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Tantra: Its Therapeutic Aspect

Pragna R. Shah (Author)

The candidate brings out the importance of the therapeutic aspect of Tantra and makes a plea for further investigation in this “drugless theraphy” on scientific lines.

Above analysis shows how the candidate has done full justice to the topic undertaken by her. In fact such an attempt was a long-felt desideratum and the writer deserves compliments for fulfilling this gap.

Miss Shah has presented the material methodologically and scientifically. She has taken great pain in making her study scientific and illustrative by giving charts etc. Most of them are presented in prescribed colours.

Miss Pragna R. Shah has critically analysed the esoteric and therapeutic aspects of Tantra and argued that it represents an original Indian tradition. Therapeutic aspect of Tantra has been examined in great details and it deserves appreciation. The present work is based on the wide reading and through grasp of the esoteric and therapeutic aspects of Tantra. It is evident from the work that Miss Shah has sound understanding of the Tantric tradition which is very rare and as such she has made an original contribution to a very difficult subject. She has examined the different therapeutic aspects of Tantra and their fundamental assumptions are expounded and their emphasis and symbolism are fully considered. Miss Shah develops the view that ‘with the lamp of knowledge Tantra saves the Sadhaka from the darkness of nescience and with healing process it protects from physical and mental disorders.’ Further she says in her conclusion that ‘Being a symbolic representation of the elemental forces Sri Chakra also represents both macrocosm and microcosm. So it provides as a link and also as an instrument for realizing the identity between microcosm and macrocosm’. The above observation is based on deep understanding of Tantra Sadhana. The present work is articulate and lucid exposition of the theory, practice and therapeutic aspects of Tantra which is the result of the hard labour of the researcher. The research work is based on the source materials which have been used in a critical manner.

The present work has a uniqueness as it employs both the scientific and philosophical methods in analyzing some of the root concepts and symbolism of Tantra, by writing a thesis on such a difficult theme Miss Shah has fulfilled the long cherished desire of many scholars interested in understanding ‘Tantric tradition in its real perspectives.’ The present work is a rare contribution to the body of Tantric knowledge and literature.

Of all the ancient Indian philosophies, tantra, perhaps, is the most misunderstood one. But if it has come to be believed as an occult science and an amoral philosophy, the fault does not lie so much in its concept as in its misuse by immature sadhakas (disciples) who used tantra for destructive purpose discarding its constructive utility.

Tantra is the science of understanding and the technique of perfection Tantric literature that dates back to pre-Aryan times exhibits a revolutionary philosophy for the wholesome development of the human personality. It is not a vain intellectual abstraction which we see today flourishing in every branch of knowledge leading to inner conflicts and social unrest. A correct understanding, therefore, of the tantra philosophy and its method for a contented life deserves attention.

A peep into this discarded science and tradition is what Miss Pragna Shah, a student of philosophy, has done. The study made under the guidance of Prof. J.J. Shukla, a scholar of philosophy, has brought her a doctorate from Gujarat university.

In a sense tantra is an advanced form of yoga. It starts where yoga ends. The essential difference is that while the advanced form of yoga evinces an attitudes of escapism, tantra aims at leading a perfect life by using all natural instincts and endowments of man. It preaches identification of oneself with the cosmic reality, and not, death and privation. In other words, tantra is founded on harmony of the self with the world.

Tantra is a discipline not black magic as it has come to be understood. It is a way of life for perfect life. Unlike many other religious dogmas, it lays equal emphasis on body and mind. Energy is the core of life. Use of the energy judiciously results in full life and happiness and vice versa. Tantra ensures mental and physical health in two ways-the cultivation of strong will power and therapy.

The therapeutic value of tantra, that encompasses mantra and yantra, is enormous. Tantra believes all organs of the body are connected with seven chakras or centres through subtle channels or nadis. The chakras are the centre of consciousness The power required by the limbs of the body is provided by this consciousness through the nadis. This has a great resemblance to the allopathic concept of glands and the nervous system. Allopathy believes that the growth of the body and efficiency of the nervous system depends on the proper secretion of glands.

Disease also occurs due to the disturbance of the elemental forces (Panch Mahabhutas) with which the body is constituted. Meditation with mantra an certain figures of yantra or symbols gives one perfect health.

Human body is a miniature universe. The sun and moon can be located in the body. Sun is on the right side and moon on the left. Vital current flows through the pingala nadi where the sun is located and the mental current flows through the Ida nadi controlled by the moon. The flow of breathing through the Pingala and Ida nadi takes place through only one nostril. The switching over of nostrils takes place at an interval of two hours. A scripture, Swarodaya, lays down guidelines to ascertain which nostril should be working at a particular time. The working of the wrong nostril shows imbalance of force and hence illness. This can be cured by changing the pattern of breathing. Similarly, various diseases can be cured by changing the pattern of breathing. Similarly, various diseases can be cured by mudras (gestures) with the five fingers because five fingers, again, represent the five elements of which body is constituted. This also is a process of identification between microcosm and macrocosm. The mudras help to restore imbalance among the five elements.

The strict use of tantra gives the sadhakas almost supernatural power no wonder some tend to misuse it. The astonishing power of foreseeing events by yogis is believed to have been acquired through the learning of tantra. Yet it has a sound scientific base. The thrust of the tantric literature is identification of one self with the cosmic reality that alone is sufficient to make it an ideal philosophy since it places everyman on par with God.

Miss Pragna Shah is not an idle speaker. Nor has she done a four year study of the subject just for a doctorate degree. She conducts yoga classes, has acquired skill in the acupressure method and is now getting herself acquainted with all kinds of drugless therapy.

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Bibliographic information

Title Tantra: Its Therapeutic Aspect
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.1987
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Punthi Pustak
Language: English
length 190p., Colour; Illustrations