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Photo Credit: Ranjan ( my brother)

Shitish Ranjan Dev's personal Zoo

Srimongol, Sylhet.2010

 

EXPLORED

Shitish Ranjan Dev's personal Zoo

Srimongol, Sylhet.2010

  

A kid was standing alone by the corridor of the Nakoda Masjid before the timely prayer during the month of Ramajan and he was enlightened naturally by the light from the outside ... which was quite symbolic !

All rights reserved by Saibal Ghosh.

at Leimram in 2nd week Aug 07

Mother's Day Special Photography Contest . To participate in this contest, upload your photos here--> halla.in/contest/mother-s-day-photography-contest

"DEVOTIONS"on 31.March 2012, 6:30pm in Stainless Gallery.

A contemporary piece 5 dancers (trained in Ballet, kathak,satrija,contemporary).

  

DEVOTIONs - A contemporary dance piece for five dancers exploring & sharing their own path, story aspirations, experiences in devotion.

 

Directed by: GIlles Chuyen

 

with Nikolina Nikoleski, Raj Mahoor, Astha Dixit, Nihar Ranjan Goswami & Gilles Chuyen.

 

Space Design by Manish Kansara.

from wikipedia

Tantra[note 1] is the name given by scholars to a style of meditation and ritual which arose in India no later than the 5th century AD.[1] The earliest documented use of the word "Tantra" is in the Rigveda (X.71.9).[2] Tantra has influenced the Hindu, Bön, Buddhist, and Jain traditions and silk road transmission of Buddhism that spread Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia.[3]

 

Several definitions of Tantra exist.

 

Traditional[edit]

The Tantric tradition offers various definitions of tantra. One comes from the Kāmikā-tantra:

 

Because it elaborates (tan) copious and profound matters, especially relating to the principles of reality (tattva) and sacred mantras, and because it provides liberation (tra), it is called a tantra.[4]

 

A second, very similar to the first, comes from Swami Satyananda.

 

Tantra embodies two sanskrit words: tanoti (expands) and trayoti (liberates)... It is the system by which you liberate or separate the two aspects of consciousness and matter - purusha and prakriti or Shiva and Shakti.[5]

 

A third comes from the 10th-century Tantric scholar Rāmakaṇṭha, who belonged to the dualist school Śaiva Siddhānta:

 

A tantra is a divinely revealed body of teachings, explaining what is necessary and what is a hindrance in the practice of the worship of God; and also describing the specialized initiation and purification ceremonies that are the necessary prerequisites of Tantric practice.[6]

 

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar[note 2] describes a tantric individual and a tantric cult:

 

A person who, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, aspires for spiritual expansion or does something concrete, is a Tantric. Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an "ism". Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science. So wherever there is any spiritual practice it should be taken for granted that it stands on the Tantric cult."[7]

 

Scholastic[edit]

Modern scholars have defined Tantra; David Gordon White of the University of California offers the following:

 

Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the godhead that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, in creative and emancipatory ways.[8]

 

Anthony Tribe, a scholar of Buddhist Tantra, offers a list of features:[9]

 

Centrality of ritual, especially the worship of deities

Centrality of mantras

Visualisation of and identification with a deity

Need for initiation, esotericism and secrecy

Importance of a teacher (guru, ācārya)

Ritual use of maṇḍalas

Transgressive or antinomian acts

Revaluation of the body

Revaluation of the status and role of women

Analogical thinking (including microcosmic or macrocosmic correlation)

Revaluation of negative mental states

Western[edit]

Robert Brown [10] notes that the term "tantrism" is a construct of Western scholarship, not a concept from the religious system itself. Tāntrikas (practitioners of Tantra) did not attempt to define Tantra as a whole; instead, the Tantric dimension of each South Asian religion had its own name:

 

Tantric Shaivism was known to its practitioners as the Mantramārga.

Shaktism is practically synonymous and parallel with Tantra, known to its native practitioners as "Kula marga" or "Kaula".

Tantric Buddhism has the indigenous name of the Vajrayana.

Tantric Vaishnavism was known as the Pancharatra.

"Tantra" denotes teachings and practices found in the scriptures known as tantras or āgamas; Āgamic is a synonymous adjective.

