This is part IX (concluding part) of tantra series. Though the concept of five ‘M’s have been grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted, the tantra sastras attach great importance to the five basic elements. The union of Shiva and Shakthi or Prakrti and Purusha are only symbolic in nature. In fact the inherent factor in such symbolic union is the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness (which is also known as cosmic consciousness) or uniting jivatma with paramatma. Thus tantra sastras look at the five basic elements as the cause of creation of not only the bodily forms, but also the mental modifications. There is another factor that is unique to tantra sastras is the importance of Guru. Though all the scriptures attach importance to Guru, tantras go a step further and say that without Guru, liberation is not possible. One is not supposed to bypass the instructions of Guru under any circumstances. The tantric Gurus are always powerful as they come through a certain lineage. The right combination of mantra and yantra makes a practitioner to attain siddhi in a mantra. Guru who initiates a person is supposed to know which mantra will fructify for the sadhaka at the earliest. There are specific methods to draw a yantra. The ink, the pen, the material on which yantra is to be drawn, timing of drawing, etc are meticulously prescribed in tantra sastras. Any deviations from the instructions make the mantra and yantra useless. While choosing a mantra, the Guru always places the bijas in such a way that the sadhaka is protected from external ill effects. The rituals and practice associated with tantra are difficult to comply with. Contrary to the beliefs, extremities of sleep, intoxicating food and drinks, and sex are prohibited in tantric practice. The point driven home by restricting their usage is that the mind of the practitioner should be ever alert. The tantric sastras do not attach importance to irrelevant procedures. For example, tantric scholars question the principles involved in performing ceremonial rites to a corpse. In fact, their arguments seem to be logical. Vedas also do not prescribe any rituals after death. All Vedic rituals are to be performed during one’s life time. Once the soul leaves the body, it has no value. We do not address a dead body as he or she instead we use only it. Almost all the tantric practitioners call Shakthi as the Divine Mother or simply ‘Ma’. This is mainly because, She listens to him, She protects him and She nurtures his will and determination. The mother will tolerate silly mistakes committed by Her children. A little bit of selfishness is also attached in worshipping the holy Mother, as She is the ultimate protector. There are a plenty of hurdles in practicing tantric rites. But if one has determination and will, the practitioner is sure to establish a firm commune with his deity. To achieve this, sacrifices and sufferings are the important requirements. With this we conclude our series on Tantra. Our comments and feedback at feedback@manblunder.com