The goal of Tantra is ‘to live a free, open, natural Pagan life, devoid of restrictions, and the concepts of sin or shame about what is natural.’ So says Shri Gurudev Dadaji Mahendranath, whose wisdom pervades this book.
Tantra is not a sex cult. Nor is it a religion with dogma and belief systems as Hinduism is. Tantra is the ancient practice of Magick for real change and attainment of personal liberation. Hindus pray to the gods. Tantrics talk with their gods.
Unlike other Tantra books—some well done, many slipshod—this is not a survey book about Tantra, nor is it a book on sex magick (though sex is, of course, a part of the magical world). This is a book on how to do Tantra. In that sense it is unusual. This book takes you into the Kula (Tantric circle of initiates), and is about practicing effective and powerful Tantric Magick to help you attain real balance, prosperity and spiritual liberation. It provides mentoring and guidance to begin working directly with the gods, goddesses and spirits of Tantra to empower yourself and improve your life. If you follow the instructions and do the work—beginning with daily meditation—you will attain remarkable success, I am sure. Tantra is thousands of years old, as are many of the techniques and teachings. There is a reason it is still practiced.
Begin by asking yourself: “How can I ‘weave’ or manifest the kind of life I want to live?” This is the goal of all Tantric practices. In this book I seek to provide a balanced and empowering path for you to learn, understand and practice the ancient art of Tantra without interference or confusion. My goal is to show you the way to liberation and becoming your own Guru, in control of your own spiritual path.
I have been a practicing Tantra since I was initiated in the Nath Lineage in 1980. My Tantric name, Hermeticusnath, was given to me directly by Dadaji Mahendranath, the holder of that and other lineages. I have organized and worked with several different Kula circles of initiates, and performed hundreds of Tantric Puja rituals in a variety of places for a number of different purposes, including a wedding. The Tantric gods and goddesses have been a part of my daily life for forty years.
Before we go further, a note must be made concerning Tantric Buddhism. Though there exist many complex and fascinating traditions of Tantric Buddhism—including one I am connected with—this book is not about these paths. Instead, we’ll focus on what has been called ‘Hindu’ or ‘Indian’ Tantra. Though there are many similarities between the two, they have different philosophies. Buddhism is a religion; Tantra is a path. However, they are ‘sister’ traditions which share techniques, methods, iconography and many ideals. It is not unusual for practitioners of one to be involved with the other, but in this book, the terms Tantra and Tantric will refer only to ‘non-Buddhist Tantric practices.’
A Short History of Nath Tantra
In the summer of 1953, a middle-aged English mystic and magickian who had studied the I Ching and other aspects of magick under the infamous Aleister Crowley, arrived in India penniless, and was immediately greeted by a Tantric Guru named Shri Lokanath who had somehow been expecting him. This British spiritual seeker took initiation from this Guru, becoming a follower of Tantra and a wandering holy man, a Sannyasin. As such, he vowed to renounce everything to follow spiritual truth. During the initiation in a small Kali temple or cave, he had his mind blown asunder and after this initiation was given the name Dadaji Mahendranath, possibly the first white Tantric Sadhu (holy man). His name means Dadaji (little brother), Mahendra (Mountain), and Nath (Lord).
Dadaji Mahendranath received a number of other initiations in his wanderings (Zen, Taoist, Lamaist, Buddhist, etc.), but he focused on the initiation that had profoundly affected him, the ancient Adinath stream of deep Pagan Tantric wisdom and magick. Adinath translates as the Primal Lord, meaning the most ancient form of Shiva. This transmission formed the core of his writings and teachings.
Some twenty years later, Gurudev Dadaji Mahendranath had become one of the most respected and venerated spiritual teachers in Ahmedabad, India. At that time, he sought to pass the vital current of the Adinath Sampradaya (lineage) on to the West, and so he initiated another British occultist who came to India; he was given the name Shri Lokanath. He then passed the initiation and empowerment he’d received to many others. Two of those who received initiation from Shri Lokanath, Shyamanath and Sandhya Devi, initiated me in 1980. I originally received the Tantric name ‘Pandunath’ by my initiators, but Dadaji Mahendranath disliked this name, and gave me the name Hermeticusnath which means ‘Magick Making Lord’. This was the first ‘Western’ Nath name. When I asked him about this, he wrote and told me that he had a special plan: he charged me to offer Tantra to Western mystics and occultists in a way that would bridge Eastern and Western Magick, and I said I would try. This book is, in many ways, a result of this promise I made to Shri Dadaji Mahendranath.
