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Thoughts on the concepts of devotion, commitment, service, and worship as per practitioners and aspirants to the Red Tantric Arts

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Subject: Thoughts on the concepts of devotion, commitment, service, and worship as per practitioners and aspirants to the Red Tantric Arts

Bhakti is a Sanskrit word meaning faith and devotion at once. Bhakti
Yoga, considered the *best* path toward enlightenment by many Hindu
teachers, generally centers around achieving liberation by pure devotion
to and faith in either one's god or one's guru, as manifestation

I prefer to view Bhakti in its broader, more universal sense: faith in
oneSelf and the path one follows, and devotion to spiritual evolution.
It's possible for valid doubts to come into play about anything. Bhakti
does not mean "blind faith," but faith in the ability to overcome
obstacles, to realize the true Will of the Higher Self. And devotion to
this principle will naturally speed the progress toward spiritual

Tantric Sexual practices require faith; they also encourage the faith to
develop. As intent is all-powerful in Tantra, elevating a simply
physical act to a sacram ent, you *must* truly believe that the sexual
spiritual dichotomy is false. Eroticism also stimulates faith; when one
sees concrete results one's faith is strengthened. Faith in one's
partner leads to trust, trust to devotion, devotion to the recognition
of the Siva/Sakthi principle within each man and each woman; thus is
duality transcended.

Faith should be tested. True faith and devotion require some sort of
credential. If given indiscriminately to all, they become meaningless.
It has been said: " The Vedas are like a common woman, available to all.
The Tantras are a devoted lover, available only to he who shows himself
worthy." This is not meant to imply that the Tantras are closed or
class-minded; quite the opposite. Rather than following the blind path
of Bhakti Yoga as espoused by any particular guru or teacher at any
particular time, the Tantras require soul-searching and continued
practice to achieve. Thus, when doubt is encouraged, beliefs tested;
what emerges will be true faith.

Devo tion to the transformative power of sexual energy is the ultimate
in Tantric practices. A couple united in true faith and devotion will
naturally realize their true Selves, and recognize and unite the
god/goddess within.

A bit about the Siva and Sakthi within: Carl Jung, who studied
extensively many eastern philosophies and religions, referred to Siva
and Sakthi (*Jung, Man and His Symbols*) as the archetypes for
anima/animus. Siva is conceived of as pure consciousness, thus without
his Sakthi, or f emale partner, he would be powerless to *act* in any
way. The Tantras state: "Without Sakthi, the lover is but a corpse." One
of the most popular depictions of Kali involves her squatting over the
reclining *corpse* of Siva; however his Lingam is erect, as Kali
breathes life into the corpse. Sakthi is the Divine Creative Energy, the
feminine, the Yin to Siva's Yang. Sakthi is a complicated concept which
has many layers, but all of them are universal in recognizing Sakthi as
pure energy.

Within the h uman body, Sakthi is said to be stored at the second
chakra, the male/female chakra, or the sexual organ chakra. While
Kundalini sleeps at the root chakra, and her arousal is vital for
Tantric love rituals, it is Sakthi she must first rouse on her upward
journey. This Sakthi-energy lives in both males and females. The Sakthi
power brings upon transformation, orgasm, the thrill of sexual delight,
and sudden flashes of intuitive insight. Evocation of Sakthi within one
another during Tantric Sex enables

 the couple to realize new creative potentials within themselves and
each other.

 Sakthi energy is especially powerful within the body of women, not only
because it is the divine female principal, but relating directly to
creation, naturally is more distilled in the only ones capable of
actually bringing forth a new life, i.e., giving birth.

 Sakthi in Tantric sex is also one of several terms used to describe the
female partner herself, implicitly recognizing her as the divine partner
in the sexual ritual.

Sexual energy, thought of as "inner woman" in both sexes, recognizes a
bisexual or androgynous gender. The Tantras teach that this quality is
natural, as we are born through the union of the two sexes, and that one
should not cultivate a deliberate, exaggerated masculine or feminine
affect. Tantric and Taoist sexual teachings agree that during magickal
sexual practices, role reversals should be practiced--spontaneously
exchanging passive and aggressive roles, dominant and submissive,
initiat or/tress and initiated. All that exists is an emanation of the
Prkriti, or Creative force of Nature, also known as Adi Sakthi--or
original Sakthi.