 

History[edit]

Golden Age of Hinduism[edit]

Tantrism originated in the early centuries of the common era, developing into a fully articulated tradition by the end of the Gupta period. This was the "Golden Age of Hinduism"[11] (ca. 320–650 AD[11]), which flourished from the Gupta Empire[12] (320 to 550 AD) to the fall of the Harsha Empire[12] (606 to 647 AD). During this period power was centralised, trade increased, legal procedures standardised and literacy grew.[12] Mahayana Buddhism flourished, but the orthodox Brahmana culture began its rejuvenation with the patronage of the Gupta Dynasty.[13] The position of the Brahmans was reinforced,[12] and the first Hindu temples emerged during the late Gupta period.[12]

 

Late classical period[edit]

See also: Late classical age and Medieval Hinduism

After the end of the Gupta Empire and the collapse of the Harsha Empire, power was decentralised in India. Several larger kingdoms emerged, with "countless vassal states".[14][note 3] The kingdoms were ruled by a feudal system, with smaller kingdoms dependent on protection from larger ones. "The great king was remote, was exalted and deified."[15] This was reflected in the Tantric mandala, which could depict the king at its centre.[16]

 

The disintegration of central power led to religious regionalism and rivalry.[17][note 4] Local cults and languages developed, and the influence of "Brahmanic ritualistic Hinduism"[17] diminished.[17] Rural devotional movements arose with Shaivism, Vaisnavism, Bhakti and Tantra,[17] although "sectarian groupings were only at the beginning of their development."[17] Religious movements competed for recognition from local lords.[17] Buddhism lost its stature, and began to disappear from India.[17]

 

During this period Vedanta changed, incorporating the Buddhist emphases on consciousness and the working of the mind.[19] Buddhism, supported by the ancient Indian urban civilisation, lost influence to the traditional religions rooted in the countryside;[20] in Bengal, Buddhists were persecuted. However, it was also incorporated into Hinduism when Gaudapada reinterpreted the Upanishads in the light of Buddhist philosophy.[19] This also marked a shift from Atman and Brahman as a "living substance"[21] to "maya-vada".[note 5] where Atman and Brahman are seen as "pure knowledge-consciousness".[22] According to Scheepers, it is this "maya-vada" view which dominates Indian thought.[20]

 

Spread of Tantra[edit]

Tantric movements led to the formation of a number of Hindu and Buddhist esoteric schools. It has influenced the Hindu, Bön, Buddhist and Jain religious traditions and spread with Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia.[3]

 

Chronological use of term[edit]

A survey of the literature yields a variety of uses for "tantra":

 

Appearance of term "Tantra" in scriptures[23]

PeriodScripture or authorMeaning

1700–1100 BCṚgveda X, 71.9Loom (or weaving device)[2]

1700-?Sāmaveda, Tandya BrahmanaEssence (or "main part", perhaps denoting the quintessence of the Sastras)[2]

1200-900Atharvaveda X, 7.42Loom (or weaving device)[2]

1400-1000Yajurveda, Taittiriya Brahmana 11.5.5.3Loom (or weaving device)[2]

600-500Pāṇini on AṣṭādhyāyīTissue obtained from the frame (tantraka, derived from tantra)

600-300Śatapatha BrāhmaṇaEssence (or main part; see above)[2]

350-283 BCChanakya[24] on ArthaśāstraStrategy

300 ADĪśvarakṛṣṇa author of Sānkhya Kārikā (kārikā 70)Doctrine (identifies Sankhya as a tantra)[25]

320Viṣṇu PurāṇaPractices and rituals (śakti, Viṣṇu and Durgā cults with the use of wine and meat)[26]

320-400Poet Kālidāsa on AbhijñānaśākuntalamDeep understanding or mastery of a topic[27]

423Gangdhar stone inscription in Rajasthan[28]Daily practices and rituals of Tantric cult (Tantrobhuta)[29]

500-600Chinese Buddhist canon (Vol. 18–21: Tantra (Vajrayāna) or Tantric Buddhism[30]Set of doctrines or practices for obtaining spiritual enlightenment (including iconography of the body with cakras, nāḍīs and mantras)

600Kāmikāgama or Kāmikā-tantraExtensive knowledge of principles of reality (tattva and mantra)[31] and bearer of liberation[32]

606–647Sanskrit scholar and poet Bāṇabhaṭṭa (in Harṣacarita[33] and in Kādambari), in Bhāsa's Cārudatta and in Śūdraka's MṛcchakatikaSet of practices and rituals, with mandalas and yantras for propitiation of goddesses or Matrikas [29][34]

788–820philosopher ŚankaraSystem of thought, or set of doctrines and practices[35]

950–1000Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha (philosopher)[36]Divinely-revealed set of doctrines or practices concerning spiritual worship[37]

975–1025Philosopher Abhinavagupta in his TantrālokaSet of doctrines or practices, teachings or Śaiva doctrine

1150–1200Jayaratha, Abhinavagupta's commentator on TantrālokaSet of doctrines or practices, teachings or Śaiva doctrine (as in Tantrāloka)

1690–1785Bhāskararāya (philiosopher)System of thought or set of doctrines or practices'[38]

Practices[edit]

Rather than one coherent system, Tantra is an accumulation of practices and ideas. Because of the wide range of communities covered by the term, it is problematic to describe tantric practices definitively.

