Tantra the Steps of the Path
The texts of the Tantras reflect the stages that an adept goes through in almost any tradition, so they can be a basis, based on which you can find your current position on this "map" and determine the direction of further movement.
Tantra in this sense is not some religious system, by no means. It describes, rather, the basic principles expressed through various religions and schools that are relevant to spiritual development.
This basis presupposes a "diagnosis" of the state of the subject who has entered the sadhana; the result that is expected to be achieved during the practice; well, and a selection of the practices themselves, taking into account the individual characteristics of the adept.
In this sense, various religious schools and denominations may well be "imposed" on this stepwise scheme, as occupying one or more steps, and then it becomes obvious where to move on.
This, it seems to me, is important because, claiming the final result in the form of heaven or hell, nirvana, dissolving oneself in God, a place in heaven - the religions of the world, called spiritual traditions, often call for the "connection" of the awakened individuality of a person with the "spiritual sphere due to material, gross, physical damage. Sometimes - by more or less severe restrictions in them, and sometimes - due to direct exhaustion of the body by prolonged hunger strikes, ropes or a sackcloth, etc.
Since the principle of Tantra can be described as the union of male and female, that is, spiritual and material, it is more likely that the term is suitable for it - not the spiritual path (which, as it seems, implies the connection of individual consciousness with the cosmic - Spirit, and often - the path the above-mentioned rejection of the carnal), but the path to wholeness. That is, the state in which the apparent contradictions of the spiritual and the worldly are eliminated and the path becomes one.
There is no need to avoid carnal pleasures. But, however, you need to understand that this statement is by no means an excuse for your lust or inclination to gluttony. When the consciousness becomes bright and strong enough, the practice for its further development can take place anywhere...
But in order for this to become possible, this “gradual” progression from “class to class” is supposed, which, of course, occurs not according to the “school” annual cycle, but according to the degree of maturity of consciousness sufficient for this, which can come and in a year, and in two, and in thirty, and more years...
The criterion for the transition - the "offset" of the material passed and fully assimilated, becomes the accumulated stable and controlled internal skill - that is, the movement of the energy of the Will.
So, we proceed from the assumption that the movement begins with something and before it (before this first step) there was no movement ...
Sleep state. Zero point. It is traditionally described by the state of a man-animal (pashu), who does not seek anything, does not believe in God, Spirit, mission. The interests and actions of which are completely determined by reactions to the surrounding world, i.e. involuntary, unchosen and unmanaged by him therefore. The inner world here has no meaning for a person, because his consciousness is completely caught, "attached" to a dense, rough physical reality, and therefore it is the same - rough and weakly sensitive.
State O is the natural state of a person who has found himself in a new environment for himself, which is completely unfamiliar and requires all his attention. Therefore, all his energy is in reactions to this environment, which a person first learns. You can compare it with the state of a child who takes his first steps. And the first thing he needs to master is to properly rearrange his legs and keep his balance.
When a child has mastered at least a little in controlling his body, he gives all his attention to those toys that entertain him. And the brighter and the more ineresting they are, the more they absorb his attention with themselves.
The modern world offers for the people living in it a countless variety of toys and games - war and doctors, saints and alcoholics, directors and travelers, pilots and families.
The only thing that the younger generation is not taught in schools is to listen to the world with your heart and control your will.
Therefore, growing up, "adult" children are looking for more and more "toys" that will cause a reflex of interest in themselves and entertain the mind, pulling it out of a state of slumber. But, of course, not for long. The will by this time remains the same as that of a 3-year-old man who was fond of playing with colorful balls. Now, it is true, he is fiddling with the buttons on the remote control of a nuclear missile (for example), because it excites the mind more than children's colorful balloons, but the situation is with the will - that is, with arbitrary control of the focus of his interest (I decided that I would direct my interest to washing dishes (for example) - and sent, and I do it with the same degree of interest that the previous pressing of the remote control buttons) - does not change at all.
Therefore, "the asleep" people are categorized that way.
And yet - tied - like a rope - with their uncontrollable reactions - to the stimuli of the outside world.
That is why the picture of the human world (perception filter) is quite limited by material exciting (and that is why useful) things, and there is no idea of the "subtle" planes of being in this picture. Therefore, a person is very distrustful of proposals to "broaden" his horizons in relation to these plans, and there is no question of contact with the Spirit.
