Trite, historically inaccurate and embarrassing for your publication and your readers. Articles like this are exactly why I cancelled my subscription 5 years ago. Sad to see things have not changed.
I am disappointed that the author would imply that there is truth to these accusations against Swami Satchidananda.
I'm very interested in Tantra now. It is clear that the couple practicing tantra knows a deeper truth and reality. I wonder if they are clear about things other than sexuality, such as meditation if superficial people are around. Is it possible?
Fascinating article, thank you
I truly got a lot out of this article. I feel the author addressed it quite well. The mainstream public who knows little about Tantra thinks its about sex. And, as the author points out, that is the very reason why most are drawn to it. If the author immediately lectured about how it's not all about sex from sentence one, paragraph one, even page one (of 11 pages), he would have lost most of that mainstream and thus lost the opportunity to use what they did know about the practice to coax them into learning and accepting more about what the true reality of the practice encompasses. Most haven't studied Tantra and know nothing more than the karma sutra. To get people to relate, you first must use what they know as a means of introducing them and getting them interested in what they don't know...
I say this article was well written. Thank you for pouring your time and energy into this endeavor Todd. Your exploration and resulting insight is greatly appreciated from at least one reader!!
Some leading scholars on Tantra: Paul Mueller Ortega, Douglas Brooks, Hareesh Wallis
How misleading that until the 9th page, there is no mention of the scholarly facts about Tantra as opposed to the Western "version" of Tantra. . .that Tantra is a vast philosophy not based around sex at all. Tantric sexual practices are a small element of the greater tapestry, and are only practiced by those on the far left side of the lineage, and passed down from the early Hindu tantrikas.
Dr Feuerstein is the most highly respected authority on Tantra in the West, and as he points out, it is NOT true that Tantra is about sex. You could just as well say that Catholicism is about cannibalism and torturing people to death, based on Communion and the images of Jesus nailed to the cross. It's a gross distortion of the role and function of sex in Tantra. Sex lowers ego barriers and can help some ADVANCED Tantric students expand consciousness. But it is not a necessary element of Tantra, and sexual rituals are not for those who cannot control their tendency to focus on the sex per se or to try to use the sexual rituals learned to bond with their partners, rejuvenate their sex lives, or any other egocentric goals. In point of fact, Tantric sacred sex has nothing to do with sexual techniques or positions or anything else related to sex therapy or marital therapy. The focus is on stimulating the consciousness to expand and on heightening awareness. How it feels as sex per se is irrelevant, except as one more thing to be aware of. But since sex is a fundamental driver of human behavior, it is very hard to reach a stage where someone can engage in a sexual ritual simply as a ritual, without wanting more of it, without the "lizard brain" taking over and without getting all wrapped up in themselves, their partner, and their personal goals. That's why the teacher decides which advanced students should engage in sexual rituals, which should rather use other techniques, and it's why sexual rituals play a minor role in Tantric spiritual development no matter what level of development the practitioner has reached.
Whatever so-call "sacred sex" or "Neotantric" schools are teaching, it's not Tantra. It is extremely offensive that Yoga Journal would print such a piece of rubbish as this article. Clearly the author has not bothered to do even the most basic research into Tantra as a spiritual path. Dr Feuerstein's books on Tantra are widely available, as are the writings of the Dalai Lama (a celibate Tantric) or (for those who prefer a more "what do I get out of this" approach) Daniel Odier. See for example http://www.danielodier.com/ENGLISH/entree_e.html Notice that not a word is said about sex, even though Mr Odier was in fact initiated into a sexual ritual by his teacher towards the end of his training, as you may read in his book Tantric Quest. Why? BECAUSE TANTRA IS NOT ABOUT SEX.
If Yoga Journal cannot bring itself to ask the author to rewrite this article, it should at least change the title. This article certainly does not contain the "Truth about Tantra".
The above quotes from a Yoga Journal article authored by me misrepresent my current opinion about Neo-Tantra. That article was written many years ago when Neo-Tantra was still fairly young and perhaps less noxious and obnoxious, though in retrospect I doubt even this.
In particular, I must distance myself from the quoted statement that Neo-Tantra “provides meaning and hope.” I no longer entertain such a generous opinion. Neo-Tantra has very little to do with Tantra except for the name.
Don’t be misled. I’d say, don’t even bother to waste your time on “traditional” left-hand Tantra. If you are preoccupied with sex, consult a reputable psychologist. If you are suffering from sexual repression, also consult a reputable psychologist. If you are genuinely interested in spirituality, look at teachings and teachers very carefully. Don’t pay hard cash for amateur advice from Neo-Tantrics.
Authentic Tantra is taught, for instance, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, but it correctly focuses on renunciation, wisdom, and compassion.
Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D.
Author of The Yoga Tradition, etc.