The Tantras also teach that the male and female qualities should be
equally honored--in oneSelf as well as in the lover. Perhaps part of the
reason the Tantras were dismissed and disdained is their almost
"feminist" quality--in Hindu culture at the times when the Tantras were
flourishing, the dominant religious and societal philosophies were
definitely male-oriented. Rather than a goddess-worshipping path, the
Tantras at he time emphasized the honoring of the feminine principal so
much, merely as an attempt to add balance to a patriarchal society in
which women were still thought of as property, or even as evil
temptresses, leading good swamis astray through the promised pleasures
of the flesh.

As the Sakthi principle relates directly to life itself, a man's
attitude toward his female partner, and women in general, can be seen as
symbolic of his r eflection on life in general. The man should honor the
Sakthi in his lover, other women, and even in himself. A woman should
recognize the Goddess within, and embody that role and all it stands
for. She should also honor the "inner woman" of her male partner, in
order to unite the dual aspects of the Creative Power of Prkriti/Sakthi.

If a man truly views his partner as an embodiment of Sakthi, she will
respond with true Bhakti and pure faith, becoming his high priestess and
Initiatress; whereupon he will reveal himself as her Lord and Lover.

   "Sakthi is the essence of Bliss; she is the love power. Bhakti is the
uplifting force of faith." --Devi Purana.

 Fortunately, in the modern age, the patriarchal/misogynistic views have
been much lessened, and women are now receiving their due as strong,
powerful, sexual and spiritual beings. So the one- sidedness of the
early Tantrist teachings is no longer quite so necessary. Let me amend:
perceived one-sidedness. For the male and female principles were eant to
be honored equally; however, in the times, equality of the female often
equalled the image, to the traditional ascetic swami, of female

Any discussion of Sakthi must include a brief discussion of Siva, the
exalted male principal, the Transcender, Sakthi's male counterpart.

Siva, like Sakthi, exists in males and females alike. The symbol of Siva
is the erect Lingam, representing the constant readiness of the Lord to
respond to the creative sexual energy of his consort. In fact, al though
Siva is often depicted in statue and art as a full-bodied god with an
erection, the Lingam itself has come to be regarded as a symbol of Siva
and object of worship. The Siva principal deals with mental
consciousness and eternal spirit; Siva has been referred to since the
earliest sacred texts as "the eater of death." The "eating" or
transcending of death is achieved in Tantra through the union of the
Lingam and the Yoni, leading to the union of Siva/Sakthi within each
partner separately and th e couple or group as a whole.

        "The entire universe was created from the seed that poured from
the erect Lingam of Siva during his lovemaking. All gods worship that
Lingam, Lord Siva, the Supreme Yogi." --Mahabarata.

The Tantric concept of "A Lingam within each Yoni" not only refers to
the clitoris, but also to the Siva principle alive within each woman.
Identification and recognition of the Siva-energy during Tantric Sex
Rituals will lead to an experience of transcendence beyond the normal nd
experiences of this realm. Siva is experienced as a pulling into the
universe, a penetration into the ether.The transcendental is impossible
to describe for one who has not experienced it, for by definition it
transcends the senses and perceptions of normal people.

During the sexual act, the Yogini should honor and worship the Yogi's
Lingam as a representation of the Siva Lingam, invoking a higher plane
than mere physical release (not to knock it!).

Basic understanding of Siva/Sakthi within is vital to Tantrists.
Identifying with Siva causes intuitive grasp of the divine nature of the
sexual act. Embodying one's partner thus brings transcendence into the
entire relationship. Serving your lover with true Faith and true Bhakti
stimulates the Sakthi-energy, which in turn awakens the Siva principle
within. Through the union of Siva and Sakthi in erotic bliss, an
awakening occurs, allowing the couple to evolve toward the union of sex
and worship.