 

Goal[edit]

Tantric ritual seeks to access the supra-mundane through the mundane, identifying the microcosm with the macrocosm.[39] The Tantric aim is to sublimate (rather than negate) reality.[40] The Tantric practitioner seeks to use prana (energy flowing through the universe, including one's body) to attain goals which may be spiritual, material or both.[41]

 

Tantric path[edit]

For Tibetan Buddhist ideas, see Anuttarayoga Tantra.

Long training is generally required to master Tantric methods. Pupils are typically initiated by a guru.

 

A number of techniques are used as aids for meditation and achieving spiritual power:

 

Yoga, including breathing techniques and postures (asana), is employed to balance the energies in the body/mind.

Mudras, or gestures

Mantras: Syllables, words and phrases

Mandalas

Yantras: Symbolic diagrams of forces at work in the universe

Identification with deities

The process of sublimation consists of three phases:

 

Purification

Elevation

"Reaffirmation of identity in pure consciousness"[40]

Classification[edit]

Avalon contrasts "ordinary" [42] and "secret ritual[s]".[43] Methods employed by Dakshinachara (right-hand path) interpretations of Tantra differ from methods used in the pursuit of the Vamachara (left-hand path).

 

Mantra, yantra, nyasa[edit]

The words mantram, tantram and yantram are rooted linguistically and phonologically in ancient Indian traditions. Mantram denotes the chant, or "knowledge." Tantram denotes philosophy, or ritual actions. Yantram denotes the means by which a person is expected to lead their life.[citation needed]

 

The mantra and yantra are instruments to invoke higher qualities, often associated with specific Hindu deities such as Shiva, Shakti, or Kali. Similarly, puja may involve focusing on a yantra or mandala associated with a deity.[44]

 

Each mantra is associated with a specific Nyasa. Nyasa involves touching various parts of the body at specific parts of the mantra, thought to invoke the deity in the body. There are several types of Nyasas; the most important are Kara Nyasa and Anga Nyasa.[citation needed]

 

Identification with deities[edit]

Tantra, as a development of early Hindu-Vedic thought, embraced the Hindu gods and goddesses (especially Shiva and Shakti) and the Advaita philosophy that each represents an aspect of the ultimate Para Brahman or Adi Parashakti. These deities may be worshiped with flowers, incense and other offerings (such as singing and dancing). Tantric practices form the foundation of the ritual temple dance of the devadasis, and are preserved in the Melattur style of Bharatanatyam by Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer.[citation needed]

 

Visualisation[edit]

The deities are internalised as attributes of Ishta devata meditations, with practitioners visualizing themselves as the deity or experiencing the darshan (vision) of the deity. During meditation the initiate identifies with any of the Hindu gods and goddesses, visualising and internalising them in a process similar to sexual courtship and consummation.[45] The Tantrika practitioner may use visualizations of deities, identifying with a deity to the degree that the aspirant "becomes" the Ishta-deva (or meditational deity).[46]

 

Classes of devotees[edit]

In Hindu Tantra, uniting the deity and the devotee uses meditation and ritual practices. These practices are divided among three classes of devotees: the animal, heroic, and the divine. In the divine devotee, the rituals are internal. The divine devotee is the only one who can attain the object of the rituals (awakening energy).[47]

 

Vanamarga (secret ritual)[edit]

The secret ritual prompted Heinrich Zimmer's praise of Tantra's world-affirming attitude:

 

In the Tantra, the manner of approach is not that of Nay but of Yea... the world attitude is affirmative... Man must approach through and by means of nature, not by rejection of nature.[48]

 

Arthur Avalon states that the Panchatattva,[note 6] Chakrapuja and Panchamakara involve:

 

Worship with the Pañcatattva generally takes place in a Cakra or circle composed of men and women... sitting in a circle, the Shakti (or female practitioner) being on the Sadhaka's (male practitioner's) left. Hence it is called Cakrapuja. ...There are various kinds of Cakra – productive, it is said, of differing fruits for the participator therein.[43][50]

 

Avalon provides a number of variations and substitutions of the Panchatattva (Panchamakara) "elements" or tattva encoded in the Tantras and tantric traditions, affirming a direct correlation to the Tantric Five Nectars and the Mahābhūta.[51]

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra

:copyright: All Rights Reserved by RezwanBion photography

"DEVOTIONS"on 31.March 2012, 6:30pm in Stainless Gallery.

A contemporary piece 5 dancers (trained in Ballet, kathak,satrija,contemporary).

  

DEVOTIONs - A contemporary dance piece for five dancers exploring & sharing their own path, story aspirations, experiences in devotion.

 

Directed by: GIlles Chuyen

 

with Nikolina Nikoleski, Raj Mahoor, Astha Dixit, Nihar Ranjan Goswami & Gilles Chuyen.

 

Space Design by Manish Kansara.

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