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Tantric Temples: The Body and the Environment

[from ]

From: (Grendel Grettisson)
Subject: Tantric Temples: The Body and the Environment
Date: 16 Jun 1993 08:19:31 GMT

(c) 1993 Rose Dawn Scott.

      "When my beloved returns to the house, I shall make my body into
a Temple of Gladness. Offering this body as an alter of joy, my
let-down hair shall sweep it clean. Then my beloved will consecrate
this temple."

                                          --Vaisnav Baul

A temple is a place of worship, a construction wherein God is served
and realized. Tantric tradition holds that "God" is one's true Self,
the soul, to be worshipped in the Temple of cred rivers;
   here are the sun and the moon, as well as all the holy places of
pilgrimage. I have not encountered another Temple as blissful as my own

                                     --Saraha Doha

The physical body is a Temple of the soul, and microcosm of the entire
universe. The bodily Temple, as with many traditional Hindu and
Buddhist Temples, contains gardens, rivers, sanctuaries, and gates; as
well as containing all the elements of the world: earth, water, fire,
air, and ether.

Tan tains nine "gates" to the bodily Temple; these being the anus, the
Yoni or Lingam, the mouth, the nose, the two eyes, the two ears, and
the "Gate of Brahma." The Gate of Brahma, known in current medical
terminology as the "fontanel," is an actual opening, visible at birth,
which closes as the baby grows (also known familiarly as the 'soft
spot' at the crown of an infant's skull). Eastern tradition holds that
the soul enters and leaves the body through the Gate of Brahma. Note
should be made that, the number 9 having mystical significance, either
the Tantras or those translating them have not been entirely accurate
with the 9-gate description. For instance, since the eyes are counted
as two gates; so should be the nostrils, rather than naming "the nose"
as a single gate. Additionally, Yoginis possess an extra "gate," our
urethras being separate from our Yonis; unlike males whose Lingam
contains but a single gate used for sexual and excretory processes.

Although the bodily Temple may be entered via any gate; it is the Gate
of Brahma which leads to higher spiritual realization.

In addition to and not separate from the purely physical body, Tantra
describes the Subtle Body. The Subtle Body contains one's aura, the
chakras, while physical nerve centers located along the spinal column,
evoke their "traits" from the Subtle Body. The two bodies are
inseparable, both should be worshipped as one Temple.

The microcosm of the universe can be described in terms of the Subtle
Body. The SIVA SAMHITA describes it thus:

"In this body the central Great Axis, Mount Meru, the spinal column,
is surrounded by seven islands. These islands are named Prana (the
vital force), blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and Soma
(seed/ova). There are rivers and seas, all the stars and planets,
sacred pilgrimage places, shrines and presiding deities. In this body,
Brahmanda (the egg of Brahma), there is the nectar-rayed moon atop the
spinal column; it turns its face downward, and rains nectar day and
night. The ambrosia from the moon subdivides into two subtle
parts. One ray nourishes the body like sacred waters, and descends ass
a subtle channel on the left side; her name is Ida. The other ray,
brilliant as the purest milk, enters the central nerve of the spinal
column in order to maintain and recreate the moon in its proper place
atop the central Great Axis. Its name is Susumna. At the lower region
of the Great Axis of Mount Meru is the Sun, located within the body
itself. From the Inner Sun, situated at the solar plexus, a subtle
channel emanates to the right of the body, carrying solar flame upward
by the power of its rays. His name is Pingala. Pingala moves through
the body, swallowing up vital secretions and leading the spirit to
Liberation. Lord Surya, the Sun, moves through the vessel of the
body. Who knows this microcosm of the body and experiences its
mysteries truly reaches the highest state."

 The Ida and Pingala are conceived as crossing the Susumna, or Central
River, like twin serpents coiling around a central staff. This Yantra
is the same ancient hermetic symbol known as the Caduceus, modern
symbol of the medical profession. The rising, swirling energies
produce a vortex of ascending power, used in Tantra to evolve toward
the Infinite.

