The second group include those who worship an underlying reality without experience, but with blind belief. This is similar though not exactly the same as the second classification of tantra, namely veera, or heroic man; the third group of humans are those who know and live in higher awareness. In tantra these are known as divya, or divine man. So the ancient system of gnosticism is fundamentally tantric in nature. There are many other systems in the world that are very similar. These will not be discussed here through lack of space.
Energy, including matter and consciousness are functioning together in the cosmos as well as in each and every human being. This combination gives rise to the world we see around us; it gives rise to time and place. Energy is controlled by consciousness, and consciousness cannot express itself except through energy. In a tantric book by Shankaracharya called Saundarya Lahari it says: “How can Shiva function without Shakti?” Therefore, tantra says that to merge with consciousness one must use Shakti as the means.
There is a supreme experience where Shiva and Shakti no longer exist as separate entities. Some call it Brahman, others call it ‘not this, not this’ to show that it is inexpressible. Others say that it is one without a second. It is the state of nirvana, samadhi, perfect oneness and so many other words. This is the stage when Shiva merges so closely with Shakti that they become one. They embrace each other so tightly they cease to be separate. This is the meaning of many of the sculptures of personified male and female Shiva and Shakti in India. It depicts the state of being, the enraptured embrace where self-identity and separateness disappears. This is the divine embrace.