The Magick Path of Tantra
The Preposterous Exordium: This manuscript is not a history of Tantra, although it will dwell much on the past and also write a new history for future generations, if there will be any future generations. This manuscript is more in the nature of a perfunctory peep at a remarkable phenomenon in Mankind's progress and development. The spark of Tantra was ignited in India but was exported and burst into flame in other countries. Although Tantra had a firm spiritual basis, it was not so much a religion as a way of life. There are now many indications that several Tantrik communities existed in different parts of India, communities which shared vast areas with other Hindu communities and lived in harmony.
"Tantra" and "Tantrik", as applied to a unique way of life is a fairly modern expression and development. Tantra means a treatise, but a treatise or manuscript dealing with occult and esoteric subjects like astrology, secret medicine, numerology and spiritual expressions of sex. The words Kaula or Natha were originally used for the unique way of life or life style we now know as Tantra. This word has now established itself and appears in all modern dictionaries and literature. For this reason we will continue to use the words Tantra and Tantrik in this manuscript. Thus Tantra, as a word, still relates to the Naths and Kaulas, now become synonymous.
Tantra, as a way of life, is the golden thread which runs through all the manuscripts I have written for the Western Nath Order and the higher grade Magickal Order of AMOOKOS (Arcane Magick Order of the Knights of Shambhala) and these include the Trilogy of Twilight Yoga - Ecstasy, Equipoise and Eternity; The Magnum Opus and Esoterikos. I have frequently titled my manuscripts with Greek words as I think the Tantrik Way of Life was also expressed in the pastoral paradise of Pan though without the final attainment, but where gods mixed with man and man mixed with gods. We don't know whether the esoteric aspects of enlightenment were experienced in other nations, at other ages. Insight would indicate that it must have been so.
India was unique in proposing various methods, philosophies and theories relating to enlightenment. This Supreme Attainment, "Atma Jnan", Self Realisation, Moksha, Enlightenment was the greatest spiritual concept which emerged among humans. It is the process of development of the human spirit till it becomes one and unites with the Infinite Cosmic Spirit. To assist lesser minds, this Great Cosmic Spirit was symbolised and made more tangible as Gods and Goddesses, male and female, positive and negative, aggressive and receptive aspects. In Tantra the Lord Shiva and his Shakti Parvati dominated.
These deities also symbolised the love, tenderness affection and enduring partnership which permeated the Tantrik way of life. All this was bound up with the supposition that the spirit was constantly reborn as god, man or animal and that this rebirth process had to be brought to an end. Rebirth on the earth plane, whether as man or animal was a fate one tried to overcome. Tantriks did not claim to know much about rebirth as a god or celestial. It was only temporary and rebirth as an animal or human could still take place again and again. All three are sensory planes of pain and suffering and all relate to the material cosmos.
Tantra lore maintains that only enlightenment, attained by meditation or breath control, culminating in Self Realisation could end rebirth and bring about reunion of the Spirit with the Supreme Spirit of the Cosmos -the Purusha (Cosmic Spirit). But Tantra claims that there is another secret method by which this self realisation is attained easily. The supreme moment when the mind awakes to this realisation also can be attained at the moment (or seconds after) the attainment of a super orgasm at the termination of sexual intercourse.
The expectation is that the yogi and his shakti both attain this at approximately the same time. That is why Tantra insists on a "trained shakti" as both are entitled to enlightenment and this is hardly possible with a casual woman who may think of sexual intercourse as only sensory joy and to be extended as long as possible and who may know little of it as a medium of spiritual attainment. The relationship of a yogi with his shakti is also unique. Although they both accept a standard of sexual equality, ability and entitlement, yet still the yogi will treat, worship and think of his shakti as his goddess and a personification of the Earth Mother. Tantra develops in the three aspects of high thinking - Insight, Intuition, Imagination. By these, developed in meditation, the mind awakes to understanding and union with the Cosmic Purusha and rebirth on the Earth Dimension is no more.
