Much of tantra is concerned with worship in a ritualistic form using incantation (mantras) and magic circles or altars (mandalas). This is not done for superstitious reasons or in a blind manner. There is a very good reason for this form of spiritual practice, namely, eventual transcendence. All religious systems use this method, but generally the aim of ritualistic worship is lost sight of and it degenerates into mere automatic and meaningless actions. Because of this, little or no benefits result and in fact many people eventually come to regard ritual as mere ignorance, which it is indeed in most cases. There must always be a clear understanding of the purpose of ritual, to know that it is a means to go beyond. This is a point that tantra constantly bears in mind.
Modern man tends to scoff at rites and worship as mere superstition, and because there is no basis for worship in modern scientific thought. But there are stranger things in this world than science can even dream about, let alone study. As Shakespeare said: “There are more things in heaven and earth . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Tantra also knows this, for it utilizes systematic ritual with awareness as a means to contact the things that science cannot contact, even with its delicate and complicated instruments. The rites of tantra work, if they are done correctly, and the proof is not in books or theories but in personal experience.
Rites are utilized for invoking and tuning in with levels of being – psychic, etheric, etc. which are beyond normal perception and the detection of current scientific instruments. Actually this is not quite true, for recent experiments in various countries, including Russia, Bulgaria, etc. are beginning to detect and measure levels of activity and being beyond man’s normal perception. Scientific experiments are clearly showing the reality of human psychic fields, pranic pathways, telepathy, clairvoyance and other so-called ‘unscientific’ phenomena. (For further details refer to Psychic Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain). Tantra aims at tuning in with all these different levels of manifestation – this is called magic (not magic associated with conjuring tricks on a stage, but contacting and utilizing the cosmic forces within and without). These forces are beyond the range of understanding, perception and knowledge. If you don’t believe in these different levels of being, then don’t . . . find out for yourself through personal experience. One of the methods of contacting these forces is through ceremonial magic or ritualistic worship.
The reader should again remember that magic or rites have been and still are an integral part of all forms of religions and mystical systems throughout the world. The explanation in rational or scientific terms is not important; they bring results and experiences, and if one experiences something then it must be so, no matter what science says. What does one believe: one’s own experience or a scientific statement that says it cannot be so? You can choose as you wish, but we prefer personal experience as being the most important.