Tantra Begins at the End

August 29, 2018

Shambhavi gives an introduction to the significance of transmission in direct realization spiritual traditions such as Trika Shaivism and talks about what it feels like to work with a teacher. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words from Podcast

In a lot of spiritual traditions you start at the beginning. You start with some idea, explanation, practice, or ritual that’s for beginners. That seems logical.

In this tradition and other Tantrik traditions from India, Vajrayana traditions, and direct realization traditions like Dzogchen, we start at the end. We start at the end because if we don’t know the end, then we don’t know where we’re going. So we start with a taste or an introduction to our real nature or essence nature. There are many words for this—presence, flowing presence, God, reality, instant presence, nature of mind.

We start with the end so that we know where we’re going. And we do that every time we sit down to do practice. In all seated practice in this kind of tradition, when we sit down the first thing we do is generally something to remind us of where we’re going. Then we try to work with that. All of these “practices of the end” are called transmission. This is the most important thing in this kind of tradition.

The most important thing is that you’re doing practices with correct View of those practices and with a teacher who can introduce you to the fruit of the practice before you actually do the practice. This is so you can go into whatever practices you’re learning—like meditation, mantra, and so forth—having some feeling for the practice. This isn’t just a conceptual idea, because anybody can get a conceptual idea. You don’t need a teacher for that—you can just read a book or google it or something! This is going into your practice with an actual taste of or feeling for the result.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.