The connection with the Spirit is blocked by a rigid mental filter, in which the idea of it (the Spirit) does not exist, and the place where it is supposed to be in the world for a person is a "blind spot".
However, children grow up, and their consciousness is gaining strength. So at one of the stages of his life, a person is offered (by internal experiences of the inconsistency of the old worldview with new facts discovered by his experience, for example) - to expand this worldview and plant the figure of God on an empty blind spot.
But here it is important to understand, apparently, that the maturation of consciousness for its awakening is a natural process, and you cannot create it by excessive external efforts, just as you cannot make a rose bloom a month ahead of schedule.
Therefore, those who have already “awakened” and, with the best of intentions, are trying to “awaken” their dear loved ones, who are against it with all hands and feet, are advised to have enough patience and wait for the moment when the “bud” will ripen and turn their attention to the proposed change.
Vedachara - in Tantrism, the initial stage of a person's spiritual evolution consists in the study of the Vedas, the ritual worship of the Vedic gods, and the careful observance of the basic religious precepts. The main creed of this stage is orthodox Brahmanism (Smartism), which goes back to the Vedic religion of the ancient Aryans.
Usually in this stage - in the Tantras this stage is indicated by the Vedas - a person is interested and thinks about God, the Spirit, the Path, about the other World, is interested in ancient traditions, receiving information for this from other people whom he sometimes considers his teachers, or from texts ( Vedas, Agamas, Puranas, Tantras, Bibles, Koran, Pigeon Book, etc.).
He watches the speeches of spiritual leaders, sometimes joins any religious group.
Memorize the texts of religious scriptures.
Goes to training seminars and psychological trainings.
Sometimes he tries to apply the rules learned from there in his life.
Sometimes he himself begins to "spread" "spiritual" knowledge among others, selling religious books or calling "to salvation"...
However, memorized texts and their exact reproduction, erudition and "education" do little by themselves, because you can teach this, as Lord Shiva told His Beloved Parvati, even a parrot. Who from this, by the way, does not become a yogi.
However, at this stage there is undoubtedly a valuable transition from the "materialistic" worldview to the "spiritual" or "magical".
Therefore, the first thing that changes in a person is his mental picture of the world. It becomes wider, in it there appears an idea of the possibility of manifestations of the Spirit, God, with whom there is no contact yet, the teaching basically takes the form of reading and memorizing texts, listening to lectures, watching videos that are actually perceived, i.e. superficially.
It is also superficial because the "spiritual" practice or god here, as it were, complements the "main" ideological basis. In the first place is what was before (money, family and work in their superficial - that is, undivine perception), and the main efforts direct energy there. Meditations, trainings and spiritual lectures are something that pleasantly complements life, gives joy without a hangover (like alcohol used to be), pleasantly takes time.
Therefore, the characteristic expressions for refusing to practice here testify to those very attachments that are still very strong - "if work allows ...", "work does not let go ...", etc. Therefore, the practices themselves often give temporary results, being an interesting addition to "normal" life, but not as not its main task.
From the man-animal (pashu), the differences here are insignificant, because the conditioning of reactions by external stimuli and the manifestations of personal egoism almost do not change.
And although a person, in addition to books, can take part in various rituals of the group and sometimes conduct rituals himself (repeat a prayer or a mantra, do yoga assanas, etc.), rituals are usually formal and do not give essential deep experiences.
God, Spirit, Absolute - a mental symbol and nothing more. Memorizing and memorizing the texts of the Vedas, Tantras, Agamas, Puranas, the Bible, the Koran, etc. is by no means equivalent to living personal experience, and without it, essential development does not occur.
But the step itself - the manifestation of a keen interest in what was previously completely meaningless - indicates that deep sleep has become much more superficial, and perhaps awakening will come soon.
The matter, however, is not as simple as it seems. Because the attempt of the will to wake up and gain strength is usually easily suppressed by the same "spiritual" leaders and "teachers" who authoritatively inspire a person - "... we know what you need ...".
