Tantra and Yoga
Shambhavi gets down to basics about the meanings of “Tantra” and “Yoga” from the perspective of Trika Shaivism. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.
First Words from Podcast
Today I want to talk about yoga. I’ve been doing a short series of talks on some fundamental things about this tradition, about sadhana – practice. This is to get into the framework for how we practice and how we approach our everyday life. The word tantra means continuity, and it also means a text. Continuity in the sense that there is an unbrokenness about Reality.
Consciousness itself is unbroken. There are no gaps anywhere, and also there are no boundaries anywhere. So although you may be having an experience of being a distinct body, you actually aren’t that. You’re an aspect of this conscious reality having that experience. You’re having a real experience of it, but that isn’t actually what you are.
If you’re convinced through your embodied activity that you’re a separate being, that you aren’t living in continuity with all else, then what happens? Well, a whole nation or a whole world living that way can have really stupid ideas. You can dump millions of gallons of radioactive water into an ocean and not be affected by it because it’s happening over there, right? I mean cosmically speaking, we’re just talking about down the block.
That’s the same effect that we have in our lives when we think something we do or feel is not affecting anything else, and that we’re somehow these autonomous beings. We’re having the same misconception that we’re having nationally and globally: that people are separate, that nations are separate, that oceans are separate.
The fundamental experience of separation in this tradition is called anavamala. That means the root ignorance. Tantra means the opposite of anavamala. It means continuity, or discovering that there’s nothing separating you from all of reality.
When we do tantrik sadhana or tantrik practice, that’s what we discover. We come out of our state of ignorance. We release that root ignorance called anavamala. Notice that I didn’t say the root sin because there is no concept of sin, wrongdoing, or badness in this tradition. We can simply be having a more limited experience or a less limited experience. And the more limited our experience is, the more separate we feel.