladhara. Both come down together to the mundane level, the gross plane. That is the path of the saints who come down and reach us from time to time. And that is why, in kriya yoga, we have ascending and descending passages – arohan and awarohan.