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The Tantras An Overview
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The Tantras An Overview
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About the Book

Tantras are less known to and much less understood by many, even by those following the Vedic way of life. Apart from enriching the philosophical thought of Hinduism, tantras have also contributed many ritualistic customs and practise in the field of religious endeavour.

The author of the book, Swami Harshananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, has given an overview of the philosophy and practises of the tantras.

 

Introduction

It is seen that every major religion of the world has a founder, a scripture, and a church. Hinduism is the solitary exception to this general pattern. It does not have a single founder or a single book or a single church, though in it great religious leaders, religious books and religious monasteries or organisations are legion.

Although the Vedas have been accepted as the basic scriptures by most of the sects, cults and groups of Hinduism, a number of other religio-philosophical works have appeared over the centuries, many of which have occupied cardinal positions in their cults or sects. The agamas and the tantras form an important category of literature among these.

Originally, the word ‘tantra’ seems to have meant any science or body of knowledge.

Gradually, however, it got restricted to a particular class of literature, a literature primarily devoted to the cult of Sakti or the Divine Mother and containing an amalgam of religion, philosophy, esoteric and occult rites, astronomy, astrology, medicine and prognostications. In this respect, the tantras resemble the puranas. Etymologically, the word is derived from its two constituents-‘tan’, to spread; ‘trai’, to protect-and is supposed to mean any work that spreads or dilates upon many matters like tattvas (fundamental principles) and mantras (sacred words and syllables) and through that knowledge affords protection to the votaries.

Whether the tantras have accepted the authority of the Vedas and hence their subservience to them, or, have furrowed their own parallel and independent path, is a moot point. If the stress on moksa (freedom from transmigratory existence) as also the place of honour accorded to the varna-asrama-dharmas (duties based on castes and stations in life) bespeaks of their allegiance to the Vedas, other practices like the panca-makaras or savasadhana (to be explained later) smack of their close association with an aboriginal, non- Vedic society. It may perhaps be safer to assume that though they might have originated as a parallel tradition distancing themselves from the Vedic tradition, later teachers of the schools of tantra might have endeavoured to bring them much closer to the latter, if not integrate them into it.

 

Preface

The Religious practices prevalent in the modern Hindu society are influenced greatly by the puranas the agamas and the tantras. However the literature in the modern languages whether in English or in the Indian vernaculars on the agamas and the tantras is rather scanty. This monograph on the tantras is an earnest attempt to give in a nutshell the essential teachings of the same for the English knowing seekers. We have confined ourselves mainly to the works related to the cults of the Devi or the Sakti (God as the Divine Mother).

We sincerely hope that like our other booklets on similar subjects this monograph also will be welcomed as a useful publication.

 

Contents

 

1. Introduction 5
2. Tantric Literature 8
3. Contents of the Tantras in Brief 11
4. Philosophy off the Tantras 13
5. Sadhanas as Depicted in the Tantras 17
  GURU 18
  SISYA 19
  ISTADEVATA 20
  DIKSA 20
  MANTRA 22
  JAPA 27
  PURASCARANA 31
  PUJA 33
  HOMA 35
  YANTRA 36
  NYASAS AND MUDRAS 37
  KUNDALINI AND CAKRAS 42
6. Some Allied and Relevant Topics 45
7. Saktipithas 53
8. Conclusion 56

 

Sample Pages





The Tantras An Overview

Item Code:
IDD077
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2002
Publisher:
ISBN:
81-7907-033-6
Language:
English
Size:
5.5" x 4.2"
Pages:
56
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 32 gms
Price:
$4.50   Shipping Free
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About the Book

Tantras are less known to and much less understood by many, even by those following the Vedic way of life. Apart from enriching the philosophical thought of Hinduism, tantras have also contributed many ritualistic customs and practise in the field of religious endeavour.

The author of the book, Swami Harshananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, has given an overview of the philosophy and practises of the tantras.

 

Introduction

It is seen that every major religion of the world has a founder, a scripture, and a church. Hinduism is the solitary exception to this general pattern. It does not have a single founder or a single book or a single church, though in it great religious leaders, religious books and religious monasteries or organisations are legion.

Although the Vedas have been accepted as the basic scriptures by most of the sects, cults and groups of Hinduism, a number of other religio-philosophical works have appeared over the centuries, many of which have occupied cardinal positions in their cults or sects. The agamas and the tantras form an important category of literature among these.

Originally, the word ‘tantra’ seems to have meant any science or body of knowledge.

Gradually, however, it got restricted to a particular class of literature, a literature primarily devoted to the cult of Sakti or the Divine Mother and containing an amalgam of religion, philosophy, esoteric and occult rites, astronomy, astrology, medicine and prognostications. In this respect, the tantras resemble the puranas. Etymologically, the word is derived from its two constituents-‘tan’, to spread; ‘trai’, to protect-and is supposed to mean any work that spreads or dilates upon many matters like tattvas (fundamental principles) and mantras (sacred words and syllables) and through that knowledge affords protection to the votaries.

Whether the tantras have accepted the authority of the Vedas and hence their subservience to them, or, have furrowed their own parallel and independent path, is a moot point. If the stress on moksa (freedom from transmigratory existence) as also the place of honour accorded to the varna-asrama-dharmas (duties based on castes and stations in life) bespeaks of their allegiance to the Vedas, other practices like the panca-makaras or savasadhana (to be explained later) smack of their close association with an aboriginal, non- Vedic society. It may perhaps be safer to assume that though they might have originated as a parallel tradition distancing themselves from the Vedic tradition, later teachers of the schools of tantra might have endeavoured to bring them much closer to the latter, if not integrate them into it.

 

Preface

The Religious practices prevalent in the modern Hindu society are influenced greatly by the puranas the agamas and the tantras. However the literature in the modern languages whether in English or in the Indian vernaculars on the agamas and the tantras is rather scanty. This monograph on the tantras is an earnest attempt to give in a nutshell the essential teachings of the same for the English knowing seekers. We have confined ourselves mainly to the works related to the cults of the Devi or the Sakti (God as the Divine Mother).

We sincerely hope that like our other booklets on similar subjects this monograph also will be welcomed as a useful publication.

 

Contents

 

1. Introduction 5
2. Tantric Literature 8
3. Contents of the Tantras in Brief 11
4. Philosophy off the Tantras 13
5. Sadhanas as Depicted in the Tantras 17
  GURU 18
  SISYA 19
  ISTADEVATA 20
  DIKSA 20
  MANTRA 22
  JAPA 27
  PURASCARANA 31
  PUJA 33
  HOMA 35
  YANTRA 36
  NYASAS AND MUDRAS 37
  KUNDALINI AND CAKRAS 42
6. Some Allied and Relevant Topics 45
7. Saktipithas 53
8. Conclusion 56

 

Sample Pages





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