Tantra 1 - Transcendence

The word tantra has unfortunate connotations, but in truth is one of the most beautiful explanations of the human condition and our purpose here that I have ever found.

Tantra contends that everything in this universe is nothing but consciousness, the word used to denote the common basic substance behind all ephemera, all life.  Different people call this different things (spirit, Holy Spirit, God, Divinity, grace, love, soul, heart).  Tantra calls it consciousness. 

For tantra, the human form is the highest stage of development before enlightenment (or complete merging with consciousness), for it is through being human, with our will, our intelligence and our capacity to act, that we are able to more clearly feel the consciousness within and therefore unite with it.

Tantric philosophy tells us that humans are nothing but contracted consciousness.  As water vapour is to ice, we are to consciousness.  The substance is the same, but its form is a contracted version of it.  The work of tantra yoga is to realise this fully in this lifetime.  The task is to expand outwards and to keep on expanding.  This is transcendence.  In doing this, we transcend beyond our limited sense of self (who we are, what we do, what we think, where we have been, where we are going) and dissolve the boundaries between our small body (the place in which our consciousness lives in this lifetime) and everything else that is manifest. 

The various tantric texts (from 12th Century onwards) give us many practices for finding, loving and holding on to this inherent transcendence within.  One of the simplest and most sophisticated is given in the first chapter of the Shiva Sutras:

udyamo bhairavah I.5
The inner upsurge of energy is the Supreme*
That effort, the flashing forth of active awareness that instantaneously makes universal consciousness shine, is Bhairava**

When you are walking and the sun in shining and the world is beautiful to you, you experience within yourself an upsurge of energy, a rush of joy.  This is transcendence.  When you are with a friend or lover and you feel love and connection and oneness.  This is transcendence.  When you are eating, mindfully, a delicious meal and you feel sated and content.  This is transcendence.  When you are excited by a fast car journey and you feel vibrant and alive.  This is transcendence.  When you scream on a roller-coaster and feel that rush of adrenaline and wonder.  This is transcendence.

That upsurge of consciousness/energy/love/awareness/joy is your clue; each time you feel it is one small gift of transcendence.  Your job as a yogi is to learn how to stay mindful to it so that you see it when it arises and learn how to hold on to it.  The task is to recognise that it exists within you permanently and to let it radiate from you more of the time ... all of the time.  As a yogi you comprehend that each upsurge of radiance has nothing to do with the thing that caused it, rather that whatever caused it simply opened you up to the potential that is always present within you.  The potential to be more than you are, to be united with life, to radiate with a spirit that encompasses everything with love.


*Carlos Pomeda
** Swami Lakshmanjoo


  1. I realise that I love transcendence! One example that came from nowhere = I had a "moment" of it on platform 9 at Reading station (well, there was an office at the end where I used to work!!); however I was walking along the platform and had an impression of feeling "light" and at ease. Other moments have been triggered by "windows" of course. Must try to make it last and not just via the windows! V.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts