This discussion is not intended to be practical. It has been included to give you a general background and introduction to tantra. Many of the ideas may seem a little strange at first, vet the more one delves into tantra the more one will understand its sublimity. Its philosophical concepts reach up to the loftiest heights in an effort to express the inexpressible, yet they have not lost touch with practical application. Many philosophies become lost in words and are not applicable to the average person. They formulate complicated conceptions that in no way relate to the individual and his attempts to grapple with and understand life. They rarely make any effort to show the individual how he can experience higher awareness for himself. Tantra, on the other hand, is a practical system. It is called a sadhana shastra, which means that it is a practice-oriented scripture. Its purpose is to give each and every individual spiritual illumination by any means that is suitable and available. It consists of a vast number of different practices to suit all types of people, combined with the highest concepts realized by tantric sages throughout the ages in states of deep meditation. It is because of this combination that we have such high regard for tantra.
We want you to consider tantra with an open mind. Do not blindly accept its ideas. Merely assimilate them. You must prove for yourself if they are really valid through your own personal experience and realization. The thing to remember is that tantra is more of a science than anything else. It does not ask you to believe anything on face value. It is a ‘test and see’ system. Only when you have the experience can you believe what you hear. The essence of tantra is personal experience through practice.
The science of the infinite
Tantra is the science of seeing, feeling, knowing the infinite in and through the finite. It leads one to the experience of the infinite through the limited world of form. And once the infinite has been seen in one object, it is then a short step to seeing the infinite in everything. Tantra teaches knowledge and experience of the macrocosm through the instrumentality of the microcosm. It teaches knowledge of the unlimited through the means of the limited; knowledge of the supreme consciousness (paramatman) through knowledge of the individual consciousness (jivatman). Tantra is a means to know your divine nature and then the divine nature of everything. It is a method of utilizing the material to tune in with the immaterial, of using the manifest to know the unmanifest. It is a method of being swallowed into the infinite, of being sucked into the infinite through a whirlpool of material objects and energies. The world is used as a stepping stone to the beyond, to that which is indescribable. The objective universe is utilized as a launching pad into the eternal. Tantra aims at expanding the experience of everyday life, of enjoying and living life to the full, as a means to higher awareness. It encompasses all aspects of life, whether in the material world or that which is transcendent.