Tantra defined

We are now talking about tantra as it exists in India. The word tantra is made up of two words: tanoti and trayati. The word tanoti means ‘to expand’, ‘to stretch’, and to ‘extend’, while the word trayati means ‘to liberate’ or ‘free’. Therefore, tantra (tan+tra) means to expand one’s experience and awareness of everything, to extend the frontiers of apprehension beyond the material, and hence to attain spiritual knowledge and liberation. Tantra is also known as tantrica, kauladharma, kaulica or kaula. The word kaula is derived from the word Inula, which means family, society or community. Thus kaula, kaulica and kauladharma can be interpreted as the way of the community, the way of the family, or perhaps the way of brotherhood and fellowship. The word kula also means the fetters of the family, but this is in a different context. The word kula also means ‘the cosmic power of manifestation’ (Shakti), and akula means ‘consciousness’ (Shiva). Therefore, the path of kaula is the unity of Shiva and Shakti, cosmic union, or nirvana. It is said that the system of kaula implies simplicity of living combined with harmony of inner and outer surroundings, together with understanding and acceptance of others. The dormant cosmic power in man is often known as kulakundalini. Therefore, kauladharma is a system for unleashing the cosmic forces and potential (kundalini or Shakti) in man. People who follow the path of tantra are called tantrics, kaulas or kaulicas. Tantra is a system intended to teach us how to live life to the fullest. It is a means to successfully come to terms with life and its seeming complications and eventually become enlightened.

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