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Special Articles on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 3 ~
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Realization of Supreme through the Vedic Karma and Thanthra Rituals
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Chapter - 6
Rituals and Prayers to obtain Spirituality
HR 322 - 06
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Lesson 06.03:
Thanthra Shastra as Alternate form of Ritual Practice
For Next Lesson
Please See Below
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Thanthra Shastra, an ancient and powerful science with its unique rituals and beliefs, fell victim to the ravages of time and faded out from most parts of India. It was often looked upon as an extension of black magic. Thanthra worships Shakti (emphasizes female power) and emphasizes the identity of the absolute and the phenomenal world, which can be realized through a set of practices.

Thanthra has a unique tradition of guru-shishya (teacher and student) relationship. Here, a strong bond and good understanding between the teacher and the taught is imperative for attaining knowledge. Initiation into mantra is its principle tool, which is practiced by the acolyte under his guru's strict surveillance. The guru gives the student some mantras. These mantras evoke immense power through repeated chanting, sensitizing the body.

Thanthra is said to be older than the Vedas as far as the written texts are concerned. Here everything has to be practiced and performed to cater to the need of a man, group and society in order to lead them to salvation, the ultimate aim of Thanthra Shastra. Thanthra is not restricted to the priestly class. The Thanthra School welcomes anybody who is interested in the science, irrespective of class, creed or sex. Women can also learn Thanthra, though none have yet come forward to join the school. In fact, women are given prominence in Thanthra. Thanthra is also practiced in some temples of North India such as Kamakhya temple in Assam, Jagannath temple in Puri and Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. But people are scared to learn Thanthra due to various misconceptions.

Thanthra is often mistaken for Black Magic cult in many parts of India and it is explained as a sexual ritual and fertility cult in many Western literatures. Both these aspects are not true to real Thanthra practice. Thanthra does not believe in the hierarchy of gods; i.e., one god is supreme and all the others are inferior to him. According to Thanthra, God [Parama Purusha] is beyond form and name. When we invoke or install it, it becomes a Deity [Vishnu, Siva, Durga, Ayyappa etc] showing some aspects of Divine powers, depending upon the nature of the mantras used and the 'sankalpas' the persons who performed them had at the time of consecration.

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Lesson 06.04:
Principles of Tantra worship and Thanthra Yoga
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Historians divide Thanthra Sasthra into four sections; 1. Kashmeeri Thanthra. 2. Tibetan Tanthra, 3. Vanga Thanthra. 4. Kerala Thanthra. The first three deals with individual salvation and the last one, Kerala Thanthra is concerned more about the salvation of the entire society. Hence the concentration of Kerala Thanthra is on temple worship and the rituals related to it. The fundamental principle of temple worship is in the ritual system of the Supreme Lord who is known in different forms, names as manifestations and Avatharas.

Thanthra declares in crystal-clear language that different Deities are different vibratory fields of the same god. Through the complex rituals of Pratishta (Installation ceremony) and silent prayers, a powerful and a particular field of God's vibrations are created. Thanthra considers the temple as the manifestation of Divinity in the graphic form. Like all ritual systems, Thanthra is also combined in it all the four yogas (Raja yoga, Bhakthi yoga, Karma yoga and Njana yoga). Thanthra borrows its principles and practices chiefly from Raja yoga and Hatha yoga.

Hindu traditions divide human body horizontally into five sheaths. 1. Anna Maya kosa (Physical sheath), 2. Pranamaya kosa (Psychic sheath), 3. Manomaya kosa (Mental sheath), 4.Vijnanamaya Kosa (Intellectual sheath), 5.Anandamaya kosa (Causal sheath). In the temples of Kerala, we can find the 'Panchapraakarams' to represent these five sheaths of human body. Hinduism divides the human body vertically into six charkas or power centers. They are 1. Mooladhara chakra, 2. Swadhishana chakra, 3. Manipoora chakra, 4. Anahata chakra, 5. Vibhooti chakra, 6. Anjnja chakra. Above these shad-chakras (six power centers), is the Sahasrara Padmam.

At the time of Pratishta (installation ceremony), using mantras and rituals particular to that Deity, Thanthri invokes God in that particular form, using different sets of rituals and silent prayer Manthras for the various Deities that includes hand gestures and 'Mudhras" like in Indian classical dances. Thanthra method of hand gestures are used in all forms of Vedic rituals. Some aspects of Thanthra is practiced in our daily home rituals like Sandhyavandhanam and home poojas as also in all Temple rituals and Homam [Havan] like fire rituals.

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: Lessons : -: 6.01 : - : 6.03 : - : 6.05 : - : 6.07 : - : 6.09 : - : 6.11 :
 
A Collection of Lessons on Hindu Dharma discussed in Satsangh
There are Two Lessons on each page - so thay you can read two lessons each day.
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