What is the difference between Yoga and Tantra?
Tantra says you have to accept yourself as you are – do not restrain, just accept, but be aware and you will transcend. Yoga promotes restraint. both ways are acceptable. Tantra and Yoga may be two different manifestations but their genesis is the same.
How is that?
In tantra you accept yourself because that is the expression of your life, of your consciousness, in its natural course of evolution. Within us we have both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, creative and destructive. Usually, religions tell us to accept ‘good’ and reject ‘bad’ or negative aspects of our personality, but we, with our limited understanding, tend to mess things up. We try to change the pattern of our behavior and thinking. This enforced change within the personality is suppression of the normal expression which applies to all levels of our consciousness.
Tantra talks of the union of Shiva and Shakti. Shakti has nearly always been defined as kundalini, and Shiva, the male aspect, has been defined as chetana or consciousness. Tantra is not really referring to a physical relationship. It says that in order to experience internal union you first experience external union; to experience internal bliss, experience external bliss. The difference is momentary; internal bliss is continuous.
In Tantra there are initiations which are awakening of Shakti. The practice of asana is an initiation for the body. Pranayama is initiation of the pranas. The only difference between Tantra and Yoga is that Yoga is outgoing; it deals more with the world, body, mind, personality, emotions, actions and environment; whereas Tantra is more meditative.
You acquire desire because, for the evolution of consciousness, conflict is necessary. It is a means for awakening part of the consciousness. If there were no conflicts, there would be no evolution. There would be a stagnant state of consciousness.
How should we deal with desires?
We must accept them. If I desire to slap you, I should think of the repercussions it can have, positive or negative. If I simply follow my emotions there will be a big fight between us. this is where you have to learn to detach yourself. Both processes happen together. You allow emotions to flourish, observe them, and learn how to control them. You come to know when it is the right time for action and let that energy manifest. then this manifestation will be positive and creative, rather than haphazard.
Do men and women have different spiritual attributes?
Tantra believes that feminine energy is more refined and of higher quality than masculine energy. in Tantra the female principle has the position of guru, and the male principle that of a disciple.
Why is this so?
because of a woman’s ability to flow without any kind of intellectual barrier which binds one to the material level. Women have intuitive ability because theirs is a psychically active energy. Male energy is passive and seems to tend towards tunnel-vision. Women are able to perceive things which the male energy cannot. One must learn to flow with sensitivity; one must learn to flow with higher awareness.