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Tantras
Tantras
("Looms" or "Weavings") refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu
Hindu
and Buddhist
Buddhist
philosophy. The religious culture of the Tantras
Tantras
is essentially Hindu, and Buddhist
Buddhist
Tantric material can be shown to have been derived from Hindu
Hindu
sources.[1] And although Hindu
Hindu
and Buddhist Tantra
Tantra
have many similarities from the outside, they do have some clear distinctions.[2] The rest of this article deals with Hindu Tantra. Buddhist
Buddhist
Tantra
Tantra
is described in the article on Vajrayana.

Contents

1 Classes of Hindu
Hindu
Tantra 2 Revelation 3 Origin 4 Function 5 Texts

5.1 Translations

6 Notes 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading

Classes of Hindu
Hindu
Tantra[edit] The word tantra is made up by the joining (sandhi in Sanskrit) of two Sanskrit
Sanskrit
words: tanoti (expansion) and rayati (liberation). Tantra means liberation of energy and expansion of consciousness from its gross form.[citation needed] It is a method to expand the mind and liberate the dormant potential energy, and its principles form the basis of all yogic practices. Hence, the Hindu
Hindu
Tantra
Tantra
scriptures refer to techniques for achieving a result. The Hindu
Hindu
Tantras
Tantras
total ninety-two scriptures; of these, sixty-four[3] are purely Abheda (literally "without differentiation", or monistic), known as the Bhairava
Bhairava
Tantras
Tantras
or Kashmir Śaivite Tantras, eighteen are Bhedābheda (literally "with differentiation and without differentiation" monistic or dualistic), known as the Rudra
Rudra
Tantras), and ten are completely Bheda (literally "differentiated" or dualistic), known as the Śiva
Śiva
Tantras. The latter two ( Rudra
Rudra
Tantras and Śiva
Śiva
Tantras) are used by the Śaiva
Śaiva
Siddhāntins, and thus are sometimes referred to as Shaiva Siddhanta
Shaiva Siddhanta
Tantras, or Śaiva Siddhānta Āgamas. Tantra
Tantra
is exploring and identifying the hidden part in human personality—the feminine qualities in men and masculine qualities in women, for example—and helps to maintain the balance: helps humans to grow in spirituality and cosmic connection (See Bairavas 64, yoginis 64, Tantras
Tantras
64, dancing gestures in Bharatha Natyam 64karanas and Tatvas in our human body are 64, DNA molecules.[4]) Revelation[edit] Hindus consider the tantras not to be a part of the divine scriptures, the Veda
Veda
and are therefore smrti, imparted by Śiva
Śiva
(Śiva) in the form of Svacchandanath, who created each tantra as a combination of his five universal energies, or shakti: cit śakti (energy of all-consciousness), ānanda śakti (energy of all-bliss), īccha śakti (energy of all-will), jñāna śakti (energy of all-knowledge), kriya śakti (energy of all-action). The Tantrika Parampara, or 'Tantric tradition' may be considered parallel or intertwined with the Vaidika Parampara or 'Vedic tradition'. It is said that Svacchandanath illuminated the universe, beginning the Sat Yuga, or 'golden age', by revealing these tantras. Through the ages, as the mahasiddha or 'great masters' of the tantras hid themselves to escape the touch of the increasingly worldly people, these teachings were lost during the Kali Yuga or 'degenerate age'. As a part of Śiva's grace, Śiva
Śiva
took the form Śrikanthanatha at Mount Kailaṣ
Mount Kailaṣ
and revealed the ninety-two Hindu
Hindu
tantras to Durvasa
Durvasa
and then disappeared into the Ākaśa or ether.[citation needed] Origin[edit] In the Nāth Tradition, legend ascribes the origin of Tantra
Tantra
to Dattatreya, a semi-mythological yogi and the assumed author of the Jivanmukta Gita ("Song of the liberated soul"). Matsyendranath
Matsyendranath
is credited with authorship of the Kaulajñāna-nirnāya, a voluminous ninth-century tantra dealing with a host of mystical and magical subjects. This work occupies an important position in the Hindu tantric lineage, as well as in Tibetan Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism. Function[edit] In contradistinction to the Vaidik ritual, which is traditionally performed out-of-doors without any idols nor emblems, the Tantrik ritual is largely a matter of temples and idols. The Tantras
Tantras
are largely descriptions and specifications for the construction and maintenance of temple-structures together with their enclosed idols and lingas—an example of type of text is the Ajita Māhātantra.[5] Another function was the conservation as state-secrets of texts for use by royalty to maintain their authority through rituals directed to deities controlling the political affairs-of-state—an example of this is the Śārada-tilaka Tantra.[6] Texts[edit] Tantric texts are usually associated with a particular tradition and deity. The different types of Tantric literature are tantra, Āgama, saṃhitā, sūtra, upaniṣad, purāṇa, tīkā (commentaries), prakaraṇa, paddhati texts, stotram, kavaca, nighaṇṭu, koṣa and hagiographical literature. They are written in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and in regional languages. The major textual Tantra
Tantra
traditions with some key exemplary texts is as follows:[7]