When I traveled extensively in Nepal and India, I was fully accepted as a Tantric once I communicated my devotion, lineages and knowledge. I was always embraced, accepted and invited to worship and sit with fellow devotees everywhere I went. My purpose with this book is to offer a similar open acceptance and welcome. I am providing a path to the benefit and power of Tantra to all who are interested, something I was charged to do. Tantra accepts that where you are from, the color of your skin, the language you speak, or your work or lifestyle have nothing to do with your eternal Spirit, soul or what Tantrics call Atman. We are all divine; we are all seeking awakening and liberation. As long as you are sincere, the Tantric gods and practices will empower you and help you grow. OM.
The practices of Tantra were developed to help you to weave the life you Will through Love and spiritual practice so that you may attain the spiritual goal of real freedom. There are no restrictions, taboos, rules or restrictions in Tantra beyond the prohibition against causing needless harm to other living beings. Tantra tells us that we are free, natural beings—stars who exist on Earth. Only you can create your true unique path from birth to death by discovering your True Will. Tantra is a path of Magick, not faith; one of independence, not servility. Belief and faith are not necessary. All you need for spiritual attainment is engagement with your Spirit and with a set of proven practices that help you weave your body, heart and mind to awaken your own immense power and attain real joy.
A Sanskrit term sums up the practice of Tantra: Svecchacharya. In essence, it means ‘doing your True Will’; that is, following the orbit of what you are meant to do in this life.
The truth is, you already are utterly free, but everything in your life has programmed you to forget this. You believe that everything you seem to experience is what makes up your life Thus, you have been taught that you are essentially a passive bystander in your own world. This programming comes from your culture, your religion, your family, and all the rules and taboos you are pressured to follow, from birth to death.
Tantra shows that this programming is a lie, the greatest lie of all. As long as you accept that lie, you will never discover why you are here and who you really truly are.
The truth is, you are an eternal star, one with the universe. You have the power to ‘weave’ and follow and decide your own unique reality and life. No one else can do that for you unless you let them.
Go online and do an image search for Tantric Sadhus. Look at these wild, hardcore, spiritual-punk Tantrics! Often naked and ash-covered, these Tantrics sit amidst burning bodies in a trance and let go of everything, including ego, pride, repulsion, attachment and death. This is a radical path, based on ancient teachings and Pagan rituals and magick which seek to free you from the delusions of this crazy world we exist in. Escaping from our programming, this seemingly crazy world is not for the faint of heart. Yet here in the West we cannot exist like the often-naked, wandering, wild Tantric Sadhus in India.
Our goal is to experience the radical, mind-opening path of Tantra in different ways, often within our own holy places of magick and wonder. The wild, naked Tantrics and I follow the same path; our practices and goals are similar, and they are effective everywhere. You don’t need to go to India or Nepal to practice Tantra.
Start with this simple truth: you are not a product of your environment or family or religion; it is your ego that believes that. Your true Self is timeless. Your ego is not ‘bad,’ but it doesn’t reveal the truth. Think of it as the car you drive in this life. It is a very important vehicle, but it is not who you really are. This is why your inner self is often dissatisfied and seeks a deeper life and spiritual truth. There is one clear message: the primary goals of Tantra are to attain the three stated goals of:
Real Peace, Real Freedom, and Real Happiness.
Tantric practice will awaken you to the truth that you are the cosmos and contain all the gods and goddesses. You have complete freedom to do your Will as you will in this life, and thus be at peace, free and really happy. Limitations can be physical, but most often they are imposed by our culture, family, faith and worldview. Tantric practices will break open this cage, and you can have a lot of fun doing this and leading a natural life. Welcome to the joyous world of Tantra!