vyāṁ vyāsadevāya namaḥ|
Dear Renita, Namaste.
The word Tantra means ‘protecting the body’ (tanu+trayi) whereas Mantra means ‘protecting the mind’. The means to do this usually implies using the energy of or imbibing spiritual energy into certain objects, like gemstones, talismans, roots, herbs, clothes, etc. Even the clothes we wear have the purpose of providing some tantra to us.
Because the mother created our body worship of the divine mother is specifically associated with tantra, and the information available to do this is also depicted in written texts called ‘tantras’. I.e. some names are: prāṇatoṣiṇi tantra, gandharva tantra, kubjika tantra and many more.
Tantra’s exist within any parampara be it Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava, Sūrya, Śakta, etc. Specifically the Vaiṣṇava Tantra is found in the Pañcaratri texts and is part and parcel of the Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇava, Śrī Vaiṣṇava and Achyutānanda Vaiṣṇava Paramparas. I cannot speak on behalf of other Vaiṣṇava traditions, but all of them have a mother!
Now, when a person uses the term ‘tantra pūja’ the word pūja implies some offering made to the object of the worship. Usually this implies flowers, incense, etc. There is nothing wrong with the traditional pūja’s and they cannot harm you, if done propperly. However, some north-eastern traditions use offerings which would lift eyebrows with most, namely the offerings of alcohol, flesh, etc. where the offerings are said to be the pañca ma-kara: matsya, mamsa, maithuna, madha and mudra. Whilst these offerings are established as a part of Śiva worship, most other traditions do not endorse the literal meanings of these offerings at all. I.e. in the Jagannātha temple matsya (fish) is not allowed to be offered to Jaganātha as he is perfectly vegetarian and instead a dosa (cooked pancake) is offered.
Some label the north-eastern traditions as vāma-marga, but thats hard to justify when the same vāmamargis in Puri are very strictly vegetarian Kṛṣṇa bhaktas.
Obviously when your pūja involves somewhat questionable articles, the ritual can be very risky to pursue. The traditions which do this have extremely strict guidelines to do this and lapses in this have serious repurcusions. In turn the other traditions who practice tantra have become unjustly labelled as practicing the same. Here I’m not refuting such practices, as it is evident from the story of Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahamsa that one of his first Guru’s was such a practioner and Rāmakṛṣṇa experienced Samādhi whilst being shown this practice.
So when your uncle warns you against Tantra Pūja, we must understand which pūja he means by this. Further, were you even asked to practice pūja at all or simply mantra jāpa? If simply mantra jāpa then we have little to justify towards anyone.
Practice of mother worship can only be good for us. However, care should be taken by the Guru or Vedāñga-Jyotiṣa to advise the right mantra and method of worship to ensure that the practitioner sails smoothely through the sadhana. In most cases this implies worship of Gaṇeśa (MUST) and Śiva (recommended) prior to worshipping the mother. I.e. if Moon is afflicted and one pursues Mahavidyā worship there is a risk that the person begins suffering from a mild depression. This is because the native is attempting to purify their mind and this can cause the mind to flush out bad thoughts in order to make the mind stronger and purer. In such cases the native should worship Gaṇeśa, tradition recommends the Śakti-Vinayaka mantra. Also the worship of mother can bring events which are difficult to understand, digest or make sense of. In such cases the appropriate worship of Śiva is recommended for the digestion of the knowledge given by the mother. Usually the approapriate forms depends on the form of the mother in question.
Appropriate forms of Viṣṇu and Sūrya are also chosen based on the focus of worship.
So there is nothing wrong with Tara worship, but make sure you get the mantra from a trustworthy source.
Yours sincerely, Visti Larsen
Jyotish Guru (Vedic Astrologer)
NEW Course website: http://www.rama-edu.com
On 24 June 2011 18:45, krishnaomhari <email@example.com> wrote:
When I used to be in college, I started getting drawn towards praying and puja. Uptil then I only read mantras because my grandmother taught them to me and told me that there is a lot I will achieve if I chant them. So i did it blindly. However, now I want to know the deeper meaning of these pujas. If possible, please suggest me a good book on vedic astrology that I can start reading and understanding the basics about that I can order from amazon.com
Please do not think of this message as ignorant and silly. I am a young learner and I am curious because of which my questions may sound ignorant.
MY DOUBT: I was once told that tantra puja is not good. There will be negative consequences of doing it without discipline. Say for ex: If you stop it halfway through and forget about it for a while,you will face dire negative consequences. This scared me so much that I stayed away from anything that was remotely called tantra. Also – was told that tantra puja is the opposite of praying to gods. It is praying to the evil. Unfortunately, I heard these things from random people and I was really young at that time so I stayed from it.
Recently I was advised puja to Sri Tara Devi. I searched in google and came across topics such as tantra puja. I started getting a feeling that Sri Tara devi belongs to the tantra world. I was warned by one of my uncles to stay away from Tara Puja at this age. Can you please throw me some light on what is wrong with tantra puja. What exactly are these two things -mantra & tantra. I want to learn from the people who really know and not from some random article from google search.
Thank you sincerely for your valuable time.