Practicing rituals strictly in accordance with the procedures laid down by Tantra sastras will yield a faster effect, than following the procedures laid down by veda sastras. It cannot be said that tantric rituals are disowned by Vedas, as the Atharvana Veda discusses certain rituals including usage of various herbs. Barring a few rituals, certain herbs and amulets, Atharvana Veda does not discuss any elaborate tantric practice. Therefore it should not be construed that the tantric rituals have the stamp and authority of Vedas. Tantra sastras have been wrongly interpreted, making others frown upon the laid down procedures. There is a lot of misconception about tantra sastras. In fact the rituals laid down by tantra sastras are tougher and needs immense suffering and sacrifice to achieve the desired results.

The main components of tantra sastras are mantra and yantra. Tantra itself is a combination of various scientific factors. For example astronomy, astrology, anatomy, study of herbs (ayurveda), geometry (for drawing yantra), etc are certain basic principles of tantra sastra. One need to be better informed for practicing tantric rituals. The one important factor of tantric ritual is worshipping a form of Goddess as opposed to the teachings of Upanishads. All the tantra sastras are said to have been told to Parvathi by her consort Shiva. Shiva himself says that in kaliyuga tantra sastra works better than other sastras. It is difficult to trace the origin of tantra sastras. But it is prevalent in most of the Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, Tibet, etc. Buddhism also has mantras of tantric nature like Hinduism. The importance of vedic rituals are losing ground simply because in the present times, nobody is able to follow the procedures prescribed by Vedas as they are elaborate. Purity of mind and body is paramount in vedic rituals as opposed to tantric rituals, though tantra also lays down its own rules for purity. Again mantras prescribed by Vedas are different from the mantras prescribed by tantras.

The vedic mantras may not have the same potency as that of tantric mantras in today’s scenario. Tantra sastras, even today are kept as a closely guarded secret mainly on two accounts. If procedures are properly followed, the effect of such rituals is imminent. It could be possible that certain practitioners might use this for a destructive purpose. Secondly, a person who knows all the tantric rituals do not want to share his acquired knowledge with someone else purely out of ego. The master-disciple relationship (guru-sishya) is the most important factor in tantra sastra. Master always chooses his disciples. Once the choice is made by the guru, the disciple is first initiated into a mantra. Guru alone decides the nature of mantra to be initiated. Most of the tantric mantras are about Shakthi. In fact, some call Shakthi worship itself as a tantric ritual. But in reality it is not so, as Shakthi is worshiped both by Vedas and tantras. The idea behind Shakthi worship is her kinetic nature and secondly She is affectionately called as ‘Ma’ meaning mother, who is capable of fulfilling the desires of her children. The procedure of initiation of a mantra is not a mere formality, but accompanied by a number of rituals. Each disciple will have different mantras. These mantras are to be recited for a prescribed number of times. Once this is done, other formalities follow. The difference in interpretation of tantra lies only in the so called ‘other formalities. (To be concluded)

Further Readings:

Tantric Initiation

The Tantric Fire

Tantra and Five Elements

Tantra and Creation