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Glancing into Bengali Tantric texts to open doors to a new side of spirituality

Tantra, which means "weave," refers to Hindu and Buddhist occult traditions. Tantra also refers to any structured, universally applicable "textual matter, concept, structure, technique, tool, or practice" in Indian traditions. The utilization of mantras is a crucial element in these traditions, which is why they are generally recognized as Mantramga ("Path of Mantra") in Hinduism. Tantras centered on Vishnu, Shiva, or Shakti began to appear in the early ancient times, particularly in the common era. The descent of  Tantric practices evolved from Modern Hinduism, including the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition, the Sri-Vidya Shakta sect, the Kaula, and Kashmir Shaivism.


Since the Tantric texts of Bengal wielded such sway, some Bengali scholars began composing Tantric works. The earliest Hindu Tantra belongs to the Kalkula sect, which speaks volumes about the importance of Tantras in Bengal, and in Indian culture as well. Kalkula's followers are known to have an altruistic worldview. They believe in the existence of Shakti and Brahman in their 3 forms of existence: conscious experience, bliss, and knowledge. Sakti is not a distinct entity. According to them, Siva-Sakti is a notion that transcends dichotomies and can only be discovered through experience. The Bengal Tantra school is involved with Tantra's Karma Kanda. Bengal Tantra is a ritualistic practice. Many are quick solutions, and a greater proportion is clerical manuals intended to aid in the performance of Tantric rituals. Tantric studies lasted until the nineteenth century. Tantric manuals were created in the early years of the twentieth century.


The Bengal Buddhist Tantra does not acknowledge Shaktism. They acknowledge one male and one female premise that underpins everything. The Buddha Tantra identifies Upaya-Prajna, which assumes the same role as Siva-Sakti but in the opposite order. The Buddhists support the Sunyata concept. This doctrine holds that one should be bound by higher energies, but learn to live in a state where neither space nor time exists. Some Hindu Tantras attempt to demonstrate their Vedic origins by quoting Vedic mantras. However, Buddhist Tantras do not regard Veda as a trustworthy source. Gods, according to Buddhist Tantras, are conceptual entities that exist only in the devotee's mind. Buddhism, while rejecting aesthetic symbolism, recognizes the inner 'god.' Buddhist Tantra acknowledges an array of forces of energy that exist within the body. However, both Hindu and Buddhist Tantras have metaphysical and widely known aspects. Tantras in Hinduism are interactions between Shiva and Parvati. Mantra is considered to be extremely important. Mandala and Mudra are crucial features in both kinds of Tantric texts.


The oldest known Bengal writer that spoke about Hindu Tantra is Mahamahopadhyaya Parivrajakacharya. His work discusses the symbols used in Tantric rituals. Sarvananda is a major figure among Bengal's Tantric Sadhakas.   The Sarvollasa is a collection that delves deeply into Tantric Sadhana in a broad sense and Vira Sadhana in particular. Raghu Natha Tarkavagisa Bhattacharya was a descendant of the illustrious Bengali Sakta disciple, Sarvananda. The Agama-tattva-vitasa is a massive work divided into five lengthy chapters that summarize the essence of numerous works such as Veda, Purana, Tantra, astronomy, and Smrti-sastra. More recently, Tantric ideologies have been seen in Bengali poems, Baul songs, and Sakta devotional songs.


FAQs: 


Q1. What do tantric rituals pertain to?


Tantric rituals are derived from Indian traditions that have been designed to produce supernatural events as well as provide participants with a direct connection to global energies. 


Q2. How many Agamas exist in the world today? 


The Agama literature consists of an extensive body of textual matter. There are 28 Shaiva Agamas, 64 Shakta Agamas (also known as Tantras), 108 Vaishnava Agamas (also known as Pancharatra Samhitas), and innumerable Upa-Agamas.