Historically, there was something odd about these Tantrik Nathas and the communities in which they lived. They thought that peace, freedom and happiness were the rational aim of human life. Undoubtedly, the supreme orgasm which exploded into the "awakening" was their ultimate aim and ideal but many were not ready for this yet. So it was quite in order and practical that the human ideals of peace, freedom and happiness were turned into reality and enthusiastically maintained. These ideals were symbolised by Gods and Goddesses. In time their way of life became a tradition which others followed. A tradition must be more than mumbled prayers or prayer flags fluttering in the breeze; it must have substance, reality and strength and become an integral part of our life style.
A disciple asked, "Dadaji, is it better to be reborn as a woman or as a man?" Dadaji answered, "It is better not to be reborn at all."
The Tantrik Nath or Kaula way of life is based on the profound knowledge that men and women are not machines, animals or robots. They are not pawns in a cosmic game nor must they accept the face value of the cards dealt out by the "Dealer". For most, the general program of their lives is a routine they must accept and most of it is easily predictable. Too many people are resigned to this and when some event bursts in their face or shatters the roundabout routine, very few are prepared to manipulate the event or have the thinking ability to control it. As the routine, and life in general, becomes more complicated, the "Think Power" diminishes. They become, more and more, one of the crowd and willing to be carried on the wavecrests of convention and corruption. They become the people who vote in haste and repent at leisure. The future well being and welfare of human society is much in our own hands on both material and spiritual levels.
Second only to the supreme orgasm, Tantriks and Nathas learned the power to develop their way of life. Traditions and custom were useful guidelines but a spiritual way of life, its magick, mantras and fantastique patterns must be realised in the mind and created from practical thinking. The Naths did not have to hunt through old manuscripts or turn the pages of ancient volumes to find new methods or formulae for their magick and to make life more delightful, or give them the power to work wonders. They knew that by simple meditation, breath regulation and a relaxed attitude to the world, they could create and formulate their own mantras and powerful vibrations to transform the sordid into the most beautiful.
They energised the will and made things happen. They made madness a spiritual observance and insanity an escape syndrome. They knew that life was an enigma and that divine grace could often be grotesque and dangerous. The most reliable method was for mankind to solve their own problems and set out their own practical way and lifestyle. A Tantrik is not dedicated to serve God or religion. The only goal is to attain enlightenment. Enlightenment is an expression of divine equality.
Most of the older Kaula Tantras were composed in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and his Shakti. As we are dealing with a period when all texts were hand-written on palm leaves, we must realise that we are also probing a period when interpolation or alteration of the original text was a routine procedure. Fortunately, the Nath Tantriks value the development of the three super-psychic faculties of insight, intuition and imagination and can determine errors and incongruities with astonishing rapidity.
These three super faculties or master powers also enable them to create their own texts, mantras, rituals etc. and all having utility and being in harmony with Cosmic law. The faculties of insight, intuition and imagination are the building blocks on which we build our occult world and magick way of life.
The Tantra or Nath way of life can best be described as a state of mind. In no way can it be mistaken for an agglomeration of rules, morals and prohibitions. It assumes that human beings can and want to live without them. Even when it advises you to do or not to do something, it is not a rule but a guide-line to spare you trouble and pain. But you are still free to do and think as you wish. Of course our way of life has many physical aspects but our minds still determine the success or the pleasure from an act. Our life should have plan and purpose since most people blunder their way through life and generate misery for themselves and for others too. Our aims in life are to enjoy peace, freedom and happiness in this life but also to avoid rebirth on to this Earth plane. All this depends not on divine benevolence but on the way we ourselves think and act.
Metamorphosis of a Nath-TantrikThe personal attitude, determination and outlook of a man or woman can bring about their successful transformation from a mundane clot or rat-racer into a magician. A magician, in the sense in which I use the word, is one whose life and living is not occasioned by the exterior world and environment but one who is able to manipulate the world and to live a life of peace, freedom and happiness.