Tantric Beliefs on Commitment:

Commitment is t he penultimate Tantric doctrine. It necessitates
absolute trust. Formal and informal commitments are both recognized, and
generally separated into three types: commitment for the duration of the
physical act of lovemaking only; commitment for a specified period of
time, and commitment for life. Additionally, a rather "Mormon" concept
of commitment for Eternity is recognized. Time and Eternity: the
ultimate vow of a Tantric Yogini.

No matter what type of commitment is entered into, it must be done w ith
complete sincerity and absolute confidence by each partner. This mutual
commitment is essential in Tantric sexual practices. The Tantras teach
that commitment must precede serious practice, and is in and of itself a
powerful magickal and erotic experience. Commitment is also an integral
part of each initiation along the way. It has been said that when a
committed couple practice Tantric sex, and the kundalini opens the
chakras, allowing the union of cosmic and physical love, any wish or
thought i n the mind at that time shall be granted.

Tantric tradition recognizes various types of commitments. There is the
commitment to oneSelf, to find one's true nature and unite with Brahman;
the commitment of neophyte to teacher; commitment to a specific path
toward evolution; and sexual and/or loving commitment.

Sexual commitment is always formalized to some degree or other.
Commitment for the act only is ritualized, basically, by the couple
exchanging gifts of incense and balm, massaging each other,

stating aloud their desire to unite with the divine principles of
Siva/Sakthi, reciting mantras, and stating their commitment to one
another in the persona of Siva and Sakthi. The Sexual Initiation
commitment is more fully described in the TANT1.TXT, the dialogue
between Siva and Sakthi.

Commitment "for the duration" is agreed to for a specific time and for a
specific reason; the couple undergoes a sort of pseudo- marriage, even
if they have no intention to marry. They agree to give the most of them
selves to one another and seek spiritual bliss through the sexual act
together. Perhaps ironically, commitment "for the duration" is a more
complicated and ritualistic procedure than for life or Eternity: the
male gives his partner silken robes, flowers, perfume, jewelry, fruit
and other gifts, and proclaims her the embodiment of Divine Sakthi. Then
the two join hands and are covered by a cloth of natural fiber, saying
together: "Swasti," meaning "It is well." Each in turn recites the
following: "It is Kama who gives and Kama who accepts. It is Kama who
takes the Kamini for the satisfaction of Kama. Inspired by Kama, I take
thee. May Kama and Kamini be fulfilled." The man then ignites a fire and
offer gifts of food and flowers to the fire, by placing the gifts into
the fire and allowing them to be "eaten" or consumed by the sacred
flames. The couple circles the fire seven times, meditating on
Brahma/Saraswati, Visnu/Laksmi, and Siva/Kali. After this, the couple
places garlands of flowers upon one another, and the ceremony is

Commitment for life involves a traditional marriage ceremony, either
Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, civil, or whatever is best for the
particular couple.

Commitment for Eternity is the simplest of all to carry out; though
possibly the most difficult to achieve, necessitating ultimate trust and
love for one another. The Mahanirana Tantra defines this Time and
Eternity commitment as "Marriage Under the Law of Siva." The couple
simply states aloud: "Approve our

marriage according to the Law of Siva." Then their souls are bound for
eternity. This step usually comes after a civil or religious marriage
ceremony, but not necessarily. The bonds of love and true faith are
stronger by far than any priestly pronouncement could hope to be.

True Service Under the Tantric Path:

Tantric Service in no way implies bowing to the will of another, being
pushed to perform some duty, or giving only with the expectation of
something in return. It must be a fully selfless a ct, the genuine
desire to give service as an act of love. Balance must be striven for
between "server" and "served." This does not mean that one should expect
something in return for having served the lover; it should be
spontaneous and from the heart. However, selfless service creates a
positively-charged aura of spiritual energy, so that the served desires
to become the server, and vice versa. However, think carefully to ensue
you are not using your lover for selfish reasons; similarly, if unfortun
ately, you find yourself in the position of always serving/never served,
the relationship is not a true partnership and should be carefully

Sexual service is the ability to use intuition to divine the sexual
desires of one's lover, and to selflessly and joyously seek to fulfill
those needs without any thought of getting anything back from it save
spiritual evolution. True sexual service, given freely, is an act of
worship, and a potent tool for the Tantric practitioner, neophyte, adept
o r Master.