A Hindu
Hindu
Tantric Painting. India, Pahari, circa 1780-1800. Depicting from top to bottom: Shiva, Sakti, Vishnu on his conch with Brahma sprouting from his navel and Lakshmi, Harihara, four-headed Brahma, and the Trimurti below, painted against a gold ground forming the stylized seed syllable Ohm.

Śaiva
Śaiva
– Sadaśiva (Śivagama), Vāma or Tumburu, Dakṣiṇa or Bhairava

Kularnava Tantra Amṛteṣaṭantra or Netratantra Netragyanarṇava tantra Niḥśvāsatattvasaṃhitā Kālottārā tantra Sarvajñānottārā Ṣaivāgamas Raudrāgamas Bhairavāgamas Vāma Āgamas Dakṣiṇāgamas

Śivaśakti traditions – Yāmala (also part of Bhairava
Bhairava
tradition)

Brahma yāmala Rudra
Rudra
yāmala Skanda yāmala Viṣṇu yāmala Yama yāmala Yāyu yāmala Kubera yāmala Indra yāmala

A Tantric Form of the Hindu
Hindu
Goddess Kali, Folio from a Book of Iconography, Nepal, 17th century

Śākta
Śākta
Kālī
Kālī
traditions (Kālī, Kālī
Kālī
Viṣṇu, Kāmākhyā, Tārā
Tārā
and Others), Śrīkula tradition

Shakta Agamas Muṇḍamālātantra Toḍalatantra Cāmuṇḍatantra Devīyāmala Mādhavakula Yonigahavara, Kālīkulārṇava tantra Kaṇkālamālinī tantra Jhaṃkārakaravīra, Mahākālasaṃhitā Kālī
Kālī
tantra Kālajñāna tantra Kumārī tantra Toḍala tantra Siddhalaharī tantra Niruttārā tantra Kālīvilāsa tantra Utpatti tantra Kāmadhenu tantra Nirvāṇa tantra Kāmākhyā tantra Yoginī tantra Tārā
Tārā
tantra Kaula
Kaula
tantra Matsya Sūkta / Tārā
Tārā
Kalpa Samayā tantra Vāmakeshvara tantra Tantrajā tantra

Kula - Kulamārga
Kulamārga
and Other tantras

Kulārṇava tantra Mahānirvāṇa tantra Kulacūḍāmaṇitantra Kulārṇavatantra Guptasādhanatantra Mātṛkābhedatantra.

Vaiṣṇava
Vaiṣṇava
– Vaikhanasas, Pancharatra, bhakti-oriented tantras of Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa
and Rāma

Pāñcarātra saṃhitā texts Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā Jayākhya saṃhitā Pārameśvara saṃhitā Pauśkara saṃhitā Pādma saṃhitā Nāradīya saṃhitā Haṃsaparameśvara saṃhitā Vaihāyasa saṃhitā Śrīkālapraā saṃhitā Vaikhānasa Āgamas Gautamīya tantra Bṛhadbrahmasaṃhitā Māheśvaratantra Sātvatatantra Rādhātantra Agastyasaṃhitā and Dāśarathīyatantra Īśānasaṃhitā and Ūrdhvāṃnāyasaṃhitā