While I have a tendency to shun autobiographical notes, there are occasions when they may serve as guide-lines to others who want to experience the explosive awakening into our spiritual reality.
The Nath-Tantra-Kaula way of life is a state of mind and only positive, powerful "think" can guide us to success.
I have communicated to the Western Nath Order and AMOOKOS my experiences in self-realisation and included essential, practical know-how about meditation and vital mental attitudes in earlier manuscripts. I have not, as yet, revealed my personal experience of Tantra and enlightenment by orgasm. The experience was not planned but developed as part of my meditative hermit's life.
It came about this wise. I long looked for a small town where the traditional "peace of mind" was a part of the environment. I was living with a Brahmin family in Ahmedabad, the Garden of Ahmed, who set himself as Raja of the city. Ahmedabad became, until recent times, the capital of Gujarat. Raja Ahmed had a young brother Mehmad, to whom he gave a small kingdom of which Mehmadabad was the capital. Mehmad built his palace by the Vatrak river which flows by Mehmadabad.
A group of disciples took me from Ahmedabad and put me in a hut by that same Vatrak river. Mehmad was unique. He was outwardly a Muslim but was well known as a sincere devotee of the Goddess Maha Kali. When he was a baby, his mother practised the art of Mithradatism on him and gave him small but increasing doses of poison to give him immunity against the action of any intending poisoner. In those days a flask of wine or a plate of food could sometimes be your last. The name is taken from Mithradates VI ("The Great") King of Pontus, (120-63 B.C.) who developed immunity to poisoning by taking gradually increasing doses.
The Kings Ahmed and Mehmad, in order to move troops to assist each other if their towns were besieged, built an underground road between Ahmedabad and Mehmadabad which must have been a great triumph of engineering in its time. The road still exists but both ends have been closed. Hindus and Muslims as well as other minor religions have all lived in peace and tranquillity and no conflicts or race riots have been known in this town. Mehmadabad has been my home for fifteen years.
One Sunday, a Parsee disciple brought a taxi load of Western people to my little hut by the river. The distance by road is only 30Km. and it is surprising the number of people they get in an Indian taxi. They had come to Ahmedabad to take a course of training for people working in nursery schools. They all invited me to visit them the following weekend. The visit took place and was very eventful. Many of them, mostly the ladies, asked me to give them a Sanskrit name. One of them asked me to sleep in a spare room, next to her own. I gave her the name Shakti Devi. Some complicated plan was developing and Shakti made a bed for me in the room next to her. Unfortunately a clash matured. Shakti woke in the night and found my bed empty. She found me in bed with another girl. Fortunately Shakti was a clever girl. She took a holiday from the course and stayed with me in the hut for a couple of weeks. I still did not relate Shakti to my Tantrik way of life.
Future events confirmed the expectation. Shakti dropped out of the course at Ahmedabad and returned to America. Many months passed in silence. Quite unexpectedly, a letter arrived bearing the postmark of the Virgin Islands in the West Indies. I pondered a while because I could think of nobody I knew who would be qualified to live in a place of that name. When I opened it I saw it was from Shakti Devi. She was working in a hotel as a barmaid but was very unhappy. Could she come to Mehmadabad and live with me in the Kutir by the river. She had enough money to support herself and an answer by return was imperative. I replied, "Come at once or even sooner." Shakti came and the curtain arose on a new drama.
Great pearls of Tantra and Joy everlasting
Gentle the art of the Magick Connection
Glean from the Cosmos the supreme selection.
A leap into the CosmosI will be ever grateful to Shakti for stimulating my second great experiment in attaining realisation or enlightenment. My first experiment was made after World War II. I volunteered for -service as soon as was declared. I served in the R.A.M.C. as a physiotherapist and occupational therapist. Due to the grotesque and bizarre paradoxes of the British Army I only held the rank of Corporal and unpaid and acting Sergeant. I was recommended for a commission five times but as I had earlier fought in Spain with the International brigade I was suspected of political associations which I did not hold. If you criticised blunders and muddle you would be classified as a dangerous agitator. I took the opportunity to investigate the occult world and practise some spasmodic meditation, several times in the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx Temple at Gizeh as well as at many other ancient locations in the Western Desert and Italy.