The main act of worship at the Bodily Temple is this Ascension, the
channelling of sexual energy upward from the root chakra, which
contains the basic life force, through the sexual chakra, producing a
liquid thrill. Upon reaching the Solar Plexus chakra, the Inner Sun is
awakened, burning up bars to progress with its 64-petalled flames,
purifying the pathways, the chakras. Upon reaching the heart chakra,
the fire of love floods the three rivers and the solar and lunar
energies unite, illuminating the temple. An ecstatic transcendental
delight is produced. For white Tantric practitioners, sometimes
Tantric orgasm is achieved at this point. During red Tantric sexual
practice, a firm foundation of Temple Worship will consciously aid
Tantric orgasm within the couple, and lead to the union of the sexual
and spiritual bliss.

Worshipping the Bodily Temple takes place on all levels, from the
physical to the most subtle. Regard the body as a True Temple,
cultivate this awareness at all times and in all places.

The physical and subtle condition of the body are most important.
Physically, out of respect for the Divinity within, the body should be
kept clean, well nourished and healthy; through the practices of
hygiene, *sacred bathing* and the practices of Hatha Yoga and
Pranayama, as well as healthy diet. The Temple deity's satisfaction
should be sought after; provide enjoyment and laughter and sensual
delight to satisfy the Divinity within. Hold nothing back out of
embarrassment or doubt; true worship is not an act of rote but of
spontaneous and total love. During Tantric lovemaking, such worship of
one's own bodily Temple and that of the partner produce fulfillment of
all desires; Tantric sexual love is an act of great magical and
spiritual potency.


An erotic temple is necessary for Tantric worship and High Tantric
Sexual acts. The senses, the body, mind and spirit should be aroused
within this Temple. An inner sanctum can be created within one's home,
a place in natural harmony with one's true spirit. Eastern temples
usually incorporate arches and curved, soft shapes harmonious to the
human body's lines. Hard lines and corners can be changed with drapes,
canopies, ornaments, screens, and the like.

Colors are important. Red and purple stimulate and arouse; deep blue
and violet relax and invigorate. Color combinations as they relate to
the chakras are most excellent; ideally ones that stimulate
spontaneous erotic expression rather than inhibit it should be chosen
as the dominant colors of the Sanctum. The bed should be kept close to
ground level, or lovemaking should take place on carpets, padded mats
and cushions.

The KAMA SUTRA suggests: "The abode should ideally be located near
water, surrounded by a garden, and contain inner and outer rooms. The
main room should be balmy with rich perfumes and contain a bed, soft,
agreeable to the sight, covered with a clean cloth, low in the middle,
having garlands and flowers upon it, a canopy above it and two
pillows, one at the top and another at the bottom. There should also
be a sort of couch, at the head of this a stool on which should be
placed fragrant ointments, perfume and flowers. An open fire provides
stimulation and calls to Agni, Surya and Ushas."

Such technicalities aren't always practical in the modern
world--especially for apartment dwellers! But candles and incense, and
jugs or bowls of fresh water can be easily substituted. Introducing
natural elements into the home harmonizes the senses. Lovemaking is
recommended in natural environs, but the practice of Tantric Union
must be undertaken without danger of distraction or interruption, so
natural elements such as fresh fruit, flowers, plants and natural
organic materials are no less sacred for being *substitutes.* Silk
wall hangings or sheets, feather pillows, and cotton or down
comforters should enhance the bed, or even take the place of it.

Electric light is unadvisable; electricity has a current of its own
which is inorganic and not harmonious with the erotically stimulated
body's natural currents. Candles are neutral, and the softness of
their glow can help still the mind, focusing it totally on the
spirituality of the sensual act to take place.

Ordinary, non-ritual lovemaking is more easily accomplished in natural
environs; and since Prakriti, the inherent Sakthi of nature and
creation, exists in such places as wooded areas, beaches, and fields,
physical, non-ritual lovemaking can be heightened by communion with
the elements of nature. Additionally, if one brings back a stone,
rock, shell, pinecone, or other object acquired during natural acts of
love, it becomes a potent talisman, and should be provided a prominent
place in the Inner Temple of the Home.

Try to instill as much of your inner nature and true Self into the
Temple's abode as possible. This will not only please you, but endow
your Erotic Temple with a vital energetic current of its own.

"The bed was made ready, provided with luxuries, including a bronze
 censer for scenting the quilts. She let down the bed curtains to the
 floor, letting down her hair, covering her body with it. The mattress
 and coverlets were piled up, the pointed pillows laid across
 them. She then shed her robes and revealed her white body, with
 delicate bones and soft flesh. We then made love, and her body was
 soft and moist, like fine ointment."
                                        --Mei-Jen Fu.



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