What is Tantra FAQ

  • By Dr. Subhasis Chattopadhyay
  • August 13, 2022
  • Tantra, concepts and misconceptions, explained via a simple FAQ.

Q1. What is Tantra?

A1. Tantra is decluttering one’s own life and then helping others to organize/declutter their lives. 


Q2. What is the aim of Tantra? 

A2. The aims of all branches of Hindu Tantra are to have a union with Ishwara as Shakti. The aim is clearly the same as that of Advaita Vedanta, or, non-qualified non-dualism. 


Q3. Who should follow this Marga or Path?

A3. It is recommended that someone married, free of anger and the desire for revenge, silent and a renunciate while living as a married person follow this path. It is very important for the practitioner to be chosen by the Holy Mother. A happily married person will not even think of invoking the various emanations of Adi Shakti (primeval Power) as equals but only invoke these Mothers for ensuring one’s own mukti and the mukti of others. 


Q4. Then why all over the internet, we have stories of Yakshinis killing others or, disembodied hellish beings like Vetalas and Pretas destroying others at the bidding of Tantrics?

A4. First of all, the moment anyone seeks to harm others, know that person to be doomed. If anyone in the name of Tantra wants to harm others, that person will be harmed today or tomorrow. One can harm others through the occult but not through Tantra. 


The occult and Tantra are not the same thing.


We get what we want. If we want the Divine Emanations of the Holy Mother as lovers, we are committing a perverse act, i.e. incest. A true Tantric looks at all women except his spouse, as he looks at his own mother. One’s mother can be beautiful or ugly. But a mother is a mother. It is impossible to consider one’s mother as an object of lust. The moment people invoke Yakshinis and Apsaras, they respond. But the moment one sees in them anyone but the Divine Mother, they destroy the seeker, since lust is not good. This is why, a Tantric is chosen by the Divine Mother to practise Tantra.


One cannot choose to be a Tantric. Even if one is chosen, beg the Holy Mother to not give you the siddhis ever.  Curiosity killed the cats-this is absolutely true within Tantra. The moment one seeks wealth, name, fame, and occult powers using Tantra, that is the day one ceases to be a Tantric.


Vetalas and Pretas are beings who are suffering for their past actions. They want human/intelligent births from where they can proceed to mukti. They will do anything for reducing their own suffering. They can do good and do ill too. But anyone who does not respect them (remember they too are beings, and they too seek happiness like you and I) and uses them for evil, will be destroyed eventually. These beings from hellish regions are suffering terribly and they are ancient beings; they need to be respected as souls struggling to get mukti. A Tantric requests them to help others. A quack orders them to do ill to others. Quacks are exposed today or tomorrow and even before the public can destroy them; the Mothers and these beings in torment destroy them and their families.


Q5. Who is unfit to practise Tantra?

A5. Someone who is looking for the miraculous, thinks of siddhis and is not calm. A true Tantric meditates in his own heart and is not interested in the external world. In other words, a Tantric is someone who continuously practises the presence of the Holy Mother while within family life. A Tantric is someone who is at home helping in house chores but always trying to help others through his own prayers. So, anyone who is interested in the external world, who is unwilling to pray in his heart continuously, who scares others and desires to be a Tantric is unfit for being one.


One can desire to learn Tantra shastra and sincerely pray to one’s Guru and these Divine Beings like Yakshinis and even pretas, to teach him or her the way to mukti following the path of Tantra without having any of the siddhis. It is not anyone’s birth right to be a Tantric. It is everyone’s birth right to have the knowledge of Tantra. 


There is a difference between being a Tantric and knowing about Tantra.


It is for the Holy Mother or, Adi Shakti to decide through a competent Guru whether one gets Tantric initiation and in the future practise Tantra. On the other hand, anyone can know about Tantra through the original texts and their commentaries. If one reads these original texts, now most have been translated to English, one will be rid of false beliefs about Tantra.


The Tantric path is not for most people since they more often than not, destroy themselves by seeking wealth or the knowledge of the future or, harming others through fearmongering. This lineage should be closed to most people and nothing about this lineage should be written down since the true disciple will find the true Guru when the time is right.

Q6. What are the six self-defensive actions in Tantra?

A6. There are the six actions of Tantrics which can be used only when our Dharma is existentially threatened and only when all human means have been exhausted in preserving our Dharma. They should never be used for personal grudges or, for even for the gain of a community. The initiated Tantric has to be wise enough to urge others to seek all methods of conflict resolution at the global level before using any one of the six self-defence weapons. 


The Mothers and their emanations, the Dakinis, the Shakinis and the Hakinis can then be requested to help only that much which is required for the preservation of our Dharma when without their help all will be lost. All other means include philosophical debates, diplomatic outreaches, even physical warfare should be first exhausted. Otherwise, if these Mothers are requested to help us, they will not help anyone. They will desert the Tantric for being a fool.


One cannot be wise unless there is the blessing of one’s Guru and the blessings of all these beings starting from the hellish beings to the Mothers-Yoginis, Yakshinis and Hakinis among others.  


The best is to keep away from this path unless you are chosen by your Guru and the Holy Mother.


First earn enough so that you are not greedy; best is to be married and not look at other women with lust, best is to be famous in a worldly sense so that these desires do not trouble you and then leave it at that. If the Holy Mother calls you, She will ensure you become a Tantric. At the most read the ancient Tantric texts but do not seek to be a Tantric. That way lies great danger to yourself because you will be consumed by your own desires. Invest in equities to be wealthy, do whatever it takes to be famous in a secular subject and try to improve your relationship with your spouse and be honest. Do not seek occult powers or initiation into Tantra.


Also read by author

1. How to become a Tantric

2. Being with a Tantric

3. What is Shaktipat

4. Left-hand Tantra – Vama Marga

5. TANTRA demystified Q&A


Author Subhasis Chattopadhyay has a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Calcutta. His reviews from 2010 to 2021 in Prabuddha Bharata have been showcased by Ivy League Presses. He has qualifications in Christian Theology and Hindu Studies and currently teaches English Literature in the PG and UG Department of a College affiliated to the University of Calcutta. He also has qualifications in Behavioural Sciences.

To read all articles by author


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