After the war I had the use of a small field at High Beech, on the edge of Epping Forest. I lived in a tent for three years. Near this field, on a vast tract of land owned by the Salvation Army, I noticed a small memorial. I climbed the locked gate and read the inscription. It marked the spot where Queen Boadicea took poison after her defeat by the Roman troops. She knew that if captured alive she would be taken to Rome to suffer the indignity of being sold and of serving as a slave. What a woman! Walking a path without guidance and one about which I had no previous experience, I assumed that realisation would take place during one of my meditation sessions. It was not to be.
As I had to attend to some mundane chores I returned to my small flat for the week-end. I took a hot bath, then went to the lounge, put on the gramophone and went back to the bathroom to collect a few oddments. It was a self contained flat so I was wearing no clothes. It was time for the freak-out. As I returned to the lounge and was crossing the carpet in the centre of the room, everything seemed to vanish and I was floating above the houses. Before me there was a vast dense cloud. As I looked at it, it seemed to evaporate and to reveal a giant image of Shiva made of ice or some transparent material. I looked down to see the dark grey slate roofs of the houses, only to find myself suddenly standing on the carpet in the middle of my lounge. I felt I knew everything but most of all, I knew I had to go to India. There was to be some delay. I went to Australia to enjoy their delightful climate and to save some money I went on a population expansion scheme which required one to pay only £10 for the trip. After this delay I did not arrive in Bombay until Guru Purnima, Sunday 14th. of July 1953.
Shakti solved a great problem. I installed her as my goddess in my hut by the Vatrak river in Mehmadabad. I had already found this location, unique among all the places in India. I mused many times on the people in foreign lands who craved peace of mind and the place in which they could attain it. Mehmadabad was such a place and I had found it. I talked to Shakti about the Nath-Tantra trip but Shakti's interest was only in sex and not the trimmings. She had overstated her financial position and had only one thousand rupees when she arrived. Six hundred of these rupees she spent in the first few days on coloured photographs.
I manipulated her visit to a Cosmic event. I would have liked to share this with Shakti but our objectives moved in two different directions. In a bid to try for the supreme orgasm of ecstasy I had to ration my own sexual expression without starving Shakti. It was easier than I had anticipated. At twilight on the third day Shakti received my oblation and I expanded into the Cosmos. My feeling and awareness were identical to the occasion when I had attained Atma Jnan in London. Shakti's visa was now running out and she had an urge to return to the USA. A disciple took her to Bombay and the Airport and an interesting and delightful frolic came to an end. Shakti's visit was just another trip but I had gained a treasure I would keep and enjoy for ever.
The way of life of Tantra is constructed with a mind boggling uniqueness which is flavoured with the divine and miraculous. Sex is a normal activity among humans and is essential to good health. But Tantra does not advocate promiscuity, homosexuality or lesbianism. Tantra is based on natural sexual enjoyment between men and women. If this is not easily available, men and women release their pent-up sex energy by masturbation. (auto eroticism) Although Tantra has based the supreme orgasm of ecstasy on the He and She business, experiment might yet prove some aspects or degrees of enlightenment can be attained by auto eroticism.
After all, even though Tantra bases enlightenment on the orgasm attained in bisexual union, we must not overlook the fact that the goal is essentially a mind process and transformation and other things are only incidental in relation to how much the mind has developed. Nath/Tantriks are people of sound common sense and do not have to be told of the dangers of promiscuity and the diseases which might be contracted through casual sex partners.
Meditation, breath regulation, relaxed sitting are part of an Indian science known as Yoga, a Sanskrit word meaning union in the sense that it can unite the soul or spirit with God. God in the Indian meaning of the Cosmic Soul or Cosmic Spirit from which the human spirit originally came and to which it must eventually return. Delay to this return is caused by the spirit being reborn on the Earth plane again and again.
