Tantra and Supernatural Power
Anand Marg_The Path of Bliss
The science of spirituality developed out of human beings’ innate desire to unravel the mystery of creation. Humans began to search for the secret causes underlying both the dreadful and the beautiful aspects of nature. They looked around them at the rivers and streams, the far-flung mountain ranges, the flashes of lightning; they heard the thunder; they listened to the roaring of ferocious animals – and they began to plumb the depths of these mysteries. These endeavours to get at the hidden truth of everything are what is known as Tantra. Since these endeavours were carried on at different times, in different places, and by different groups of individuals, we find some differences in methodology among the various schools of Tantra.
Tantra originated in [South] Asia, and its propounders were the Austrics, [the Dravidians,] and the Mongolians.(1) Among these peoples, the Dravidians and the Mongolians were more developed, the Austrics less. The practitioners of the more-developed Tantra would look upon things from a broad point of view, renouncing all narrow thinking. They would always strive hard to advance the welfare of the masses. Through such selfless service, they would overcome the fetters of the mind, such as hatred and shame. The practitioners of the less-developed Tantra would behave in just the opposite way. They would indulge in casteism; in expressions of untouchability; and in expressions of hatred and envy in relation to other groups.
The overcoming of material bondages signifies the greatest human progress. The word tantra signifies that one “frees oneself from the bondages of crudity;” therefore Tantra is considered the best kind of spiritual practice. Lord Sadáshiva was the first propounder of this Tantra. He developed certain fixed rules, and thereby ensured all-round progress in the different aspects of human life. He brought about a perfect system, reviewing and coordinating all branches of Tantra. He researched and proved the efficacy of both the [external] and the [internal] aspects of Tantra.(2) The [external] aspect of Tantra consisted of sádhaná with skulls, in cemeteries. The [internal] aspect of Tantra consisted of the practice of yoga. [It is ultimately] through [internal] Tantra that human beings can reach the heights of spiritual success.
Human beings can never win liberation by flattering Prakrti. An entity which is flattered becomes proud. Human beings must not become the slaves of matter. If sádhakas will worship Puruśa and ignore Prakrti, they will find that Prakrti will automatically begin to flatter them.There is no such thing as “supernatural” in this world. All sorts of powers lie dormant in human beings. Sometimes we get glimpses of these latent powers. In a more-developed terminology, these glimpses will be called “intellect” or “intuition”. Human beings can develop that which they have glimpsed, eventually attaining extraordinary powers. In the eyes of ordinary people, these powers appear to be supernatural, but actually they are natural. But it is a fact that ordinary persons cannot do these extraordinary things, and that is why they look upon these powers as supernatural.
Tantra is a source of such extraordinary powers. Within a short period, all the páshas and ripus [fetters and enemies] which bind the mind become broken. As long as the mind is in bondage, it tends to move towards crude material objects; that is, the mind remains inextricably associated with matter. But once the bondages become snapped through the practice of Tantra, the mind becomes detached from those crude objects. This implies the elevation of human beings, because [it is through detachment that] physical, psychic, and spiritual progress becomes possible. Humans are predominantly-mental beings, and sometimes [certain of them] develop extraordinary intellect; because of their greater concentration of mind, their societies consider them to be a superior type of person.
When we talk about the ripus [enemies] of the mind, we mean only the [internal, or, innate] enemies.(3) For a human being to bring the ripus under perfect control signifies an important victory. Those persons who can do so attain greater control over the forces of matter, and can perform feats that in the eyes of the common masses betoken some kind of supernatural power.
In Tantra the endeavour to establish control over matter or over external forces is called avidyá sádhaná. And the practice which leads to self-realization is called vidyá sádhaná. And that branch of Tantra which is neither vidyá sádhaná nor avidyá sádhaná is called upavidyá sádhaná. Only vidyá sádhaná contributes to the welfare of humanity; the other two practices are merely a waste of time. Márańa, uccát́ana, sammohan, váshiikárańa, etc., come within the definition of avidyá sádhaná. The practice of avidyá leads to degradation. Sadáshiva, the original propounder of Tantra, collected and systematized all the branches of Tantra, but He did not encourage the practice of avidyá, because it is an inferior order of sádhaná. When people practise sádhaná in order to attain “supernatural” powers, their mental objects ultimately become crude, for after attaining such powers, they utilize them for self-aggrandizement or for revenge.
Vidyá sádhaná was almost extinct for the last 1200 years. And there are now only a handful of real Avidyá Tantrics left – the rest are charlatans and hypocrites. After death, these people will be reborn as worms and insects.
Human beings practise sádhaná in order to become one with Brahma, not to become ghosts or ghouls. To become one with Brahma, they must practise Vidyá Tantra, and not Avidyá Tantra. Of course through either kind of sádhaná, sádhakas gain freedom from the páshas and ripus. But the difference between the two sádhanás is that the practitioners of Vidyá Tantra channelize their spiritual powers towards the attainment of Paramátmá, whereas the practitioners of Avidyá Tantra utilize their acquired powers for mundane benefits. Through Vidyá Tantra one “binds” [wins] Paramátmá, while through Avidyá Tantra one binds [dominates] living beings. Vidyá Tantrics accept Paramátmá as their object of supreme adoration, and in order to become one with Him, they channelize all the powers they have acquired towards Him.
From a medical point of view also, Tantra sádhaná has its usefulness. In ancient times there were Vedic experts in áyurveda.(4) But as they were not Tantrics, they were handicapped in fully utilizing their medical knowledge to cure patients. Because of their prejudices – their hatred of certain groups, their belief in untouchability, their casteism, etc. – they would hesitate to touch the bodies of their patients; whereas the Tantric doctors, because of their control over [such enemies and fetters as] hatred, fear and shame, could render medical service in a proper way. The practices of dissection and surgery rested mainly in the hands of Tantric doctors.
July 1960, Muzaffarpur
Shrii shrii anandmurti ji
Universal Spiritual Master
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