Kashmir Śaivism reveals the Tantric approach to religion as non-dualist. Śaṅkarācārya, generally viewed to be the principal exponent of non-dualism (advaita), teaches transcendence of the manifest world. But in Kashmir Śaivism we find a form of advaita that is more concerned with the notion of the world as a reality that is Śiva himself. By […]
This presentation is based on a current work-in-progress on the living Tantric traditions of Assam. Long revered as one of the oldest and most important seats of Tantra in South Asia, Assam (aka Kamarupa) remains a vibrant center of Tantric practice to this day. But Tantra here includes not only the more elite, Sanskritic Tantric […]
In this session we attempt to understand and model hand gestures (mudrās) in tantric rituals. Rooted in older traditions, mudrās are an integral part of tantric ritual. Śākteya tantric practitioners construct a symbolic world through mudrās and in this talk we will explore how these are taught. On a broader level this talk seeks to explore the […]
A visual guide to the history and rituals of the Kāmākhyā temple in Assam, India. The temple of the Goddess Kāmākhyā is considered one of the śakti piṭhas (seating place of the śakti) of the Goddess. Rare still and moving images show the complexities of tantric rituals to the Goddess.
We explore the full dimensions of Tantra and consider its role in the beliefs and practices of Hinduism. Hinduism manifests in many ways, but it is possible to identify two major strands, which we can broadly define as the Vedic and the Tantric. We will establish the nature of these two expressions of Indian spirituality […]
The Sanskrit text Devi Māhātmya (“Glory of the Goddess”) marks the debut of the Hindu Goddess within the Brahminic fold – never before do we see ultimate divinity presented in feminine form. The text narrates the monumental feats of the Hindu divine mother, entailing her slaughter of demons, her manifestation into various forms, and her granting of […]
Western interest in Tantra is mostly focused on sex. However, sexual rituals in tantric texts are about physical empowerment and spiritual freedom – not sensual pleasure. How does this compare to the worldlier priorities of the Kāma Sūtra? And are there links between modern “neo-Tantra” and sexual restraint in yogic texts?