This seal depicts shiva,it existed during Indus valley Civilization..around 2500Bc
Tantra is the original spiritual science first taught in India more than 7000 years ago. Tan is a Sanskrit root which signifies “expansion”, and Tra signifies “liberation.” Thus, Tantra is the practice which elevates human beings in a process in which their minds are expanded. It leads human beings from the imperfect to the perfect, from the crude to the subtle, from bondage to liberation.
The development of Tantra is intertwined with the development of civilization in ancient India. During the time when Tantra emerged as an important spiritual practice, India was passing through a crucial historical period. In the Northwest nomadic tribes from central Asia, the Aryans, began to enter the country which they named Bharata Varsha (the land which nourishes and expands human beings). Although the Aryans were a nomadic warrior culture, amidst them there were certain sages known as Rishis who began to ask the basic questions about the origin and destiny of the universe.
These sages presented oral teachings, which were later compiled in books known as The Vedas. In these teachings they put forward the idea of a Supreme Consciousness, advancing beyond the previous concepts of a world in which many deities were thought to animate the forces of nature. They also developed a system of prayer and worship in order to enter into a relationship with this Supreme Consciousness, but their practices were mostly of an external, ritualistic nature.
In India the Aryans encountered and began to fight with the indigenous peoples - the Austrics, Mongolians, and Dravidians. They considered these races to be inferior to them, and in the epic tales of India such as The Ramayana, these races are depicted as monkeys and demons.
However inferior these races were considered to be, the Aryans were very much interested in the spiritual practices which the indigenous peoples of India were practicing. The spiritual approach of the non-Aryans was Tantra and it differed from the Vedic practices of the Aryans because it was fundamentally an introversive process rather than an external ritual. Many Aryans began to learn the Tantric system of spiritual development, and later Vedic books were influenced by Tantra.
During this epoch of warfare between the Aryans and non-Aryans, a great personality was born. His name was Sadashiva which means “He who is always absorbed in consciousness and one whose only vow of existence is to promote the all-around welfare of living beings”. Sadashiva, also known as Shiva, was a great spiritual preceptor or Guru. Although Tantra was practiced before his birth, it was he who for the first time gave humanity a systematic presentation of spirituality.
Not only was he a great spiritual teacher, but he was also the founder of the Indian system of music and dance, which is why he is sometimes known as Nataraj (the Lord of the Dance). Shiva was also the founder of Indian medicine, and presented a system known as Vaedyak Shastra. In the social sphere too Shiva had an important role to play. He introduced a system of marriage in which both partners accepted a mutual responsibility for the success of the marriage, irregardless of caste or community. Shiva himself was of mixed parentage, and by marrying an Aryan princess he helped to unite the warring factions of India and gave them a more universalistic social viewpoint. Because of these social innovations Shiva has been called the father of human civilization.
Shiva’s greatest contribution to the birth of civilization was to introduce the concept of dharma. Dharma is a Sanskrit word which signifies the “innate characteristic” of something. What is the innate characteristic and specialty of humans? Shiva explained that a human being wants more than the pleasure provided by sensory gratification. He said that the human being is different from plants and animals because what he or she is striving for is absolute peace. This is the goal of human life, and Shiva’s spiritual teachings were aimed at enabling any human being to attain this goal.
Like most ancient teachings, Shiva’s ideas were first taught in an oral form, and only later were they transcribed into books. Shiva’s wife, Parvati, used to ask him various questions regarding the spiritual science. Shiva replied to these questions, and the compilation of these questions and answers are known as the Tantra Shastra (Tantric scriptures). There are two types of Tantric scriptures. The principles of Tantra are found in books known as Nigama while the practices of Tantra are contained in books known as Agama. Some of these ancient books have been lost and others are indecipherable due to their having been written in a code language designed to keep the secrets of Tantra away from the uninitiated; thus the ideas of Tantra have never been clearly explained.
One of the most important elements in Tantra is the relationship of Guru and disciple. Guru means “one who can dispel darkness” and Shiva explained that for spiritual success there must be a good teacher and a good disciple.
The relationship of guru and disciple is very important and is a key feature of Tantra. The path of spirituality has been described as being as thin as a razor’s edge. At any moment it is possible to deviate from the path and then it is very difficult to reach liberation. The guru is always there to love and guide the disciple at all stages of the practice.
More on this..in the next post….its even more intersting..:)