In the spiritual arena, it’s important to clearly distinguish between three terms: Veda, right-handed tantra, and left-handed tantra. Simply stated, Veda correlates to physics, right-handed tantra correlates to engineering, and left-handed tantra correlates to hot-wiring a car.
Veda embodies the laws of nature. All the principles and dynamics in creation are expressed through the Veda. It could be said that the Veda is the very structure of existence, as well as the mechanics through which existence functions. People who study physics see the beauty within its mathematical precision—it sings like music. The Veda fully expresses the majesty of that music. The science of Veda is the mechanical side of the coin. It’s sometimes referred to as the King of the Universe. Psychology is the other side of that same coin—the psychology, the personified expression, the spirit, the living breathing soul and essence of creation.
Tantra has two aspects, right-handed and left-handed. Generally speaking, when the word “tantra” is used, it is in reference to left-handed tantra. The subtle, but all-important distinction between right and left-handed tantra is usually ignored.
Right-handed tantra is the technology, the engineering, that employs the principles of Veda in a manner that is in harmony with nature. What does it mean to be in harmony with nature? It means to be evolutionary, to support life, to feed and nourish, to create ever-increasing levels of coherence, integration, and health, not only of the individual, but also of society, humanity, and all of existence. Proper meditation is a right-handed tantric technique. Right-handed tantric techniques can be referred to as “natural.”
In contrast, left-handed tantric techniques can be referred to as unnatural. Left-handed tantra is an approach to engineering that doesn’t honor the entire aspect of the system involved. It’s like replacing a fuse with the foil wrapper of a chewing gum stick. It may get results, but at great risk. If left-handed tantric techniques are relied on, sooner or later, it will take its toll. However, left-handed tantric techniques do have an appeal. They are a quick fix and can create flashy immediate results. For this reason, they are very popular. Many of the “magic tricks” that “spiritual teachers” in India perform are the result of left-handed tantra. Similarly, there are a number of energetic healing techniques that are also left-handed tantra. They are a manipulation of energy or existence, like hot-wiring a car or putting a virus into a computer. They are not in harmony with nature. The subroutine may feed itself, but it is harmful to the operation of the computer as a whole.
In the West, tantra is sometimes thought of as a set of sexual techniques. Those techniques would almost always be classified as a small portion of left-handed tantra. They are usually used as a means of forcing or manipulating the subtle energies of the body. The Eastern term for the subtle energy of the body is “kundalini.” More often than not, kundalini yoga techniques slip into the realm of left-handed tantra. It’s important to realize that “kundalini” is life force. So, kundalini in itself is not left-handed tantra. However, most of the techniques used in India and the West to affect the kundalini are left-handed tantric in nature.
The Veda contains within it all knowledge of life. It therefore accounts for, and acknowledges, the existence and techniques of left-handed tantra. It doesn’t bury its head in the sand, but holds all knowledge out to the light of day. It’s common for people to justify a left-handed tantric technique by pointing out, “It’s in the Veda.” Please remember that what is in the Veda can be good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, evolutionary, or destructive. Just because you are hot-wiring a car, doesn’t mean you are transcending the laws of physics. It’s simply that you are applying techniques in an unwise manner.
Meditation techniques that program the mind are unnatural. Though very popular, they are left-handed tantra. They can create immediate and impressive results, but take their toll, particularly over time. Natural healing harmonizes the individual with the Veda. It frees the physiology from all imposed subroutines. Natural healing allows the physiology to reawaken to its own divine nature, its homeostasis, its means of normal function. Here, we define “normal” as Vedic. Right-handed tantric techniques bring about that state of normal function.
When you travel along the spiritual path, it’s imperative to keep all of this in mind. Do not be distracted. Cultivate discernment. It’s not enough to understand the difference between left and right-handed tantra, you must learn to apply that understanding wisely. The world today is permeated with a free-for-all of left-handed tantric spiritual growth and healing techniques. The ability to discern is sorely lacking.
At this point, it’s natural to ask the question, “How do I know if I’m employing right-handed or left-handed tantric techniques?” It’s a very good question that you will become better and better at answering if you diligently and discerningly traverse the spiritual path. The exploration of that question is the spiritual path. Life is not a cookbook, nor is the answer to that question. As you follow that path, your entire relationship with knowledge and the very notion of “answers to questions” will evolve. True spiritual knowledge is not a new set of thoughts, it’s an entirely new way of thinking, feeling, and being.
This is Kaliyuga. Loosely translated, it’s the age when left-handed tantra permeates spiritual teaching. It’s the age when most people are attracted to left-handed tantra, be it in the form of magic tricks, emotional indulgence, or drama, all in the name of God. Just like hot-wiring a car, the short-term results can seem beneficial. Though to see the long-term results, you need go no further than the evening news. It’s my passion and purpose to help humanity out of the clutches of Kaliyuga and beyond to a better life. Together, we can achieve this. As humanity lives more in harmony with nature, everything will improve. Disease, pollution, international conflict, terrorism, and famine will naturally fade away. This may sound too good to be true, but please allow me to assure you, it is the case.
© Michael Mamas, 1/08