And instead of gaining free will and controlling one’s interest — a person satisfactorily “falls asleep” further — the dream, however, has become different, “spiritual” — monks or trainings conducted by doctors of science appeared in it, to which a person gets used and becomes attached, making sure that they are "spiritual" or "smart" and talk about interesting and useful things, so "there is something to see and listen to."
Listening and watching, passively perceiving information or following the instructions of the teacher, is necessary for the time being, until the time after which you need to learn to manage your perception on your own, and not at the behest.
The “muscle” of the will, as we know, begins to “pump up” when a person, consciously with it (the muscle of the will), maintains a high degree of intensity of his interest in events and things that are absolutely useless, previously uninteresting and meaningless.
That is, the "switching on" of attention, interest, excitement - does not occur from the outside - by a smart speech, a political sensation or a long-legged blonde in a luxury car, a "spiritual" lecture by a famous leader, but from within, and therefore can be reproduced in any, the most boring situation, in a state of extreme fatigue or even in a dream.
Vaishnava-bhakta path. Devotional service. A very important stage, which in our world shows the course of Hare Krishnas.
Its characteristic feature is a rather deep switching of attention from the objects of the external world to the internal meaning of actions and the creation of a stable (independent of the external) internal state of joy that nourishes the heart. As you know, higher abilities (and connection with the Spirit) are opened when the egoistic states of greed, pity, anger, irritation and fear are overcome, which are transmitted by the lower chakras and thus take away all the energy of a person necessary for the development and growth of the will. And through the heart, through Love, one gains the possibility of opening higher-lying centers of energy and states.
However, the state of unconditional joy and disinterest in the external results of actions is not in itself a sufficient (being a necessary) condition for Unity with the Spirit. It may well indicate that the will of the adept is awakened and strengthened enough to steadily maintain the self-chosen state of the inner world, regardless of the external one, but its strength may not be enough for spiritual initiation to take place.
The external expression of joy “for show” is by no means always adequate to the internal one. So, one woman, sweet and smiling, in response to the question - how are you doing - always happily answered: "Everything is fine! Good relationship with my husband, wonderful children and the best, interesting job," but literally in a minute she for some reason She said - "Thank God that there is not long to live!".
Another essential feature of this stage is a sufficient attachment to external rituals (rosaries, objects, names, actions, clothes), conversations, lectures, books, and to the specific face of "one's" God. Those. holy prayer - in the church, except for Allah (Krishna, Jesus, Buddha ...) - there is no one; rejection of other ways of spiritual work as false, as well as rejection of the destructive (wrathful) aspects of the expression of the Spirit.
I am familiar with some of the "advanced" Hare Krishnas who arrogantly boasted about their position next to an established spiritual master, finding the position of others (who did not have such a position) deluded. However, in my opinion, it is not the position next to the master that determines the spiritual status of the student, because next to the great people sometimes just stupid people grow up, blindly copying their teacher to the detriment of developing their own Individuality.
Probably, due to the reasons stated above - a rather narrow range of perception of the world as divine (magic), the will of the practitioner does not yet gain enough strength here for the intention of unity with the Spirit to become truly unbending.
The narrowness of the range is maintained by the selectivity from the surrounding world of situations and events, actions and words that are classified as "sacred" or "spiritual", and the rest of the diversity of the world is not considered as such.
Not only Hare Krishnas demonstrate this stage. Taking any sect as an example, we will find the same characteristic features - separation from the world, narrowing the field of attention.
Sometimes they try to rank modern trainings of integrative psychotechnologies as sectarianism, in relation to which participants may develop a specific psychological dependence. At the trainings, a special space is formed, relationships that are joyful and pleasant, while the world of social contacts is cruel and unpleasant.
Therefore, taking into account the undoubted usefulness of training work in revealing potential human abilities and stimulating the development of consciousness, it is worth noting that their task, unlike sects, is not to narrow the field of human consciousness and form a “binding” of participants to themselves, but, on the contrary, to develop and expansion of human "spiritual" interests with the spread of the latter to everything, including the social aspects of life.
The need to form a special space for the disclosure of new qualities and a temporary delimitation from the "ordinary" world is fully justified by the need to gain strength for the awakened sprout of the will and get stronger so that you can safely move on to the next stage.
Recall once again that the result that should be achieved here is getting rid of the uncontrolled manifestation of pride in all forms and the ability to maintain the state of inner comfort (joy ).