Mantra-śāstra - textbooks on Mantras, metaphysics of mantric sound, related practices and rituals

Prapañcasāra tantra and its commentaries and Ṭīkās Śāradatilaka tantra by Lakṣmaṇa Deśikendra Mantramuktāvali of Paramahaṃsa Pūrṇaprakāśa Mantramahodadhi of Mahīdhara Mantradevaprakāśikā of Viṣṇudeva Mantrakamalākara of Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa Mantraratnākara of Yadunātha Cakravartin Mantramahārṇava of Mādhava Rāya Vaidya Tantrasāra of Kṛṣṇānanda āgamvāgiśa

Nibandha - handbooks on ritual worship, sadhana and puja

Kriyākalpataru of śaktinātha Kalyānakara Kaulāvalīnirṇaya of Jñānānandagiri Paramahaṃsa śāktanandataraṃgiṇī of Brahmānanda Giri śāktakrama of Pūrṇānanda śrītattvacintāmaṇi of Pūrṇānanda āgamakalpadruma of Govinda āgamakalpalatikā of Yadunātha āgamatattvavilāsa of Raghunātha Tarkavāgīśa, and āgamachandrikā of Rāmakṛṣṇa Tantrachintāmaṇi of Navamīsiṃha Prāṇatoṣiṇī of Rāmatoṣaṇa Vidyālaṃkāra Śhivarahasya Śaivakalpadruma

Saura Tantras

Ganapatya
Ganapatya
Tantras

Others – supernatural, chemistry, astrology, alchemy, etc.,

Translations[edit] Most Hindu
Hindu
Tantras
Tantras
remain untranslated. One widely translated exception is the Vijñāna Bhairava
Bhairava
Tantra, which according to Christopher Wallis, is atypical of most Tantric scriptures.[8] Sir John Woodroffe
Sir John Woodroffe
translated the Tantra
Tantra
of the Great Liberation (Mahānirvāna Tantra) (1913) into English along with other Tantric texts. Other tantras which have been translated into a Western language include the Malini-vijayottara tantra, the Kirana tantra, and the Parakhya Tantra.[9] Notes[edit]

^ Flood, Gavin. D. 1996. An Introduction to Hinduism. P. 158 ^ Smith, Travis. Tantra
Tantra
in Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Brill. pp. 168–181. ISBN 978 90 04 17893 9.  ^ http://www.64tantras.com/64thantra.php ^ http://www.64tantras.com/index.php ^ Ajita_Mahatantra 1–18 Ajita_Mahatantra,_19-35 Ajita_Mahatantra,_36-66 Ajita_Mahatantra,_67-89 ^ S%60arada-tilaka_Tantra,_1 S%60arada-tilaka_Tantra,_2 S%60arada-tilaka_Tantra,_3-5 ^ Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay; Demystifying Tantra-III: Śaiva
Śaiva
and Vaiṣṇava
Vaiṣṇava
Tantras, http://indiafacts.org/demystifying-tantra-saiva-vai%E1%B9%A3%E1%B9%87ava-tantras/ ^ Wallis, Christopher; Tantra
Tantra
Illuminated ^ Wallis, Christopher; Tantra
Tantra
Illuminated

See also[edit]

Kashmir Śaivism Tantra History of Shaktism

References[edit]

Lakshmanjoo, Swami. Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme. ISBN 1-58721-505-5 Dhallapiccola, Anna. Dictionary of Hindu
Hindu
Lore and Legend. ISBN 0-500-51088-1 Walker, Benjamin (1983). Tantrism: Its Secret Principles and Practices. Borgo Press. ISBN 0-85030-272-2 [1]

Further reading[edit]

Bagchi, P.C. (1986). Kaulajnana-nirnaya of the School of Matsyendranath
Matsyendranath
Varanasi: Prachya Prakashan. Magee, Michael (trans.).  Woodroffe, John. Mahanirvana Tantra
Tantra
( Tantra
Tantra
of the Great Liberation). Retrieved

.