The Nath/Tantrik way of life is permeated with gems of wisdom. These are intended to prepare the mind to escape from rebirth on any sensory plane. This is the magnum opus of enlightenment. This enlightenment or atma jnan can also be realised in several stages in so much as it is seldom completely attained at one event or experience. Tantra can be described as an amoral life style. The things we do or accept in its unique pattern are not moral or immoral. This, in turn, requires a neutrality in the thinking process which is beyond discrimination. In modern society sex has become obscenity, something to be hidden, but even though, to be exploited as some subversive activity.
Young people are less guilty of this than adults. It is now a far cry from the clean and natural way of life that Mother Nature must have intended. In Spiritual Yoga a simple natural life and even nakedness have always been the ideal to pave the way to realisation. The teachers of great religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism lived this so simple life and went naked. Their names are many but we can quote a few such as Rishabha, Sukhdev, Jadabharata, Dattatreya, Gautama the Buddha, Mahavir and a host of others.
Although Jains in modern India seldom appear in public completely naked, it is maintained by both sects of Jains - the Digambar and Swetambar - that nudity is still essential to obtain enlightenment. Now the new "moral outlook" and modernisation have weakened religious and spiritual life so the real sages and yogis have vanished also. Sex abnegation was a development of the Vedic doctrines. We find no such teaching in the ancient patterns of spirituality. But Nathas and Tantriks must always remember that a superior way of life is not restricted or determined by any current social patterns or moral superstitions.
Sunset and SilenceIt is rare to see a sadhu run. I had been spending several hours in the smashan near Ganganath Temple and was returning to the market. Suddenly I noticed a sadhu running towards me. As he came up to me he asked "Dadaji Mahendranath?". "Yes", I replied, "and what is your hurry?" "I have been looking for you all over Mehmadabad", he said. We returned to the temple and sat down. "I have some news from Calcutta. Pagala Baba is dead. I saw him before he died and he told me to go to Gujarat and tell you that he was giving up the body. He wanted you to know but it has taken more than a month to find you as he thought you might be living in Ahmedabad".
It was a touching moment for me to hear that Pagala Baba had thought of me in his last moments. I felt indebted to the sadhu for the part he had played in this sad drama but when he spoke again he only created a confusing situation. "Dadaji", he said, "I want the initiation into the Uttara Kaulas. Please grant this to me". I remained silent. The passing of Pagala Baba had created a unique situation. It now meant that although I was an Englishman by birth, I was now the only sadhu holding authentic initiation and guru status as a Tantrik or Kaula in the whole of India.
Later, in 1977, I was made to realise I was the only living paramahamsa in India also. The ancient spiritual pattern was now dead and the bright galaxy of yogis and saints had passed away, perhaps for ever. This I tried to compensate in the following year by founding the International Nath Order. Much information and religion is still to be found in books but the intimate know-how and guru instruction may be tactfully presented to the world in a few English manuscripts. This work has been done and is completed and so I now rest content.
I had to explain to the sadhu two obstacles preventing me giving him Tantrik diksha. The first obstacle, which could not be overcome, was that I could not give diksha in the Uttara Kaulas to one who had been refused this diksha by my guru. Secondly, I had decided not to initiate anyone of Indian origin into the Uttara Kaula or the Adi Nath Sampradayas. As sanyasi or sadhu there was the danger that after I had entered Mahasamadhi and was unable to deny, that someone might claim that they had been given sannyas diksha and claim authority as a guru by succession. I wanted the International Nath order to have gurus and leaders who were in office by assent or election. The modern age demands this. The sadhu who brought me the message was not a great problem. I took him to Shambhala Tapovan and we took a good meal and I gave him a few rupees for travel as he wished to return to the Ganges area where he knew so many people.