The next stage is the path of Shaivas - Shaivism.
The main things here are a firm aspiration to the Spirit, connection with Him, living Him with one's Essence. Solid - that is, holistic.
It is also called the path of yogis, male. Male - by the nature of developments, and not by gender, of course.
However, it should be noted that yogis here do not mean individuals capable of twisting their bodies into a rope. And those who correspond to the essence of yoga, that is, integrity. When the mind, body, will become a single alloy, and there is not the slightest trace of the internal fragmentation with which a person entered this stage - dividing the world into divine and non-divine (social), the path - into spiritual and mundane, etc. . When every minute of life becomes a step towards God (the Absolute, the law, Shiva). And no matter what a person does, he is all in this process, since each of his actions is integral.
In nagualism, this is described as the formation of unbending intention and its connection with the intention of the universe. Characteristic features - absolute (pay attention to the word) internal autonomy.
That is, the complete independence of the internal state from external factors, for a deeper development of which are sometimes used, incl. ascetic practices.
In Christianity, the wearing of ropes, hair shirts, in others, self-sacrifice, hunger strike, illness of the body. This is the path of warriors, yogis, therefore, the male one - in terms of developing the state of "always in the Spirit", or, in the words of Jesus Christ - "I and my Father are one" (by the way, his asceticism, as described in the Bible, was very, very serious).
Buddhism, as a striving for the Absolute (that is, also a masculine expression of reality), could also conditionally be attributed to this stage, but modern Buddhists, taking the final state of the Buddha as their goal, rarely use the previous steps (which, by the way, the Buddha himself - according to the description - passed in full, being an ascetic before enlightenment). Of course, the convenient traditional road to enlightenment (after all, as is commonly believed, the Buddha said that asceticism is not needed (apparently meaning that he no longer needs it), the practical majority is much more acceptable than severe tests for the body, but it seems to me , few people who consider themselves Buddhists can say the same thing as Jesus, working only with their mind, because cleaning it is one thing, and living the energy of the Spirit is quite another.
The psychotherapeutic result of meditations is a certain detachment from the mundane, a pause in reaction, peace of mind - the state is good in itself, but is it not the goal of this stage of the Path? The goal is to live in unity with the Absolute, Shiva, in which the individual self expresses the Creator, Creator, Spirit, and simply by rearranging some priorities in your mentality without transforming the deepest instincts of the Self, this is unlikely to be achieved.
The male aspect of the Force in the world is expressed by the quality "the boy said - the boy did", which emphasizes the ability to uncompromisingly follow the choice made, no matter what. However, external orientation (to the world) is usually implied, and then this quality, manifested from the outside, often leads to pronounced "internal" weakness, i.e. inability to "keep the state", which leads both to compensation, to alcoholism (for example).
Therefore, here, too, external rigidity (and cruelty, sometimes) is not evidence of a deep internal detachment from what is happening.
And secondly, detachment here is not equivalent to indifference and callousness. On the contrary, in order to work hard to follow the chosen discipline (meaning stable retention of the state of autonomy), one needs to immerse oneself in the most intense atmosphere of the modern world. Not a retreat from reality into the mountains, into the desert, into the skete - but vice versa - immersion in the most ebullient activity while maintaining a state of complete detachment.
Aghoric practices known for their eccentricity (meditations in a cemetery, near graves, on the destructive aspects of God, on decay, on corpses, illness, deformities, etc.), considered by some practitioners to be the fastest method in Tantra, are appropriate only at this stage, — when all the previous ones have been completed.
When the adept has acquired the ability to quite definitely maintain his state of balance, to control the manifestations of the ego in "average situations", then it is possible to move on to practice in the extreme, borderline areas in order to temper the Spirit even more.
In nagualism, meditation on one's own death is one of the strongest means capable of seeing the fragility of being in its true light.
However, if you skip the previous stages and rush into aghora, wanting to “speed up” the process, then critical states can plunge the adept’s untempered psyche, at least, into depression, or create a mental disorder, instead of tempering the Spirit.
Examples of these violations are former recruits who got into the fighting and really faced death.
For the practitioner of this stage, we recall that such meetings are a test of internal maturity. In which even a real threat of death is not able to break his Spirit.
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