SADHANA: the *Art* of Worship:

Ritualized worship before a private altar assists with focusing energies
and channelling them toward the desired effect. Worship is a universal
element of spirituality; and the Tantras teach that each man and each
woman should honor the divine within themselves and each other.

As more fully detailed in TANT-TEMP, worship occurs in the Temple of the
Body (one's own and that of one's partner), and in the "Outer Temple" or
sanctum. Tantra divides worship into t hree types: internal, external,
and combined. The primary form of worship would be the combined, as that
is what is practiced during Tantric Sexual Union. The very word "Tantra"
implies a 'weaving' together of inner and outer, male and female, human
and divine.

Inner worship may be accomplished through spiritualized masturbation,
meditation and Hatha Yoga, and such simple acts as eating, drinking, and
going about one's daily business, as long as they are performed
consciously and with discrimination .

Outer worship may also incorporate such practices as meditation and
Hatha, along with Pranayama, mantra, and performing obeisence before an
altar adorned with symbols of god, goddess, chakras, etc.

Tantric and Taoist mystical teachings both declare that Worship in the
Temple of Love, through conscious sexual acts, is the most direct route
to the achievement of Oneness.

The Divine female principle has been recognized in virtually all
cultures; whether called Kali, Sakthi, Isis, Priestess, Divine

Mother, Anima, or simply Woman. Her force is universally recognized,
however some exalt her in worship while others disdain her from fear.

Woman has many roles: she is the nourisher and conduit of all human
beings, and the embodiment of eroticism. The First Sexual Initiation has
always been held to be that of the emergence of a newborn through the
Yoni of his/her mother. Erotic art and sculptures of the sexual organs
still exist in India, Tibet, and Nepal today, those that were not
destroyed by Mosl em and European invaders. It was once quite common to
invoke the Yoni Yantra along with the symbol of the Siva Lingam.

An early Hindu text describes Sexual worship for the Red practitioner
thus: "Think of the sexual region of a woman as the sacrificial altar,
her hairs as the sacrificial grass, he skin as the dispenser of elixer,
the two lips of her Yoni as tongues of flame rising up from the
offering. Those who respectfully worship on this altar of love will be
granted their desires. Woman, exalt

the power of the Lingam, and honor the Lingam as the living embodiment
of Siva, the force of Transcendence."

The Tantric Black Hat offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism prescribes a method
of 'inner worship' for the White Tantric practitioner: "Visualize your
body in the form of the wisdom-goddess, a virgin girl, naked, with hair
flowing. Visualize yourself as her, in the center of an effulgence of
light, holding an elixer bowl close to your heart and garlanded with red
flowers. Think to yourself that the G uru enters you through your open
Yoni and resides in your heart. Then see the wisdom-goddess above the
crown of your head. Just having consummated the act of love, she is
naked, with disheveled hair, and her Yoni is moist and overflowing with
abundant sexual secretions. Her three eyes are open and filled with
erotic emotion, looking toward the vast expanse of the sky; which as she
begins to dance, becomes filled with Herself."

The term Sadhana is an individual act of worship, encompassing
commitment , study and actual practice. The urge to step aside and
concentrate on Sadhana only, leaving the mundane behind, is latent in
all and strong in some. However, Sadhana should ideally involve every
act, and not be seen as separate from one's overall life. The Tantric
couple, having practiced recognizing and channelling sexual energy, must
proceed with the Art of worship to achieve success. Worship the inner
god and goddess, worship them in your partner. Thus will physical love
become mystical; then the sexual act will liberate and reveal its truly
timeless and eternal character.


D. Yogini Padma Ushas Suryananda, other sources as cited.

(c) 1993 Rose Dawn Scott.


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