Circumstances in India and the world have periodically forced me to confess that I am an Englishman by birth and have a British passport. This has not always been pleasant as I have always regarded the British as a backward race. I have, in fact, always though of myself as a cosmopolitan and not limited by any ideas and not part of the social, political or intellectual world. The world is my city; the cosmos my land. The word cosmopolitan was first used by Diogenes, the naked Greek Cynic philosopher about 400 B.C. When will the human race grow up to recognise that there are many people who are not nationalists and want to be free of labels and locations? Why, in this modern day and age is it expected that all humans should grow up and conform to the patterns and ideas of the country and zone into which they are born? We are really still a long way from being a civilised and advanced culture.
India is more advanced in its social patterns than most western nations. If life gets too heavy it is perfectly legal to commit suicide and if you fail in the attempt, there are no legal repercussions. Any woman, married or single, can have an abortion anytime, anywhere, and the service is free. If there is confusion in India, it is only because the old conflicts with the new and conflicting interests are too numerous. Tantra has now reached bottom and is popularly regarded as promiscuity or porno. The word Tantrik appears frequently in the popular press, but always to indicate some sadhu who is up to magick tricks for money or is a blatant scoundrel.
Authentic sadhus now avoid the word as much as possible. In the press we hear from time to time of some remarkable religious enthusiasm, shades of a more barbaric day, leading to police action. Sati, the burning of young wives on the funeral pyres of their husbands has been illegal since British times. It is still practised by fanatical in-laws and many cases have been brought to light but many are unknown as the police lack evidence to prosecute because few people will speak up or give evidence. Human sacrifice is thought to belong to a bygone age but this is far from true.
A pious mother-in-law was recently convicted of bride-burning. Even the court was shocked and the Judge ordered that the murderess be hanged in public at Jaipur. It was thought that the public execution would be a warning to others not to play the same horrible game. Alas, the then Chief Justice cancelled the order on the grounds that it was barbaric. Many people questioned which was more barbaric: the burning, alive, of an innocent girl or the hanging of a murderess in public.
Let the Indian press tell of new adventures in barbarism. Times of India editorial 3.12.87 tells us: Last Monday in Panchi Village under Kharkauda Police Station, near Meerut, a seven year old boy was beheaded by his father to propitiate Kali in order to be blessed with lots of land and money and a big car. The child was pinned down by his mother as he bent to touch her feet at her bidding. The father hacked off his head, dipping his finger in the warm blood and anointing his wife. The severed head was placed before a picture of the Goddess. On Dussehra day in 1987, a fifteen month old child was kidnapped in West Delhi's Prem Naga. The girl's body was smeared with ashes and a corrosive fluid provided by a sorcerer. The child was then drowned in a water tank. On August 19, 1987 in Annakaran in Palghat district of Kerala, a schoolteacher cut off the head of his one year old son and drank the hot blood of the child. In April 1987 in Virli Village near Amgaon a couple gouged out the eyes of their son and inserted an iron pipe in his throat to appease the gods. In March 1987 a six year old girl was reported to have been sacrificed to propitiate a deity in Baisair Village. End of Press quote.
One of the unique features of India is the Tilak, the red mark used to denote that one belongs to the Hindu community. Although it is used by all women it is used by men also. Its ancient origin is amusing. In the long distant past, when a girl had her first monthly period she became an adult and the parents wanted to get her married as soon as possible. Propaganda was used in various forms to let the local bachelors know that it was now time to speak up and pop the question. This method was not favoured among the young girls and most were shy and embarrassed by a man going around the town beating a drum and shouting "Gulub is having a bloody time". Prayers to Vishwakarma solved the problem. Taking a rest from constructing large galaxies, suns and planets, he found time to visit India. At constructing a better situation he proved ideal. He promulgated a new rule that when the girls had their first Luna blood, the mother should put her finger in the right place and then use the blood to mark a spot or streak between the eyes on the forehead. Thus marked, the girls were proud to walk round the town and no words need be spoken.
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1995. Translations are © Mike Magee 1995. Questions or comments to [email protected]Home Page