The Indian sex methodology
Tantra is undeniably an Indian cult. Its roots can be traced back to before the existence of any religion. Later on, it grew as a fringe part of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism within the subcontinent. Tantra is a cult of ecstasy. Its goal is to maximise sexual pleasure and to use this pleasure as rocket fuel to rise towards spiritual transcendence and enlightenment. A Tantrik might appear to be mad to the conventional mind, because he is crazy with happiness all the time.
In today’s corporate-run, dehumanised world, Tantra can play an immensely vital role in bringing happiness and meaning to the practitioner’s life. I have experienced the bliss of Tantra myself and hopefully, so will you. While there is a complex philosophical background to Tantra, one need not understand all of it in order to begin practice. Tantra is more about doing, than studying or reading.
Related reading: Sex and the Zodiac Signs
My first experience of Tantra
My first Tantric experience came after a long wait. Soon after I began reading and exploring the topic, I was on the lookout for a dakini, a female consort who is the personification of the fierce, female deity in Tibetan Buddhist Tantra. ‘Looking for a dakini’ was even my bio on Tinder, the dating app. After a year or so of waiting, I found my dakini, in a colleague who was also spiritually inclined.
We began practising with one of the easiest but yet philosophically complex rites: The Yab-Yum. In Tibetan Tantra, the Yab-Yum is a position involving the union of the male principle of compassion and skilful means, and the female one of insight. This is equivalent to the concept of Lord Shiva and his consort Shakti in her various forms including Parvati, Kali and Bhairavi, in union.
Related reading: The God of desire
The ritual practice of Tantra
Since most of Tantra, including the Yab-Yum, is ritualised, there is a certain procedure to be followed. I studied the method from an ancient Vajrayana sutra, but modern commentaries are available, written by spiritual pioneers including Osho. This is how my consort and I practise the rite: First, both of us sit meditating in the cross-legged position for 10-15 minutes. Depending on one’s flexibility, one can sit either in the half-lotus or the full lotus (padmasana). Then, the two of us face each other and sit with only our knees touching. At this point, the two of us start synchronising our breaths and our eyes are closed. This is essential to conducting the rite properly. Initially, it took us some time to find the right pace, and match each other’s breaths. After the first few times, it became easier.
After 5 minutes or so, she climbs onto my lap, and wraps her legs behind my spine. While still keeping the breath synchronised, my consort begins to perform the cosmic dance of creation, while I sit still like a rock and focus on the movement of the breath. In the actual rite, sexual penetration would have occurred by now. However, it is not necessary, and the Yab-Yum can be performed even while fully clothed. Both partners attempt to be mindful of the sexual pleasure and maximise it. The male attempts to prolong orgasm as much as he can. Here, the traditions disagree. Some maintain that ejaculation is not ideal because semen is the vital life force and must not be spent. Others see no problem with it.
Related reading: Osho: On fear of performance in sexual act
Menstruation is the best time for Tantra
It is also maintained that the female’s sexual energies are most potent when she is menstruating and that is the best time for all Tantrik rites. This is no surprise; Tantra is about embracing taboos and breaking conventions in order to find liberation from societal norms that are restrictive. If you are disgusted by the blood, Tantra might not be for you. In my experience, the conservative taboo about menstrual blood being impure is completely bogus. Also, remember to set the mood by switching off electric lights, and lighting diyas or oil-lamps instead. Burn some incense sticks, and if you wish, you can play ambient music without vocals. Indian classical music or Tibetan chants work really well.
For couples looking at a new avenue to explore, Tantra can be an immensely exciting adventure. Besides the obvious enhancement of sexual pleasure, it will also bring in a plethora of health benefits and will create a spiritual bond between the two partners. It is high time that Tantra finally receives a rejuvenated mainstream acceptance in its birthplace, centuries after its inception.