One should cast one’s attention on the joy experienced, between the beginning and end of the sexual act. One will be completely filled with Energy, and through the bliss of love, one is united with God.Verse 68
A common misconception today is that tantra is about sex. It isn’t. Tantra is about liberation. The practices involving sex have frequently been misunderstood. They need to be seen for what they are – a spiritual practice intended to make one realize their True Self. Tantra believes that sex is meant for three purposes. For progeny, for pleasure, and for reaching God. Tantra was interested in using sex for reaching God. The sexual act is special in a particular way. The act of two individuals uniting into one is similar to the experience of the individual uniting with God. Tantra was not against sensual pleasures.
Not to be enslaved by Sexual Pleasure
Tantrics believed that sensual pleasures should be enjoyed without attachment. The moment one becomes enslaved by them, one suffers. Sensual pleasures can enslave us. But they can also be used to liberate us. That is why in the original text of this verse, the words fire (Sahni) and poison (visha) are used to refer respectively, to the beginning and the end of the sexual act. What is poison for some, can for others be a means for liberation. The tantric practices involving sex should be seen in the proper light. They were not lewd activities for sensual pleasure. They are a form of yoga, a meditation. Some of the practices were highly ritualistic, with lots of rules and procedures to be followed. These practices were disclosed to very few people. The list of qualifications required to learn these practices was very long. People should not be attached to sensual pleasures. Otherwise, they would do these practices for sensual pleasure and not for achieving liberation. On the other hand, the people could not be moralistic, and see these practices as lewd activities. The people who qualified for these practices were called Veera or heroes, because of their heroic attitude. The master selected the right partner. Sometimes the master was a woman, a yogini. The man was not to be concerned about the beauty of his partner. He was to consider her not as a mere human being, but as a divine Goddess.
Respect for Women in Tantra
What is remarkable about tantra is the respect given to women. Women were treated as equal to men. They were never considered to be inferior to men. In some tantric texts, the Goddess was elevated to a higher plane. In these texts, it was God (Shiva) that asked the questions, and the Goddess that gave the answers. In many ways, yoga and tantra were ahead of their time. Equality of women, realizing that we are one with God and each other, are concepts that the world is only now awakening to. The yogis and tantric believed in them centuries ago. Some of the practices involving sex had rituals of their own. In some instances, wine, fish, and meat were consumed before the practice.
The Panchtattwa Tantra Practice
- The most well-known of these practices was the panchtattwa (literally, five elements). Here the woman sits on the man’s lap.
- The man enters her and the woman has her arms around his neck. The couple is supposed to synchronize their breath – breathe in and out at the same time.
- They look at each other’s eyes and press their bodies together. The faces touch, the foreheads touch, and the eyes look directly at each other. They stay locked in that pose, breathing together, sometimes for hours.
How to do this technique
For this verse, it is not necessary to follow the practice described above. Any practice which gives joy or pleasure without harming anyone is sufficient.
- Focus your attention on the joy or happiness experienced during the sexual act.
- Transform the sexual act into joy or love. Feel the love flowing. When there is enough joy or love experienced, one dissolves, one’s identity disappears. Then, there is only love.
- There is this incredible energy surging through one’s body, after which, one is united with God. This energy is Kundalini.
- She starts her ascent up the spine, filling one with her ecstasy. That is what the verse means when it says, One will be filled with Energy.
- The tantric sexual practices use the male-female duality, to transcend dualism. The male-female duality is the greatest in this world. This verse asks us to focus on the joy of love experienced during a sexual act. In unity, there is joy.
When this joy or love is intense enough, one loses one’s ego. That is what is beautiful about love. In love, oneness is felt – through the bliss of love, one is united with God.