Where Does Tantra Come From?

Tantric and yogic practices began in the Sarasvati-Indus river civilization. Like its commingled sister civilizations, the Sumerian's and the Egyptians, the Harappan of the Indus* River were a Mother goddess based culture. In Egypt the goddess was Hathor, in Sumer she was Inanna and in the Indus Valley she was the inspiration for the Hindu goddesses. Excavations and artifacts from several thousand sites, reflect an artistic, sex positive, peaceful people with a refined aesthetic sensibility. Goddess figurines are so numerous that it is now thought that each household would have had one. The goddess concept was universal at this time, this is reflected in the artifacts depicting phallus, yoni(vagina) and goddess worship and even in the languages. In Sumerian, buru means both vagina and river, The Egyptian word bi means vagina and gallery of a mine.The Indus River Valley was the home of an elaborate and highly developed civilization and Harappan culture spread over an area the size of western Europe.

During the second millennium BC, Indus-River cities were virtually destroyed by environmental collapse, making what remained of this culture vulnerable to an Indo-European/Aryan migration, invasion, or, if the Aryan were indigenous, rise in power, . Aryans as indigenous, migratory or conquering is a hot political issue, with compelling arguments on all sides.*** The culture of Indo-Europeans/Aryans was fiercely patriarchal and had excelled at weapons and chariots. With a cranky storm god at the top, what else can we expect

Blending of the native goddess based, Dravidian spiritual/cultural system and Indo-European /Aryan storm god, warrior system would in time produce Hinduism. Gradually the divine mother goddess was married off to the new 'god', and women, once considered the embodiment of the divine, were removed from sacred ritual as priestess and replaced with Priests.
The goddess did survive and traces of her can be found in every corner of the earth. But she found a home in India like no other, here she was allowed to manifest in a myriad of spectacular plays and fantastic guises. India has preserved the remains of the great goddess cultures, to this day, the mother goddess was and is loved and honored in India, but she was and is no longer equal in spiritual power to what she seems to have once been, and women the world over, reflect this. Hinduisms is a rich tapestry of beliefs and allows worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Rama or Krishna, the 'Supreme Spirit' or the 'Indestructible Soul' or any gods/goddesses and still be called a Hindu. And every god has his consort or female counterpart.
But the cornerstone, what is most fundamental to Hinduism, is the trinity of gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - creator, preserver and destroyer respectively.

With the creation of the caste system, the Dravidian's held the lower classes and the Indo-Aryan's
became 'Priests'. This Priestly, ritual and law making class, would later be known as Brahmin,
after the new god on the block, 'Brahma",

Tantric practices continued and grew in secret, running parallel to the development the Vedas (The Vedas are the ancient, mystical source of Indian spiritual and cultural heritage). These powerful, at times erotic, tantric practices also were absorbed into branches of Hinduism some of these systems, including Buddhism and Hinduism itself, would adopt the tantric, nature practices, of seeing the body as a divine instrument, a living yantra, and sex as the ultimate yoga, but often reserved tantric practices for themselves and kept them hidden and not always available to the laymen. Elaborate rules and almost exclusively, 'father' like lineage's, sometimes celibate , came to dominate tantra, practicing tantra without the 'father' figure was frequently condemned by the earlier, self appointed 'Priests', just as today. And just as today, individual and small, but wild and daring groups of tantrics determined to practice with or without permission, can be found throughout the world.

A right hand path or white tantra, of 'sex' as symbol of the divine union, and the left hand or red tantra, of sex as sacrament, emerged. Some tantric systems admit both as part of a progression.

Authentic tantra teachers are available, and like all teachers they come in many flavors and levels of experience, wisdom and expertise.
Modern Tantra if it is authentic, may requires as much preparation, ritual, practice and devotion as tantra in its homeland, it just depends on the teacher.

Tantra is not for everyone

For all the troopers that have read this far, I send you a cosmic kiss ;)

*Alexander the great is credited with the label 'hindu', the name he gave the peoples living along the Indus River.

An oral/aural tradition, songs, known as the Vedas, carried the knowledge and ever expanding rituals and elaborate practices of sacrifice or yana, of this emerging culture.

***The Latest on the Indo-Aryan Issue from Wikipedia:
"....The spread of the Indo-European languages is associated with Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a1, which is identified with genetic marker M17. The Genographic Project conducted by the National Geographic Society states that M17 arose "in the region of present-day Ukraine or southern Russia.". Geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells states that "The Aryans came from outside India. We actually have genetic evidence for that. Very clear genetic evidence from a marker that arose on the southern steppes of Russia and the Ukraine around 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. And it subsequently spread to the east and south through Central Asia reaching India." M17 "shows that there was a massive genetic influx into India from the steppes within the past 10,000 years" and "Taken with the archaeological data, we can say that the old hypothesis of an invasion of people – not merely their language – from the steppe appears to be true...."

Mallory, J.P. (1989), In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth, London: Thames & Hudson
...."the culture represented in the earliest Vedic hymns bears little similarity to that of the urban society found at Harappa or Mohenjo-daro. It is illiterate, non-urban, non-maritime, basically uninterested in exchange other than that involving cattle, and lacking in any forms of political complexity beyond that of a king whose primary function seems to be concerned with warfare and ritual."

image: Indus River Seal depicting an advanced yogic pose.

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